You might call this my Greatest Hits album, if I’d ever had any hits. It does include the four tracks released so far as singles, though, and most of the tracks are remixed and/or remastered. In fact, these are all songs that have attracted airplay in the UK and/or US, been requested at live events, or had significant numbers of plays where streamed or available in various video and audio formats. And anyway, I like ’em! Available from Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes etc.
All lyrics by David A. Harley; all music also by me except for ‘Here Tomorrow’, for which the music was written by Don MacLeod. All tracks recorded at Wheal Alice Music except where otherwise noted. All vocals and instruments (guitars, keyboards, bouzouki, banjo, mountain dulcimer) by David A. Harley unless otherwise noted below.
‘Carpentry’ is essentially the tune I wrote for my setting of ‘The Carpenter’s Son’ by A.E. Housman. The lyric to ‘Thomas Anderson’ was based on a 1970s article by the late Ron Nurse for Shrewsbury Folk Club magazine. ‘Long Stand’ and ‘Hands of the Craftsman’ were written for the 1981 revue ‘Nice…if you can get it’. Tracks 1, 2 and 20 were recorded at Hallmark, W1, 5, 10 and 18 at Centre Sound in Camden Town, all in the early 80s.
Heatwave in the City (London 1983) – Piano by James Bolam. No, not that James Bolam.
One Step Away (From the Blues). 2nd acoustic guitar by Don MacLeod, and acoustic 12-string guitar by Bob Theil.
Let Me Lie Easy
Ten Percent Blues
How to say Goodbye
Same Old Same Old
Diane (Going Out)
Wrekin (The Marches Line)
Song of Chivalry
Two is a Silence
Hands of the Craftsman
Her Own Way Down
Here Tomorrow – Acoustic guitar and piano by Don MacLeod. Percussion by Richard Davy. Additional vocals by Lyn (Anna) Thompson.
The album ‘Upcountry‘ combines songs that lean towards Americana, blues and even country with more ‘traditional’ material including settings of verse by Housman, Kipling and Yeats, plus a couple of songs about Cornwall, where I now live. All songs by me except where noted.
1. A Smuggler’s Song (Kipling-Harley) 03:14
2. Wearing Out My Shoes 02:26
3. This Guitar (Just Plays The Blues) 02:17
4. Cornish Ghosts 03:39
5. Hannah’s Gone Upcountry 03:44
6. The Road To Frenchman’s Creek 03:27
7. Whistle While You Walk 03:53
8. Janey 03:22
9. Gooseberry Blues 01:48
10. Aftermath/Postcards 05:29
11. Anywhere 03:12
12. A Rainy Day Blues 02:24
13. Tears of Morning (Housman-Harley) 02:46
14. The Wild Swans at Coole (Yeats-Harley) 06:33
15. The Pilgrim (Yeats-Harley) 02:24
16. Woods In Moonlight 05:22
I wasn’t particularly planning to do any more Housman settings, but this one suddenly demanded my attention. It does require more work – some guitar, at least – but I think the melody is mostly there. And if you’re going to set Housman, I suppose you have to consider the ‘Land of lost content’. And having (half) done this one, there are two or three more I think I’d still like to put music to. We’ll see.
‘A Shropshire Lad’ XL
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
You might call this a sketch for the end of summer… Definitely not intended as the final version. By way of an experiment, the guitar here is tuned to ‘B Standard’, like a baritone guitar.
Sometimes your words at midnight stream through my memory
But your face is growing dimmer: I don’t know how it can be
That you’re gone from my life, yet you still haunt my dreams
And daybreak finds me wondering just what it all could mean
Walking through the woods in moonlight, there are no words left to say I stumble blindly through the shadow as the long years slip away And only now I realize that it’s too late to count the cost And I can only write those words to make my peace with those I’ve lost
So many nights lost, lamenting all the days
Opportunity knocked, but that same night it ran away
Your voice in my ear, your breath upon my skin
Closer than sweat, warmer than sin
Another morning broken, and reconstruction fails
Once more my train of thought has gone completely off the rails
But soon the world will turn without us, and new days won’t be broken
By the words we should have said or the ones best left unspoken