Posted by: David Harley | June 30, 2019

true confessions

rough sketch with high-strung guitar instead of normal acoustic

and same for One Step Away

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Posted by: David Harley | June 27, 2019

Crossing The Bar [Very rough demo]

A work in progress. A well-known poem of 1889 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. A ‘moaning’ noise is characteristic of a harbour sandbar when the tide is  low and the water may too turbulent for a boat to put out to sea across it in safety. Kingsley’s ‘Three Fishers’ – set to music by John Hullah as recorded by Joan Baez and many others –  uses the image of the moaning of the harbour shoal to represent danger.  Tennyson’s poem uses it as the starting point for describing the final passing from life into death. It’s reported that before his death three years later he asked his son Hallam to have the poem placed at the end of all future editions of his verse.

Since then, the poem has been a popular choice for funerals, whether as a reading or in a musical setting such as the one by Sir Hubert Parry, the choral setting by Ian Assersohn, or the very popular folkier tune by Rani Arbo. In fact, I read it at my own mother’s funeral in 2018, but always felt that I wanted to set it to music myself for an ongoing project. This is the second draft, and it’s sounding nearer to what I wanted.

Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.
David Harley
Posted by: David Harley | June 7, 2019

Rain demo (June 7th 2019)

Sketch for an unaccompanied version:

And a sketch for an accompanied version:

Posted by: David Harley | May 3, 2019

This guitar just plays the blues [demo]

Posted by: David Harley | April 24, 2019

Aftermath/Postcards [demo]

There’s an earlier version here where the second guitar is electric rather than acoustic.

Years on from the explosion
Standing in the aftermath
She waits for the three minute warning
Hear’s nothing
Runs the bath
And pulls the chain on another miracle
Waits (though the post is always late)
For letters which never seem to arrive
And are never worth the wait

Still the sun shines on bravely
The wind blows kisses to the see
Gulls waltz to the rhythm of the waves
And she writes
‘I wish you could be here with me’
Skips through the morning like a postcard
Spends the afternoon alone
Carries out the day to order
One eye on her horoscope
And one ear to the phone

Sometimes she wakes in someone else’s bed
Before he rises, she’s gone
Leaving him to wonder why
She couldn’t let the evening die alone
Still he lights a cigarette
Soon remembers to forget
But he wonders where his whisky went
Wonders why his day is empty

She has dropped her life on postcards
Through a letterbox in distant parts
But the tale was shunted into disused sidings
And the unintended bombsites of his heart
And he writes “At last I’ve found a woman
Who’s noticed that I’m me,
And not just a dispenser
Of Scotch and sympathy
And maybe she’s The One
Or maybe I’m just marking time
But at least she holds her liquor
And she doesn’t whine…”

And he writes
“Go your way, taking with you
A year or two of my life
That’s all I have to offer
But don’t forget to write…

Posted by: David Harley | April 23, 2019

Born In The Country

Posted by: David Harley | April 23, 2019

James Alley Blues

 

Posted by: David Harley | April 12, 2019

Paper City 2019

I woke up with my mind’s eye facing your direction:
I looked hard and I saw you needed help.
You’re choking on paper and tape and legislation,
But you can’t produce one thing to help yourself.

Paper city at the heart of a paper empire:
You’ve got strings to pull, you’ve got wires all over the earth.
Sky-climbing parasite, concrete and paper jungle,
You’ve got money to burn, but I know you’d rather freeze to death.

You’ve got stacks of stocks and shares and bonds:
You’ve got telephone and telex,databank and dateline too.
But you can’t produce as much as one lead pencil,
Or a bar of soap, or a rubber band to pull you through.

The media twitch at the flash of a freemason’s handshake:
Speeches are made and the punters gather round;
Paper politicians and faceless company men,
Taking the pulse of an ailing paper pound.

I bet you know just what you’re worth on paper:
When the market crumbles, what will that do to you?
A lot of cold people don’t own the earth they lie in:
Will you be all right in your green-lined paper tomb?

Paper city at the heart of a bankrupt empire:
Your towers get higher as your assets hit new lows.
Nose-diving parasite, I wouldn’t mind you dying,
But you’ll take so many with you when you go.

Copyright David Harley 1982

Posted by: David Harley | April 12, 2019

A rainy day blues [demo]

Later version…

Some days are like a melody
But I can’t seem to hold the key
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

So I spend my day trying to keep  myself amused
Sitting here picking at a rainy day blues
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

It seems the road to fortune never ends
You play God all week and golf at weekends
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

And if we quit the rat-race we could have a ball
But you know those big wheels grind so small
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

You say you love me but it seems sometimes
You stuff my mouth with kisses and my ears with lies
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

Posted by: David Harley | April 12, 2019

One Step Away (From The Blues) 2019 [demo]

We recorded a version of this back in the ’80s for which I liked the arrangement, but was never quite happy with the vocals. Finally I have a version where the guitar part and vocal seem to work. Now I just have to think about the additional instruments (acoustic lead, 12-string, and electric slide on the original version). And maybe merging it with ‘Letting Go‘.

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