Category Archives: Faux Folk

Rain (another view) [demo]

Words and music by David Harley. Copyright 1970; all rights reserved

Almost certainly the first song I wrote and actually kept. This is a sketch for the first part of what will probably be a much more ambitious arrangement, and will use a longer set of words.

David Harley


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

Staffordshire Hornpipe [demo]

I find myself in an unusual position. (Steady! Not that sort of position.) I’ve played guitar and/or bass with ceilidh bands from time to time since the 1970s, but have never rehearsed with one until recently.

Which got me thinking that one or two tunes might fit quite nicely into a recording project I’m hatching. This is a sketch only for one possibility. It includes far too many guitars (probably one part would be a bass with just one second guitar to put in some sparse countermelodies) and the actual tune gets buried at some points: it’s just that this has some bits I wanted to keep for reference. I believe the tune was originally recorded in 1909 by Cecil Sharp from John Locke in Leominster. This interpretation is based on a vaguely-remembered recording from the 60s by Jon and Mike Raven. I think this was the record (with Jean Ward): SONGS OF THE BLACK COUNTRY AND THE WEST MIDLANDS.

I’m tempted to buy it, but then I’d have to learn the tune properly. 😉

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World


She Moved Through the Souk

This instrumental gets its name because it kind of evolved from Davy Graham’s jazz-raga arrangement of ‘She Moved Through the Fair’ (memorably described by Martin Carthy as ‘a mess’). I’ve used the same arrangement (without the jazziness) as a starting point for accompanying singers since the end of the 1960s, when I used to do ‘She moved through the fair’ with my friend Sally Goddard, who now lives in Newfoundland and sings with the band Atlantic Union. London friends may remember the electric version I used to do with Kathy Bowen Jones.

However, this is a highly personalized, extemporized instrumental version that always seems to come out more North African than Indian.  Anyway, I don’t think we’re in Ireland any more with this version, Toto.

I don’t suppose Martin would like this version much, either. Nevertheless, I’ll probably come back to record a more polished version in due course. Perhaps with a sitar overdub. 🙂

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

A Smuggler’s Song

A setting of the poem by Rudyard Kipling. I have in mind a guitar accompaniment I’m not quite comfortable with yet, so this MP3 is strictly an unaccompanied demo version. The words and a few notes are available from this page. I believe Peter Bellamy used to sing a version set to ‘The White Cockade’ or a variant thereof, which I guess would readily lend itself to a more chorus-y version, but I don’t remember ever hearing it.

In the 70s, I remember hearing a version to a different tune sung in Berkshire that used the second verse as a chorus. I forget who sang it and don’t know anything about its provenance.

There’s more information about Peter Bellamy’s version (also including the words) on a ‘Mainly Norfolk’  page here: Smuggler’s Song, A

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World