Index of recorded Harley songs

If you want to find out more about me and my music, such as it is, go here. And while I’m not always impressed with the accuracy and usefulness of Wikipedia, this was fairly accurate last time I looked: Wikipedia entry

All rights are reserved: I’m not expecting to make money off the content on this site (though I live in hope…), but I’d be very unhappy if someone else was profiting from it without my knowledge or agreement. 

Listed below are the songs of mine (mostly) on this site where either a studio recording or a demo recording is available. In general the only songs here that I didn’t write (or co-write or extensively adapt) are by Don MacLeod, with whom I worked and recorded in the 80s. (Though a few other things might sneak in from time to time.)

I’ll be making additions as I go along. I’m not working on studio quality recordings at the moment, only demo versions, mostly courtesy of Garage Band. These are generally rough (often one take) versions, but in some cases I’ve tried out a harmony or two or added other instruments for colour. These are sketches for a (possible) future album, rather than a finished article.

Of the studio recordings here, three were recorded at Hallmark, a very slick 16-track setup in the West End, for an album that was never released. (A pity: it would have been pretty good, in my unbiased opinion, as it showcased a number of very different musicians – Bob Theil, Bob Cairns, Don MacLeod, Pat Orchard, and some guy called Harley – writing very different songs.) The rest were mostly recorded at Centresound, a smaller 8-track studio in Camden. (Peter Buckley-Hill‘s Tubular Brains album, with which I also had some connection, was also recorded there.) My Centresound tracks subsequently appeared on a series of cassettes that are no longer available. And a good thing too, some would say.

  • 10% Blues (Harley) [1980s studio recording] David Harley: vocals, acoustic slide guitar. Blues, of a sort, as my songs often are. Plus a much more recent version in dropped D tuning, plus a video from around the same time.
  • 40-70 blues (Harley) [demo] David Harley: bass guitar, synthesizers. A somewhat different approach to blues. There may be more of this.
  • Aftermath/Postcards (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, with a link to a wholly acoustic version. In a more traditional singer-songwriter mould. Three dysfunctional people…
  • Age of the Hero (Harley) [demo] David Harley, vocals and guitar.
  • Angel (Harley): David Harley, vocal & guitar (c)1975
  • Another Bangor Day (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocal, guitar. Semi-autobiographical, I suppose. My relationship with my first serious girlfriend shattered during my first year at University. It happens…
  • Baby what a groove (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocal, guitar: a somewhat lighter and vaguely bluesier view of student life in the 60s.
  • Back in the day [demo]: words by Alison Pittaway, tune by David Harley. Vocal and Spanish guitars by DH.
  • Before I Fall (later demo) (Harley) or
  • The Best Days (Harley) or here.
  • Big Blues (Bootup Blues) (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocal, acoustic guitar. Blues for geeks.
  • Birdlime [demo] (Harley) David Harley: vocal and acoustic guitars. Rough, but I was playing with a completely different arrangement.
  • Bluebert [demo] (Harley): David Harley, acoustic guitar. A guitar piece I used to play a lot. Not the best version ever, but maybe I’ll find a better one. Or get around to recording it properly, but I actually find it quite hard work now.
  • Blues for Davy (Harley) [home recording] David Harley: acoustic guitar. Short, vaguely jazzy instrumental. I’d like to record it again properly, but I don’t think I can get my fingers around it these days. Now also includes a home-recorded electric demo from some time in the 80s. Neither is well-recorded, but they’re all I have.
  • Blues I blew (Harley) From 1975.
  • Breathe My Lute (Housman-Harley) [demo]: Another of my Housman settings, but this verse isn’t from A Shropshire Lad: it’s a fragment from an uncompleted play. I didn’t have a lute handy, so the accompaniment is a nylon-strung guitar.
  • Bumper to Bumper (Harley) [demo]. David Harley: vocal, guitars. Really cries out for a full rock band. We’ll see.
  • Can’t Sleep [demo]
  • Carpentry (Harley) [demo]: instrumental version of the tune I use for a setting of Housman’s lyric from ‘A Shropshire Lad’
  • Carpenter Street (Harley) [demo]: Faintly surrealist misery with multi-tracked vocals, but the title isn’t an ironic tip of the hats to the Carpenters. (Wish I’d thought of that before I wrote it, though.)
  • Castles and Kings (Harley) [demo]. Actually, it’s about trains, not monarchy. Two unaccompanied versions: one is the bare tune, the other is a sketch for a close(-ish) harmony version. Also added a version with some guitar and mandolin.
  • Chuck Berry-Beri (Harley): slightly less rough demo
  • Cinders, Home from the Ball (Harley)
  • Circle (Harley) [1980s studio recording] Long, morose anti-war song. Not one I’d be likely to sing now, but some of the lyrics still work.
  • The Clown’s Revenge [demo] (Harley). Instrumental I wrote in the 70s when I first started playing electric guitar.
  • Coasting  (Harley) [demo x 2: one is a 1980s studio recording] In which Mr Harley pretends to be some sort of jazzer. The ’80s version is just voice and guitar. The recent demo has some overdubbed guitar and keyboard. The 2019 demo just has overdubbed electric guitar.
  • Convoy II (parody of the C.W. McCall song): just when you thought it was safe to order another pint of gold top.
  • Cooling Out (Harley): not a blues, but maybe a sort of equivalent for 1980s West London.
  • Cornish Ghosts (Harley)
  • Crossing the Bar (Tennyson – Harley)
  • The Day I Saved the World (Harley) [demo]: a bossa-nova-ish thing with vaguely Hot Club pretensions. David Harley: vocal and Spanish guitars.
  • Dead Man’s Alley (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal and guitars. Reworking of the Cocaine Blues/Take a Whiff on me theme.
  • Death of a marriage (Harley) [1980s studio recording] Though actually the electric guitar wasn’t supposed to be there on the final master. David Harley: vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar. I’ll probably do this one again given the chance.
  • Diane/Going Out (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, guitar & vocal. I haven’t seen ‘Diane’ in decades, but I hope she’s still thriving.
  • Down to the River (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, guitar and vocal. Strangely anthemic.
  • Drunk Last Night (Harley) [demo]: rough-and-ready demo of something somewhere between blues and rock and roll.
  • Dying of Communication (Harley): demo of a slide-y blues-y song
  • Empty Sunday (Harley): acoustic blues thing recorded on domestic kit in the 1980s. Has a riff I’m rather fond of.
  • End Game [Demo] (Harley)
  • Epitaph for an Army of Mercenaries (Housman-Harley) [demo]. Another Housman setting, but this time not from A Shropshire Lad.
  • Everyone’s Song But Mine (Harley) [demo] I actually started to write this a couple of years ago after being heavily and publicly criticized for singing a song that wasn’t ‘cheerful’. While I have to wonder about people who can’t stand the thought of a sad song, this is more about the fact that songs have a tendency to write themselves. At least, mine do, which is why this one came out sounding uncharacteristically ‘country’. But not at the lugubrious end of C&W, I hasten to add.
  • Faintly Fahey [demo] (Harley) – slide instrumental nd a version not played slide.
  • For Phil Ochs [demo] (Harley) Very rough vocal, I’m afraid. I haven’t sung it in a long time, and it shows.
  • Flying Home demo (Harley) David Harley, vocal and guitars.
  • Freeze Frame [initial demo] (Harley).
  • Ghosts [demo] (Harley): one-take guitar and vocal. Making the tune up as I went along, so I need to get back to it.
  • Gooseberry Blues Demo (Harley)
  • Hack My Brain (Harley-traditional): just the lyric, but the tune is rather well known.
  • Hands of the Craftsman (Harley) [1980s studio recording] David Harley, vocals and acoustic guitars. Written for the revue Nice If You Can Get It.
  • Hannah [revised demo] – recent song, still working on a full arrangement.
  • Heatwave (Harley) [1980s studio recording] David Harley: vocal, guitars, banjo. James Bolam: piano. London in the 80s: tension everywhere…
  • Her Own Way Down (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocal, guitar, bouzouki, keyboards.
  • Highway Fever (Harley) / Sevastopol (unknown) [demo] The song is one I wrote in 1975, and I usually do it (or at any rate used to do it) in open D, so it seemed quite appropriate to go straight into Sevastopol, a blues-y train-y thing associated with Elizabeth Cotton, among others. The article now links to a couple of alternative versions.
  • Hobo Moon (Harley): lyric only, at present
  • How to say goodbye [demo] (Harley). One of my few recent songs…
  • Ice to the Flame [demo] (Harley) Written in 1977, but only just recorded a demo. Needs work…
  • Janey (Harley) [demo]. David Harley, vocal & guitar. A sad little song.
  • Lady Luck (Harley) cassette version recorded in the 1980s, lead break added 2015. Finally got round to it… Blues/Rock ‘n’ Roll pastiche.
  • Last Musketeer (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal, guitars. Written after a friend’s wedding.
  • Let me lie easy (Harley} [demo]: David Harley, vocals, guitar, synth. The tune almost sounds traditional, but the words decidedly aren’t.
  • Letting go (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocals and guitars. Another one that probably needs a band. Or at any rate copious overdubbing. Just added an earlier demo (from the 80s) which has better vocals.
  • Long Cigarettes, Cheap Red Wine (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal & guitar. Actually a resonator guitar in open G, but not slide or particularly bluesy.
  • Long Stand (Harley) [1980s studio recording]: another song written for the revue Nice If You Can Get It. David Harley, vocal and acoustic guitar. Curiously reminiscent in the first verse of Sting’s Skyhooks and Tartan Paint, considering that my song was written about 30 years earlier. 🙂 Intentionally very folky but with political overtones. (Actually, I’ve never understood why some folkies are so anxious to maintain ‘the tradition’ as a politics-free zone, as if no folk song was ever ‘political’. Like it or not, you can’t usually separate life and politics.)
  • Low in the Water (Harley) [demo]: absolutely not a politically correct song. In fact, I’ve never sung it in public for fear of people mistaking the protagonist for me. Which is actually a ridiculous reason for not singing a song, but there you go. Somewhere between blues and rock and roll.
  • Make it Pay (Harley). A ridiculously optimistic song, which is no doubt why I’ve never performed it in public.
  • Marianne (Harley): A song I wrote in the ’60s, and very much of its time.
  • Marking Time (Fiona Freeman and David Harley) [demo]: David Harley: vocal, guitar, mandolin. The tale of a doomed relationship.
  • Moonstruck (Harley): (c) 1987
  • Never Look Back [demo] (Harley): guitar, vocal, synth by DH
  • New Ends and Sad Beginnings (Harley) [demo] With a little overdubbed lead guitar. One of my oldest songs.
  • Nowhere to Nowhere [Demo] (Pittaway-Harley) Lyrics by Alison Pittaway. One-take guitar and vocal: I’ll come back to it.
  • Odd Job Man (Harley) Slide-y blues-y thing I put together in the 1980s. Taken off a cassette, but recording quality isn’t too bad.
  • Oh Death [demo] (Patton) Recorded by Charlie Patton and Bertha Lee in 1934.

  • Old White Lightning [demo] (Harley): mildly rock ‘n’ roll…
  • One Kind Favor (traditional)
  • One Step Away (From the Blues) (Harley) [1980s studio recording] David Harley: vocal, acoustic and slide guitar; Don MacLeod: acoustic guitar; Bob Theil: 12-string acoustic guitar. Not a blues, but blues-y, I like to think.
  • Over the Hill (Butterfly)  (Harley) [demo]  Another blues of sorts.
  • Paper City (Harley): 1980s studio version. David Harley: vocal, acoustic and acoustic slide guitars. Maybe more rock than blues.
  • Pick My Pocket (rough demo) From my bluesier days in the 70s. New arrangement of a song I haven’t sung in decades, so needs work.

  • The Pilgrim (Yeats-Harley) Setting of a poem by William Butler Yeats. 
  • Please [demo] (Harley) I usually keep my life and my songs reasonably separate, but this was from a particularly grim period, so don’t expect a grinfest.
  • Raggle Taggle Man (Alison Pittaway – David Harley) [demo] David Harley, vocal and guitar, plus the Pelican Court Light Orchestra. OK, me and a Yamaha keyboard…
  • Rain (Harley) [demo]: A very, very early song. 1970. And a very minimal sketch for a more ambitious version. Or this one. Or this: Electric Rain [demo]  Or this…
  • Rainy Day Blues (Harley) [demos].  Assorted versions here and here (backup).
  • Rainy Day Moments [demo] (Harley)
  • Reynardine [demo]: tryout for a version of the traditional song.
  • The Road to Frenchman’s Creek [demo] (Harley)
  • Sale or Return (Harley) [demo] Marks the point in the 1970s where I started thinking of myself as a writer rather than a performer, I guess.
  • The Salley Gardens (trad.-Yeats) [demo]: instrumental version
  • Same Old, Same Old [demo] (Harley) – Same old blues….
  • Scratch One Lover (Harley) [Demo x 3: (1) is an electric version, recorded on domestic equipment, but I like the vocal; (2) is an acoustic demo with overdubbed lead; (3) is a 1980s studio recording with Don MacLeod on 2nd guitar.] Very blues-y in structure.
  • Sea Fret [demo] (Harley)
  • Seventeen Year Itch (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocals, guitars
  • Seven Years in the Sand [demo]. Author unknown, but seems to have originated with the Air Force Regiment in the Middle East. David Harley, vocal and guitars.
  • Sheer Bravado (Harley – MacLeod) [1980s studio recording]. David Harley: vocal, guitar, slide guitar. Not actually a great recording. Voice ok, slide slightly out of tune.
  • She’s Gone (MacLeod – Harley) [1980s studio recording] Actually by Don MacLeod, but I think I tweaked the words a bit. Acoustic guitar by Don, electric guitar and vocals by me.
  • A Shropshire Lad XXI (A.E. Housman – David Harley) [demo]: demo of a setting of my own of ‘On Bredon Hill’
  • A Shropshire Lad XVIII and XIII (Housman – Harley) [demo]: The back-to-back version, with some help from the Pelican Court Light Orchestra. The two verses seem to fit together quite well, and the tune fits both. (Among other lyrics…)
  • A Shropshire Lad VIII (Farewell to Severn Shore) demo: another of my settings. Don’t worry, there aren’t too many more of these.
  • A Shropshire Lad XLVII (The Carpenter’s Son) – demo: and the last of my Housman settings from the 1970s, though Breathe My Lute is much more recent (Spring 2015). The recording I’ve put up there now is much nearer to what I have in mind for a proper recording, since I’m much more comfortable with the guitar arrangement now. Here’s an instrumental version of the Carpenter’s Son.
  • Silk and Steel (Harley)[1980s studio recording] David Harley, vocal and acoustic guitar. In extreme singer-songwriter mode. I just noticed that this was pointing to the wrong blog article, so I’ve corrected that (24th May 2015).
  • Singing in the Silence (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocal and guitar, resonator guitars – yep, two slide overdubs…
  • Slide impro – an improvised slide piece.

  • A Smuggler’s Song (Rudyard Kipling – David Harley) [demo]. David Harley, vocal. I need to get back to this one at some point.
  • Snowbird/Golden Needle (Harley) [demo]. David Harley: vocal, acoustic guitar. Another take on the cocaine blues theme.
  • Soldier of Fortune (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocals. I’d like to think that even the least enlightened deity or prophet might be appalled at some of  the actions their followers take in their name.
  • Soldier, you come, you go (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocals. This was once going to be a concept album but hardly any of it survives.
  • Soleares (Harley) [demo] David Harley, vocal and guitar. Actually quite a good version, but transferred from cassette so the sound quality is imperfect. If you listen to it expecting flamenco, you’ll be disappointed.
  • So much for romance (Don MacLeod) [1980s studio recording] Don on piano and acoustic guitar, me on lead guitars and other keyboards. Soft rock.
  • Song of Chivalry (Harley) – very rough demo
  • Song Without Warning (Harley) demo.
  • Southern Ragtime [Demo] (Harley): David Harley, vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Southside (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal, acoustic and resonator guitars. A bit Broonzy-ish.
  • Southwind (traditional-ish) [Demo]: David Harley, acoustic guitars. Sometimes attributed to Turlough O’Carolan, but probably by Domnhall Meirgeach Mac Con Mara (Freckled Donal Macnamara).
  • Speak My Heart (Don MacLeod): 1980s studio recording. Don on acoustic guitar, me on vocals and lead guitars. Soft rock, I guess.
  • Staffordshire Hornpipe [demo] (traditional): sketch of something I might use in a future recording project
  • Swifts (Harley) [demo]: instrumental
  • Stranger in Uniform (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal and guitar.
  • Talking True Blues (Harley): Just the words, as it’s a talking blues. Included for historical interest: it’s not one I’d perform now.
  • Thanks for nothing Ephraim Clutterbox [demo] (Harley)
  • This End of the 1960s [demo] (Harley)
  • This Guitar Just Plays the Blues (Harley) [demo] : David Harley, vocal & guitar. I’m sure I can hear a pedal steel on this one, but this version just overdubbed a bit of resonator. 😉 There’s a less country-ish version here, recorded more recently.
  • This Song’s Not Over (Harley) [demo]: one of my songs from 1974
  • Thomas Anderson (David Harley and Ron Nurse) [demo]. David Harley, vocals & guitar, bouzouki, mountain dulcimer, and keyboards. Another milestone. Not that I often tried to sound this folky. Based on an article written by Ron for the Shrewsbury Folk Club magazine in the 1960s, about the execution of Thomas Anderson in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rebellion.
  • Time On My Hands [demo] (Harley)
  • Tommy (Kipling-Harley) [demo]: rough version of my setting of a Kipling poem. Not related to Peter Bellamy’s setting.
  • True Confessions (Harley – MacLeod) [1980s studio recording] Don MacLeod: acoustic guitar, piano; David Harley: vocals, lead guitars; Anna (Lin) Thompson: additional vocals; Richard Davy: percussion. And more soft rock.
  • Two White Horses [demo] arr. Harley: slide instrumental
  • Two is a Silence (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal, guitar, bouzouki. And three always leaves one left over. Updated demo.
  • Updraught (Harley) [demo] David Harley: vocal, guitars, mandolin. Turned up out of the blue while I was sorting through my juvenilia.
  • View from the Top (Harley – MacLeod) [1980s studio recording] David Harley: vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards. Good heavens, it almost sounds happy. I like to think that the harpsichord is simple but smiley. Musicians may disagree.
  • Walls (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal and guitars. Yet another Bangor day. Or was it Chester?
  • The Water is Wide (traditional) [demo]: an instrumental version with multitracked acoustic guitars
  • Wearing out my shoes (Harley) [demo] David Harley, vocal and acoustic guitar. Blues pastiche, but the guitar isn’t bad. Transferred from cassette, so sound quality is a little off. (Now replaced with a slightly better version, though also from an 80s cassette.
  • Weeping Willow (Corrina) (Trad.) David Harley, vocal and slide guitar. Learned from Mike Cooney back in the 70s.
  • The Weekends (Harley-trad.) -> Dives and Lazarus (arr. Harley)/The Butterfly (arr. Wilkes/Harley) Song, air and slip jig. Not a very good recording, but not something I’m likely to re-record (at any rate not with the slip jig, unless I find a cooperative fiddler!). Fiddle: Pete Wilkes; boddhran: Gail Williams; vocal and acoustic guitar: David Harley. People who don’t like sad songs tend to loathe this one.
  • What do I do (about you)? (Harley): David Harley, vocal and electric guitar. A curiously theatrical item from my back-catalogue.
  • Where you want me (Harley) [demo]: David Harley, vocal and guitars. Blues-y.
  • Whistle while you walk [demo] (Harley): David Harley, vocal & guitars
  • Who are we? (David Kenyon – David Harley] [demo]: David Harley, vocals and guitars. Not much more than a fragment, really, but I like it anyway.
  • The Wild Swans at Coole [demo] (Yeats-Harley)
  • Wrekin (the Marches Line) (Harley)
  • Young Hunting (arr. and adapted Harley) [demo] A heavily re-written version of the Child ballad (Child 68).

Some of the better-recorded tracks are also on Soundcloud.

Some stuff follows that may not be covered in the articles above but can also be found on this site:

Parody and Pastiche

Miscellaneous Articles

And my debut on YouTube: it’s a cover version of Mustang Sally at a jam session in Sydney with various ne’er-do-wells from the security industry, including Peter Kruse on vocal. I’m not sure if there’ll be more Harley presence on YouTube, but I’m thinking about it…

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

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