Posted by: David Harley | September 21, 2020

Breathe, My Lute (Trad2Mad)

audio capture, lightly mastered:

Backup:

Version with lute – well, guitar – here

David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | September 19, 2020

When the next wave breaks

Words & Music (c) David Harley

Backup:

 

Pretty much made up as I went along, so I’ll probably be doing more work on it.

When the Next Wave Breaks 

I’m nothing but a ripple
A stone thrown in the sea
When the next wave breaks
You can’t tell where I’ve been

There’s a change in the weather
There’s a restless angry sea
There’s no changing you
But there’s surely been a change in me

I’ll take that lonesome highway
By the light of a lonesome moon
You know the sooner you start crying
The sooner I’ll be gone

When the sun is going down
And the moon begins to rise
I’ll be so far down the road
There’s no shadow left behind

There might be just one woman
Could make me want to stay
If you were her, my bag
Would not be packed today

 

 

Posted by: David Harley | September 18, 2020

There will come soft rains [very rough demo]

Backup:

Sara Teasdale‘s poem ‘There will come soft rains’ has haunted me since I came across it as a boy, quoted in the Ray Bradbury story of the same name. This was sung straight into the mic, no edits, and I’ll need time to learn it and live with it before it’s fit to sing in public, and it may change quite a lot. But it looks as if I’ll have lots of time – Thanatos and Covid-19 permitting – to do that… Here’s the poem.

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows calling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

 

Posted by: David Harley | September 18, 2020

Tommy [demo]

Remastered:

Backup:

Actually a very rough demo, as I was in ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’ mode. (The tune! The words are by Kipling, of course.) I rather like it, though, so I intend to get back to it when I’m better acquainted with it: it’ll suit a recording project I’m working on very well. According to Wikipedia, it’s a poem of 1890, but it was reprinted in Barrack-Room Ballads (1892). Also according to Wikipedia, the still-current term ‘Tommy’ or ‘Tommy Atkins’ derives from the use of the name Thomas Atkins in 19th century War Office manuals as a placeholder when describing how forms should be filled out.

I WENT into a public ‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ” We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, go away ” ;
But it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, wait outside “;
But it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap.
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? ”
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be’ind,”
But it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! ”
But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

Posted by: David Harley | September 17, 2020

South Wind [demo]

Also known as Southwind, The Southern Breeze, An Ghaoth Andheas, and so on. Has also attracted quite a few sets of words. Recently crossed my radar when working up some material with a ceilidh band, and I couldn’t resist trying it out. I may well vary the instrumentation for the ‘real’ version, but I quite like it with just guitar (though I’ve overdubbed here).

Sometimes attributed to O’Carolan, but I don’t believe there’s any proof of that, though Greg Clare tells me that it’s often performed along with Planxty Fanny Power (which I believe is O’Carolan) or Planxty Irwin (which is on my to-do list). The Fiddler’s Companion attributes it to Domnhall Meirgeach Mac Con Mara (Freckled Donal Macnamara) and includes Gaelic words and translation as well as much more information.

Backup:

David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | September 17, 2020

Talking True Blues

Words copyright David Harley 1981 (I think). As it’s a Talking Blues, there ain’t no tune. Duh. Published in the early 1980s in Folk London, and included a hat tip to Steve Bell’s cartoon series Maggie’s Farm. Included here for historical interest: I’m not likely to perform it again in this form.

If you’ve got those Monday morning blues
Lend me an ear and you can’t lose
Don’t run the rat-race till you drop down dead
Take a working vacation in the country instead
Down on Maggie’s Farm
Cleaning out the cowsheds
Up to your neck in BS

Lads if you’ve the urge to roam
Why stay on the dole at home?
Prove your manhood, score with girls
Join the army and see the world
Like Caterham, Aldershot
Downtown Belfast, Greenham Common

If you’re sixteen with nothing to do
We’ve got Youth Training Schemes for you
(not to be confused with Opportunities)
Starting out on a great career
Sticking labels on bottles of beer
And when your six months are up
You can tell ’em all about it
Down at the labour…

But if you’re getting past your prime
You’ve earned yourself some undertime
Step aside for a younger man
Enjoy retirement while you can
After all, life begins at … 35
And remember
3 1/2 million (it says here)
Can’t be wrong

Posted by: David Harley | September 17, 2020

Loot suite (rough demo)

An improvised and possibly improvident guitar piece.

Backup:

Mainly here to remind me to get back to it at some point.

David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | September 17, 2020

Spanish impro

Backup:

All rights reserved.

It’s several years since I picked up my classic, but this weekend I finally got around to restringing it. When the strings had settled, I did some noodling that evolved into a pseudo-classical thing that I finally put down as an MP3. It has one or two rough spots, but I think I might edit it a little and use it as soundtrack for a video at some point.

David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | September 17, 2020

This song’s not over [demo]

Backup:

A very rough demo: it’s hard work revisiting even simple songs you haven’t sung for decades.

This Song’s Not Over (Words and Music by David Harley, copyright 1974)

This song’s not over
We’d best take what we’re owed
So pack your bags
And let’s get on the road

We’ve had our share of bruising
We drank some bitter wine
But I’m sick and tired of losing
So let’s try one more time

I guess we broke too easy
I know I dragged my feet
But hold on, and we’ll make it
Right back to Easy Street

We were building up too much
To let the pieces drop
If we both try some humble pie
We can take it from the top

Posted by: David Harley | September 16, 2020

Box of Blue (Instrumental)

A piece I was playing about with a few months ago on resonator guitar. This is actually played on the same guitar, but messing about with it to get a more 1950s steel guitar sound. Still needs work on the production, but I like the overall feel of this version.

Backup

David Harley

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