Category Archives: David Harley

Song Without Warning (demo)

This is my box of dreams, my nest of nightmares
Words and lines and verses in a cage
Fragments of conversation
Thoughts that barely made the page

Some days, I think someday I’ll write them
All the verses in vitro in this room
Someday these little birds will find the way to fly away
They won’t need me anymore and they’ll be gone

Sometimes I call myself a writer
Though I’m afraid I might have lost the paperwork
Till they tap me on the shoulder and remind me
My poetic licence hasn’t been revoked

When my last song has been written
When I’ve picked my last chord
My box of dreams will still be here
Overflowing still with orphaned words

For every song without warning
That somehow made it to be heard
There’ll still be all these scraps of recollection
Thoughts and dreams that never found their words

Sometimes I call myself a writer
Though I’m afraid I might have lost the paperwork
Till they tap me on the shoulder and remind me
My poetic licence hasn’t been revoked

(c) 2018 David Harley: all rights reserved


This song’s not over [demo]

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


Blues I Blew [demo]

Actually a very rough demo, but there you go. Now I’ve remembered it exists, I’ll do some work on it.

Backstory: drinking with a friend in Manchester in the early 70s while both our girlfriends were out of town, making some musical plans. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but shortly after he and his girlfriend got married and moved (to Wales, I think): I moved somewhere else and married someone else entirely.

Why that story got into a song when so little of my back-catalogue is strictly autobiographical, I can’t say. It seems long ago and far away. Oh. Actually, it was long ago and far away (from Cornwall, at any rate).

Blues I blew: Words and Music copyright 1975 David Harley

There we were, my buddy and me
Two grass widowers out on a spree
Between the bar and the BBC
And nowhere much to go

Plans to make a wave or two
Adding up to two plus two
No complaints of nothing to do
With another 12-bar to blow

Another place, another day
Nothing very much to say
Another song I threw away
Another blues I blew

Cooling Out

This is a sort of West London blues for the 1980s that probably demands an authentic glo’al stop here and there, but I don’t think I could carry that off, in spite of many years living surrounded by Londoners. There again, I don’t think Lily Allen carries it off either, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed her career.

You don’t hear much about inhalant and solvent abuse nowadays – certainly not here in Cornwall – perhaps because there are plenty of more glamorous highs around, but it certainly hasn’t gone away. This was one of a batch of songs I wrote for a review in the 1980s, but didn’t offer it for consideration because the show was going into quite different directions. I’ve never performed it in public that I remember. 

Words & Music by David Harley: Copyright 1981

I stay away from dear old dad
He’s out of a job and gets to feeling bad
And it don’t take much for him to lose his rag
He hits the beer from time to time
And mum takes it out on me and Brian
But when we’re not at home we don’t much mind
It’s their way of cooling out

Of course I haven’t worked since I left school
No jobs around, and I’m no fool
I can get more money on the street as a rule
It would really get right up my snout
Stacking crates and washing bottles out
Anyway I like to get out and about
Got me ways of cooling out

Dad thinks mum’s got the dropsy bad
There’s this smell of glue all round the flat
But I’m away down the road with me blowsing bag
If he asks I’ll say Bri’s into Airfix kits
And off I’ll go with me Evostik
Down the park with me packet of crisps
Got me ways of cooling out

Mum thinks I’m always down with a cold
She says I’m off me nut but then I’m never home
When I’m reeling round on a toluene high
But you’ve got to do something when it all goes grey
So I’m back down the road with Mick and Dave
The caretaker chases us off the estate
But we’re only cooling out

Dad’d go spare if he knew, I bet
But he’s too busy drinking himself to death
And mum only sees what she wants to see
That’s her way of cooling out…