Category Archives: Barely Blues

Hack my Brain

New words by David Harley to ‘Cocaine Blues’.

An earlier version of this one insisted on being included in a security blog: IoT Hacking: Surviving an Online World. [Also referenced in this article: Music, Security, and a Nice Cup of Tea.] However, the whole ‘why-do-I-put-up-with-this-alarmist-BS-anyway-when-I-could-retire-to-a desert-island-with-no-internet?’ thing keeps nagging at me. (The answer is because I’d rather live somewhere with reasonable access to a wine merchant.) There’s probably enough mileage in this for a whole (rather sour) opera, but life’s too short for that. I suspect I’ll probably record this version sooner rather than later, however.

I suspect that this rant may offend some prophets of doom, security marketroids, politically active acquaintances, other acquaintances about whom I May Not Speak, The Register, Mark Zuckerberg, and my pro-meme and pro-gun friends on Facebook. If so, I’ll try to live with it.

I won’t go to Heathrow, I ain’t insane
Blackhat hackers might hack my plane
Whoa-oa, Stuxnet all over again

I won’t fly or go by sea
Seaport hackers aiming gas at me
Whoa-oa, Sarin all over the world

Hey doc won’t you please come quick
Hacker in my pacemaker making me sick
Trojans all round my brain

Looked in my mailbox, it’s all the same
Politician wants to hack my brain
Whoa-oa, moneygrubbers in my brain

Went down to Washington and what do I see
CIA has tabs on me
GCHQ all round my brain

Headed for my keyboard on the lope
The man from the Register said ‘no more hope’
Whoa-oa, hackers all round my brain

Hey nurse won’t you please come quick
EEG says I’m really sick
Paranoia all round my brain

Some say the Facebook habit ain’t bad
It’s the leakiest backdoor I’ve ever had
Whoa-oa, Zuckerberg’s in my brain

Hey baby won’t you bring some beer
2nd amendment up to my ears
Cat memes overloading my brain

Ain’t going shopping, that ain’t my speed
Amazon will tell me just what I need
Whoa-oa, ads all around my brain

David Harley

Moonstruck

Moonstruck
David Harley, copyright 1987

No MP3 yet

Mirror-eyed and misty
and veering into black
Tiptoe across the flagstones
falling through the cracks
I’ve lain too long in midnight
and I can’t find my way back

I was leaving close on midnight
but I couldn’t find the door
Creeping round the moonlight
littered on your bedroom floor
I’ve lain too long in moonlight
and I can’t find my way home

I’m frozen to your mattress
and my mind is playing dead
I can’t reach across the moonbeams
to the wordgames in your head
I’ve lain too long in midnight
and I can’t recall a thing I said

Same Old Same Old

Copyright David Harley, 1987

The burglar bells chimed midnight
The sky was pouring down
My feet froze to the catwalk
But my head was homeward-bound

Same old blues
Same old back-street blues

My head is stuffed with nicotine
My throat is full of sand
My bloodstream is pure gin
I can’t remember how to stand

Same old blues
Same old inner-city blues

The all-night bus is AWOL
I can’t get to my bed
There’s a tangle in my fingers
And a jangle in my head

Same old blues
Same old long-gone midnight blues

Old White Lightning [demo]

Words and music by David Harley

This was a little odd. I haven’t thought of this song for decades, and it suddenly popped back into my head today. But I can’t remember the third verse at all, though I’m pretty sure there was one. Maybe it doesn’t need one. Or it’ll suddenly come back to me. Or I’ll get around to writing another.

Basic arrangement: just an acoustic with overdubbed electric for the lead break.

I went down to see my lady
But someone spread the news all over town
I said “I don’t mind what you call me
But won’t you keep your sweet voice down?”
Might have been old white lightning
Might have been old sloe gin
Might have been brandy and it might have been Scotch
But it’s really done me in

[break]

If I go back to see my lady
I hope she won’t have all my cases packed
I need an ice pack for my aching head
Not an ice pick for my back
Might have been old Sal Stacey
Might have been Lucy-Lynne
It might have been Lisa or it might have been Liz
But she really did me in

Alternative version found on an old work tape, including the elusive third verse but no lead break has been added yet:

I went down to see my lady
But someone spread the news all over town
I said ‘I don’t mind what you call me,
But won’t you keep your sweet voice down?’
Might have been old white lightning
Might have been old sloe gin
Might have been barley, or it might have been malt
But it’s really done me in

If I go back to see my lady
I know just where she’s at
She’s got an ice-pack for my aching head
And an ice-pick for my back
Might have been old Sal Stacey
Might have been Lucy-Lynne
Might have been Lisa, might have been Liz
But she really did me in

I think I’ll steer my feet to the river
Marking time to the thump in my head
I think I might just die of too much wine
And it’ll save you changing the bed
Might have been smack or cocaine
Petrol or paraffin
Might have been Bostik or North Sea gas
But I swear it’s done me in

Sevastopol/Poor Boy demo

Vestapol started life as ‘The Siege of Sevastopol‘, a parlour piece by Henry Worrall that was written using an open D tuning. Both the tune and the tuning (often referred to now as ‘Vestapol tuning’) caught the imagination of blues players and evolved into a simpler piece played by all sorts of people, notably Elizabeth Cotton, but also sprouted words (Poor Boy Blues, Poor Boy a Long Ways From Home) recorded by Mississippi John Hurt, Barbecue Bob, and Bukka White, and also John Fahey. This version is put together from a dim and distant memory of hearing Stefan Grossman play/sing a hybrid version in the 1970s. I don’t know if he ever recorded it.

I rarely play it as a slide piece or song, but sometimes put in a slide break. However, the action on the Taylor I used for this recording is really too low for slide, so I overdubbed some slide on the break in the middle using a Bobcat resonator guitar.

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World