Category Archives: Songs without Music


David Harley, copyright 1987

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 midnight
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

The Road to Frenchman’s Creek [demo]

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

Barebones demo:

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

How can I keep from singing?

[Listening to this after about a year, I think I feel the need to record it again properly. The tone is quite nice, but some of the ornamentation is awkward. Watch this space. DH, December 2014.)

Ironically enough, given its title, an instrumental version of a 19th century hymn. I’ve been playing it a lot since I started playing serious slide guitar again.

The hymn has its own Wikipedia page, including the first published lyrics and the verse added by Doris Plenn and sung by Pete Seeger. In fact, I first heard it on Seeger’s I Can See a New Day album, a compilation of live recordings released in 1964. The music is credited to Robert Lowrey, as published in his ‘Bright Jewels for the Sunday School’, published in 1869, but the source of the original lyrics is uncertain. The lyrics (apart from Plenn’s) included in the Wikipedia page are apparently as published in the New York Observer in 1868 under the title Always Rejoicing and attributed to ‘Pauline T.’

When I do it live, I sometimes go straight into Twelve Gates to the City, which I first learned from the same source. However, I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone else do either song as a slide guitar piece.

The guitar I used was a Gretsch Bobtail roundneck resonator guitar using an open E tuning.

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow


Changes: Words and Music by David Harley, copyright 1974
No MP3

Something’s changed
Could be me, could be you
You used to say you loved me
Now I wonder was that true?
That moving out and moving on look
Hangs heavy in your eyes…

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
Just what became of me and you
Changes in the wind

There was a time
When nothing kept us apart
But something’s going down
In both our hearts
I lie awake half the night when you’re not there
Wondering who you’re with and where

One more Scotch
One more cigarette
Drinking alone
Remembering too much to forget
Missing you even when you’re in the room
Knowing you won’t be, soon