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Introducing Wheal Alice

The how and why…

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Paper City 2019 [demo]

There is a studio recording of this which is more rock ‘n’ roll, but I haven’t really done it in public since the disbanding of the Flying Piglets (yeah, I know, but the name wasn’t my idea…) so I thought I’d try a new arrangement. Needs work, but I think it will be OK.

I woke up with my mind’s eye facing your direction:
I looked hard and I saw you needed help.
You’re choking on paper and tape and legislation,
But you can’t produce one thing to help yourself.

Paper city at the heart of a paper empire:
You’ve got strings to pull, you’ve got wires all over the earth.
Sky-climbing parasite, concrete and paper jungle,
You’ve got money to burn, but I know you’d rather freeze to death.

You’ve got stacks of stocks and shares and bonds:
You’ve got telephone and telex,databank and dateline too.
But you can’t produce as much as one lead pencil,
Or a bar of soap, or a rubber band to pull you through.

The media twitch at the flash of a freemason’s handshake:
Speeches are made and the punters gather round;
Paper politicians and faceless company men,
Taking the pulse of an ailing paper pound.

I bet you know just what you’re worth on paper:
When the market crumbles, what will that do to you?
A lot of cold people don’t own the earth they lie in:
Will you be all right in your green-lined paper tomb?

Paper city at the heart of a bankrupt empire:
Your towers get higher as your assets hit new lows.
Nose-diving parasite, I wouldn’t mind you dying,
But you’ll take so many with you when you go.

Copyright David Harley 1982

A rainy day blues [demo]

There are a number of songs called ‘Rainy Day Blues’. This, however, is the only one written by me. 🙂

I’ve probably posted this before somewhere, but this is a slightly different arrangement.

Some days are like a melody
But I can’t seem to hold the key
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

So I spend my day trying to keep  myself amused
Sitting here picking at a rainy day blues
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

It seems the road to fortune never ends
You play God all week and golf at weekends
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

And if we quit the rat-race we could have a ball
But you know those big wheels grind so small
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

You say you love me but it seems sometimes
You stuff my mouth with kisses and my ears with lies
I don’t mind losing
I just wish I had a little more to lose

Words and Music copyright David Harley 1973

One Step Away (from the blues) 2019 [demo]

We recorded a version of this back in the ’80s for which I liked the arrangement, but was never quite happy with the vocals. Finally I have a version where the guitar part and vocal seem to work. Now I just have to think about the additional instruments (acoustic lead, 12-string, and electric slide on the original version). And maybe merging it with ‘Letting Go

Words & Music copyright David Harley

 

Letting Go 2019 [demo]

You keep asking for time so I’m giving you the rest of your life
It’s been a long way down but you can give it just as long as you like
A fast set of wheels is the only way out I know
I just feel like letting go

Talk about miles of air, that’s all I need
I’m leaving light as I came ’cause that’s just about my speed
I came in 29 and I’m leaving feeling 44
I just feel like letting go

We started out dancing but we’re each doing different steps
And I’m sick of waiting for a miracle to connect
You keep changing the rules but I’ve an end game all my own
I just feel like letting go

Sometimes I get the strangest feeling lying in your bed
While my body makes love, there’s rubber burning in my head
A fast set of wheels is the cleanest cut I know
I just feel like letting go

Copyright David Harley 1982

Blackwaterside [demo]

This isn’t a song I can really do justice to vocally, but after discussing arrangements with a friend a few months ago, I thought it would be nice to work on an instrumental arrangement. To be honest, I’ve cheated a little, since this is basically the accompaniment to a version I was working up with Sally Goddard last year – we might even get to play it in public somewhere this year! – with some extra ornamentation.

Sally previously recorded it with Atlantic Union in a much more rhythmic version which uses a variation on the tune most people sing. This takes it back to a much slower reading, but does use that variation in the tune.

This is in DADGAD: I was trying out a version in standard tuning a few months ago that I quite liked. I’ll have to take another look at that, but I think this would be pretty good too, with a bit more practice.

David Harley

The Chuck Berry Beri [demo]

Chuck Berry beri: related to the rocking pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu, but not, in this case, rock and roll. The words started over a decade ago as Chuck Berry pastiche, but when I came back to it this year it turned into something quite different.

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 perhaps I need a holiday
So I’m out here on a midnight cruise
I think 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
And 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 there’s anyone at home
Maybe I’ll call you with the news from nowhere
While I’m stranded by the side of the road

Maybe I still need a holiday
But I can’t afford another midnight cruise
Still I can’t break the habit
I need another shot of rhythm and blues

Words and music copyright March 2019 by David Harley