Category Archives: YouTube

Can’t Sleep

A song obsessed with obsession.

[Version recorded for Ian Semple’s radio show on CoastFM, but in the end we didn’t use it.]


First attempt at a (very basic) Youtube video: this time using a high-strung guitar.

Captured to audio and remastered:



Original version. Another make-it-up-as-you-go-along jobbie. The words had actually been following me around for a few months, but it wasn’t till I started playing about with a Csus2 tuning (CGCGCD) that it clicked. Retained for purely historical reasons, since I’m now likelier to play it in DADGAD.



Words and music copyright David Harley, 2017.

I don’t need this jangle
In my nerves
And in my head
I don’t need
These lonely hours
Here in my weary bed
But I can’t sleep
I can’t turn her off
I can’t get her out of my head

The night hours
Are bleeding away
Till the light runs away with my time
The shadow fades
And I’m so afraid
My words are refusing to rhyme
But I can’t shut her up
I can’t shut her off
I can’t get her out of my mind

I can’t shut her up
I can’t shut her down
I can’t get her out of my head

I can’t pick her up
I can’t put her down
I can’t get her into my bed

I can’t find the path
I can’t do the math
I can’t get it into my head

And I can’t break it down
I can’t break it up
I can’t get you out of my head

Copyright David Harley, 2017


Adventures in Video – Painting the Desert

I don’t have technical skills to generate sophisticated animations and such, and I’d rather not flood the world with too many live videos of variable quality. But some recordings seem to fit OK with a series of photographs. Well, to my ear and eye, anyway. ‘Painting the Desert’ is actually an improvised slide guitar piece accompanied by photographs from a drive through the Painted Desert in Arizona, from when we followed up a work trip to the Bay Area and San Diego with a version of the Grand Circle Road Trip including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, as well as Sedona, Oak Canyon and so on. I have a feeling that I’ll eventually find a use for some of the photos from those attractions, too. In the meantime…

Something a little different…

…and you probably know the song much better than any of mine. Still, my YouTube debut, playing guitar on Mustang Sally at a post-conference jam session in Sydney, along with ESET’s Andi Lee (on bass), Righard Zwienenberg (drums), and Richard Marko (keyboards), and the amazing Peter Kruse (of CSIS) on harp and vocal. Not my best guitar-playing ever, but I guess we were having fun.

It always astonishes me how many people in the security industry are also either musicians or magicians (and in some cases both, but not me!): I guess we’ll have something to fall back when the latest panacea du jour makes the rest of the security industry redundant.

YouTube, hmmm: I’ll have to think about this…

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

Butterfly/Over the Hill [demo]

My good friend Vic Cracknell, who among other musical activities runs open mike nights around Surrey, where I lived for several years, often used to introduce me as someone who plays authentic blues. As a result of which, I got used to introducing this along the lines of: “This is a traditional blues. However, it differs from most traditional blues in that it was written on the platform at Chalk Farm Tube station after an evening at the Enterprise folk club in 1983.” Essentially a 12- bar but with more minor chording than you might expect.

I rarely get the opportunity to play this with a band, so this is how I generally do it, with just my trusty Les Paul for support.

Backup version:

And a slide version. Too slow for my taste now, but some nice slide-y moments.

Backup version:


And this is an acoustic version. Better vocal, but a lot of ambient noise. Never mind, I’ll get back to it at some point. Plugged or unplugged? Not sure yet. 

Here’s a much older, slower acoustic version. I’m thinking I might revert to this arrangement, or something close to it, as per the video linked below.

Recorded as a live video some time ago:

Here’s an audio version captured from the video and mastered to raise the levels slightly:

Backup copy:

You can’t cage a butterfly, not unless you break its wings (x2)
You can cage a songbird, but you can’t make him sing

I went over the hill and I heard some flyer blow (x2)
I’ve been too long in the city: time to pack my grip and go

You think I’m fooling, but honey, it’s a fact
You had a good old mule, but you just broke his back

Words and Music by David Harley (all rights reserved) Not to be confused with The Butterfly, a slip jig of which there’s also a recording sitting on this site somewhere.

10% Blues

Words & music by David Harley: all rights reserved

Recorded in the 80s using slide guitar: this version, though, has no slide. Dropped D tuning.

Backup copy


This is the studio-recorded slide version:




YouTube video version played in dropped D, no slide. From 2020.

Audio capture:


Got a seat facing the engine
So I don’t have to face where I’ve been
Luggage on the rack, no reason to look back
At all my wrecked and reckless gypsy dreams
No more bright lights, no more white lines
Or crashing in the back of the van
No more hustling small-time gigs
I guess time has beaten the band

No more deadlines, no more breadlines
Mr 10%, you’re on your own
No more fine print, no more backstage  blues
This rolling stone is rolling home

Got a ticket to take me to tomorrow
It can’t be worse than today
So driver, take me home and don’t spare the horsepower
I’m on a ten year holiday
No more missed chances and chickens*t advances
Cold chips in the back of the van
No more blown tires and fuses, no more broken promises
Time has beaten the band

No more deadlines, no more breadlines
Mr 10%, you’re on your own
No more fine print, no more backstage  blues
This rolling stone is rolling home

No more spotlights, no more ups and downers
Absolutely no stage fright
No more superstar fantasies
From today I’m strictly 9-5
No more infighting, no more moonlighting
No more one-night stands
All along while the band was beating time
I guess time was beating the band

No more deadlines, no more breadlines
Mr 10%, you’re on your own
No more fine print, no more backstage  blues
This rolling stone is rolling home