Animal Charities Fundraiser CD

Dave Hughes tells me that he is trying to secure some advance orders to offset production costs for a CD ‘Quantum Entanglement’ he has compiled as a fundraiser for two animal charities:

The two-disc CD is expected to contain 32 tracks, and artists whose tracks have been contributed include Julie Felix, Fairport Convention, Dr. Strangely Strange, Mike Absalom, Keith Christmas, Daevid Allen, and Gryphon.

The early cost is £5 plus p&p. When the CD is released in October, the cost will be £8 plus p&p.

Please contact for more details.

Crossing the Bar [demo]

A work in progress. A well-known poem of 1889 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. A ‘moaning’ noise is characteristic of a harbour sandbar when the tide is  low and the water may too turbulent for a boat to put out to sea across it in safety. Kingsley’s ‘Three Fishers’ – set to music by John Hullah as recorded by Joan Baez and many others –  uses the image of the moaning of the harbour shoal to represent danger.  Tennyson’s poem uses it as the starting point for describing the final passing from life into death. It’s reported that before his death three years later he asked his son Hallam to have the poem placed at the end of all future editions of his verse.

Since then, the poem has been a popular choice for funerals, whether as a reading or in a musical setting such as the one by Sir Hubert Parry, the choral setting by Ian Assersohn, or the very popular folkier tune by Rani Arbo. In fact, I read it at my own mother’s funeral in 2018, but always felt that I wanted to set it to music myself for an ongoing project. This is the second draft of my setting, and it’s sounding nearer to what I wanted.

Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.
David Harley

Before I fall [early demo]

I promised myself that when I retired I’d start doing something with some of the uncompleted songs I have lying around here. The words for this have been around forever, but I think its time has come.

Making up the tune as I go along, but well on the way.

Before I fall (Harley) Copyright 1982

I know I can be clumsy / I’m hamfisted as they come
I’m blessed with two left feet / And my fingers are all thumbs
But I can tie my own bootlaces / I can use a knife and fork
I get there in my own time / And if I can’t run I’ll walk

I don’t need a nanny or a minder and if I can’t cope, I’ll call
But please don’t pick me up (x3) before I fall

I know I tend to stammer / And my tongue gets tied in knots
I get confused and nervous / Tripping over my own thoughts
But I’ll make up my own mind / If I’m wrong I’ll take the blame
And I can finish my own sentences / Thank you all the same

I don’t need an interpreter and if I ever do, I’ll call
Only please don’t pick me up (x3) Before I fall

I’m defensive and I’m obstinate / When things I say and do
Turn out upside down and in reverse / I may get mad with you
As well as me, but I’m sorry / And I hope you understand
I appreciate your putting up / With me the way I am

I’m trying to do better, for you, most of all
Only please don’t pick me up (x3) before I fall

David Harley

The Chuck Beri-Beri [demo]

An improved demo of my most recently completed song. A bit of an outlier, lyrically. Sometimes a lyric insists on being something quite different to what I originally had in mind…

The words are actually not quite crystallized yet, but I think these are probably very close:

I don’t feel very much like dancing / No song worth singing but the blues
I used to feel like some kind of sex bomb / Till you absconded with the fuse
I think I need a holiday / So I’m out here on a midnight cruise
I’ve got the Chuck Berry-beri / Got to get a shot of rhythm and blues

I guess there’s no time left for loving / Looking into your backyard
Dissatisfaction guaranteed / But back to you was just a step too far
The waves were blowing higher / We were shaking at the end of the cruise
It’s a fascinating rhythm / But I need a shot of rhythm and blues

I thought I saw your nightlight flicker / But I don’t think anyone’s at home
I’ll call you with the news from nowhere / When I’m stranded by the side of the road
I still need a holiday / But I can’t afford another midnight cruise
Still I can’t break the habit / Need another shot of rhythm and blues

David Harley

Rain (new demo)

Actually two demos for the price of one. I haven’t decided which way I’m going to go on this one yet… I wrote it in the late 60s and have usually sung it unaccompanied, but now dithering.

Sketch for an unaccompanied version:

And a sketch for an accompanied version (definitely needs work to get the vocal balanced properly with the guitar – I’ll maybe get back to it later this evening):

David Harley

CD review – Julie July Band

The Julie July Band steps beyond Sandy Denny tribute material and releases an album of original material. And it turns out to be rather good. Much as I like their interpretations of Sandy’s songs, I hope they’ll continue to develop in this direction too.  Here’s my review for

JULIE JULY BAND – Lady Of The First Light (Aurora Folk Records JJB19CD1)

David Harley