Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Road to Frenchman’s Creek [demo]

The Road to Frenchman’s Creek
Words and music (eventually) by David Harley
Copyright 2016


I actually found myself playing with this idea while walking with my wife on that path from Helford. It isn’t really about me, or even Du Maurier and Cornwall, of course. In fact, the glancing reference to C.P. Cavafy’s poem Ithaka is probably the real pivot of the lyric.

In spring a young man’s fancy is supposed to turn to love
An older man takes time to reminisce
He takes the path from Helford on a sunny afternoon
Searching once again for Frenchman’s Creek

Too soon for love-lies-bleeding, too late for love’s young dream
The sun plays peek-a-boo among the trees
By the gate at Kestle Barton, he stops to rest a while
Before following the signs to Frenchman’s Creek

Sometimes we lose our bearings, our love lost in a mist
We glimpse our Ithaka but doubt laps at our feet
Sweet 16 to 70, too many times been kissed
Was that the road to Manderley or Frenchman’s Creek?

Left high and dry so often by the tides of desire
Yet in autumn days a heart may rise from sleep
And still recall with thanks the times love wasn’t such a liar
And the tide may turn again in Frenchman’s Creek

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.


David Harley