Category Archives: People I’ve worked with

The magic fingers of David Harley

I have a history of being almost there in the music and recording world. Back in the 60s, the organizer of something I played at in Bayston HIll or thereabouts was photographed for a local paper playing (or pretending to play) my guitar (I guess that would have been the Hofner). In the ’70s, Wayland Smithy recorded something or other using my Gretsch Anniversary. (I should never have parted with that guitar…) In the 80s I had several songs on an album that was never released because of a contract issue with one of the other guys. My three tracks are here, though.

And I was involved with some other recording projects that were a little more successful (including some of the recordings on this site, hopefully), though I’m not sure whether I should include Peter Buckley Hill’s Tubular Brains in that category in view of Peter’s high opinion of it. 😉 OTOH there are some bits of Harley guitar in there I still quite like, having heard those tracks again for the first time in at least 20 years.

tubular

Anyway, in the next two decades I had other things on my mind, like parenting and IT security (not to mention job security).

However, a month or two ago, I was promoted to body part double for a video by the pseudonymous Virge Clenthills, a well-known C&W name in Ludlow and environs. Not only does it show one of my guitars, but my actual fingers, complete with Virge’s enormous rings. Which would have been a little awkward if I hadn’t been miming.virge video

Not quite overnight success. And I guess if I’m going to get any more music of my own Out There, I’ll have to take Peter Gabriel’s advice and carry on D-I-Y-ing.

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

Available on SoundCloud

[Updated 11th March 2014 after I came across Peter Buckley Hill’s tracks from Tubular Brains, an LP for which I share a little of the guilt, on Soundcloud.]

Just in case you prefer the interface. Or as a backup to the stuff here. Anyway, I’ve uploaded some recordings to SoundCloud.

True Confessions, Heatwave, and One Step Away from an unreleased album with Don MacLeod, Bob Thiel, Bob Cairns and Pat Orchard.

More tracks from Sheer Bravado and Scriptwrecked (and maybe some more recent stuff) in due course.

On a slightly lighter note, I recently became aware (as per the post The magic fingers of David Harley* – that title is meant to be ironic by the way!) that Peter Buckley Hill has put all the tracks from his first album Tubular Brains onto Soundcloud. In fact, I think all his albums are on there, but I didn’t have anything to do with the others. As you might have guessed from the title, the album is in much more of a comic vein (insert your own jokes about exsanguination here) than my own output.

On the original sleeve I think I’m credited as producer (my vinyl is all in a couple of boxes somewhere round here), though to be honest I think those sessions were more about cheerful anarchy than production values. I did play a lot of guitar on it, though, and hearing the tracks again – taken from the vinyl rather than the mastertapes, judging from the ambient noise – there’s some stuff there I really like. Including Peter’s idiosyncratic material and vocals, of course. 🙂 I particularly like the extended fadeout with acoustic lead on Love at first Sight, and while it’s probably not a song I could sing convincingly myself, I’ve thought from time to time that I’d quite like to record a completely instrumental version. That’s on the to-do list.

No doubt further skeletons will emerge from the closet in due course.

*Suddenly I’m reminded of a witticism of Martin Simpson’s about Manitas de Pescado (Little Fish Fingers): apologies to fans of Manitas de Plata but it still makes me chuckle, though it’s probably politically incorrect.

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

Who Are We? [Demo]

Words and Music by David Kenyon and David Harley, copyright 1973

Sad victim of the overground
Talisman I wear against my heart
She knows she’s not the first to shed some light on me
She knows she may well be the last

I’ve heard some rumours of a world outside
Beyond the circle of her arms
Strange legend of a race for time
Make-believe world of false alarms

Who are we?
Who are you to tell us?
Who are we?
Who are you to tell us
Take a look at yourselves

I met Dave Kenyon at South Hill Park, Bracknell in the early 70s. We kicked some stuff around in the studio there – I don’t have any tapes at this point – and he had a fragment of a song (basically the last part of this lyric and a tune IIRC). I worked on it later in the form that eventually got recorded here, roughly, but I lost touch with him before that. If you’re out there, Dave, get in touch!

David Harley

People I’ve worked with

Musically, that is. Well, that’s a long list. A few are on recordings here:

Many others have been just as important in my musical life (and often equally important as friends). Sadly, I’ve never recorded with them (or at any rate, nothing I can post here), and probably never will, now. (And some I’ve lost touch with altogether, of course.) Notably:

  • Ann Merrill Gray – lovely voice: we don’t really gig, but you can often catch us at the Unicorn in Ludlow
  • Marcia, Ami et al, in a dance-oriented band for which Greg Clare is the caller.
  • Kathy Bowen Jones (we’re still in touch, but she’s been based in Switzerland for many years, so it’s a long time since we gigged).
  • Rick Brandon (still around and playing with The Dicemen)
  • Taff Brissenden (still to be heard singing and playing accordion in Shrewsbury): we played together for a while in the Castle B band and at least once in Salop Gallop.
  • Peter Buckley Hill (also still around and with lots of his idiosyncratic material on Soundcloud: here’s a link to some tracks I played on back in the Dark Ages).
  • John Crosswaite (in the 70s at the University of Bangor, I was known – for obscure reasons – to many people as Bert, so we used to be introduced as Bert and John. Quite rightly, as we actually did some stuff associated with Messrs. Jansch and Renbourn. Lost touch decades ago.)
  • Paul Dunderdale (last heard of on the Isle of Man): an actual trained musician but with a soft spot for folk stuff. I think we may have contaminated each other with our respective tastes in music.
  • Fiona Freeman (last heard of in Reading. We wrote at least one song together, but lost touch decades ago.)
  • Sally Goddard (still singing with the Canadian band Atlantic Union): we sang together as Hay Fever and as part of the Deiniolen Prize Silver Jug Band (which was neither a silver band nor a jug band.).
  • David ‘Mex’ Higgen (last heard of London, working as a recording engineer, but I never ran into him even though I lived there for 25 years…)
  • Bob and Mary Hands (both alive and well and living near Shrewsbury)
  • Bernard Puckett (still performing, and much involved with the Islington Folk Club)
  • Nick Warman: he, Kathy and I (and Rick, on at least one occasion) used to play as The Flying Piglets. Well, it was funny at the time.
  • Meirion Wood (ace banjo player and fiddler), still playing with Bob Hands and Graham Higson as Almost Bluegrass, I believe.

And, of course, people with whom I’ve spent many an enjoyable jam, but never done any formal rehearsing.

  • Katy Andrews (who died very recently, sad to say)
  • Mark Buck (excellent guitarist and harp player)
  • Vic Cracknell (runs some excellent open mic events in the south of England)
  • Jo Dunn (though we must have kicked some things around when we shared a flat)
  • Sean Healey (Manchester fiddler, now deceased, sadly)
  • Claire Phoenix (great jazz singer)
  • Numerous people from the security industry with whom I’ve enjoyed some serious sessions recently in Bratislava and Sydney, including Andi Lee, Righard Zwienenberg, Juraj Malcho, Richard Marko, and Peter Kruse.

brat3

And too many others to mention, or even remember after all these years. More pictures here.