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Introducing Wheal Alice

The how and why…

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Paul Cowley in the South-West

Paul Cowley, an excellent blues-influenced player, tells me that he has some gigs in the South West in the near future, including gigs in Brixham (Feb 14th), Dartmouth (March 2nd) and Liskeard (The Albion, 4 Dean St, Liskeard PL14 4AX, on March 3rd). More information on all his upcoming shows here.

I reviewed his 3rd CD here: it’s really rather good.

David Harley

This guitar just plays the blues 2019 [demo]

There’s a more straightforward country-ish version of this here, but I suddenly felt the urge to change the arrangement. Words and music copyright David Harley, 1976.

A trace of your scent still lingers on my pillow
And raises echoes in my memory
And I believe you’re missing me almost as much as I miss you
But I wish to God that you were here with me

The sun will surely rise on another soft blue morning
And lying in your arms is where I’ll be
With sweet dreams still in my eyes, I’ll wake and kiss your hair
But it’s a long cold night while you’re not here with me

This guitar once played for keeps, but since you changed my life
This guitar just plays for you, if that’s OK?
This guitar rang bells for losers, but there’ll be no more songs of losing
Though this guitar just plays the blues while you’re away

David Harley

Bootup Blues (Big Blues) [2019 demo]

When I woke up this morning
My laptop wouldn’t boot at all
I said I woke up this morning
And tossed my Tosh against the wall
My baby took the mains adapter and the battery’s screwed beyond recall

Well she left me for some guy
With a 99GHz overclocked PC
And now she’s interfacing
With his RS232C
(he’s a serial womanizer)
She said my hard disk was too small
To satisfy
Her new spreadsheet

I wouldn’t treat an iPad
The way that woman treated me
She fragmented my hard disk
And ran off with my Angry Birds DVD
Left me nothing but this boot sector virus
And a copy of Wordstar version 3.3

Dah-diddy-dah-diddy-dah-diddy-dah….

You can get some idea of how old this thing is from the fact that the iPad was originally an Amstrad, and the Angry Birds DVD was originally a 7th Guest Cd. It’s hard keeping up with technology. Hopefully, I’m still ahead of the curve on PC CPU specs, Moore’s Law (or House’s variant) and overclocking notwithstanding. The reference to RS232C is slightly disingenuous: RS-232-C is the 1969 version of the standard, not hardware. I wouldn’t have mentioned any of this if it weren’t for a ludicrous conversation in a pub with someone who apparently thought I was setting PC for Dummies to music rather than writing a mildly amusing blues parody. And to the guy who recommended that I use Sophos to deal with my imaginary boot sector virus, thanks for the suggestion, but I did at the time actually work – or, strictly speaking, consult – for a(nother) anti-virus company, and I had it covered.

David Harley

Coasting – change of arrangement [demo]

Words and music copyright David Harley 1982: all rights reserved

Still looking for a final arrangement for this.

Version with added ‘space’

Unvarnished version

I think this is going in the right direction.  I like the feel of the lead break, but it seems a bit lonely on its own. Maybe some keyboard and bass.

The accompaniment is a single Gibson J160E miked up, but with pickup recorded simultaneously on a different track. I rather like the sound, and may make more of it. The lead break is my Les Paul.

The nights pass slowly, but they pass:
The days are paper-thin.
Life goes on much as usual:
Some games I lose, some I win.
Sometimes I feel that I’m sleepwalking
Through the streets of this grey city,
But then, it’s only been a month or two.
It’s not the first time that I’ve coasted
Through the routine chores of living
And I’ll make it this time too
After you…

Today I walked in sunlight though the wind blew cold
Through my coat:
I thought about the coming spring, and I swear somewhere
I felt a twinge of hope.
I don’t expect to hear from you. I guess that’s how it should be:
There’s no point in chasing dreams that won’t come true.
It’s not the first time that I’ve coasted through the aftermath of loving
And I’ll make it this time too
After you…

Sometimes I take a weekend walk by these muddy city shores
And old man river talks to me
But I can’t quite understand: my feet stay locked to the dry land
So he drifts on with the seasons out to sea

The weeks pass slowly but they pass
And I drift from phase to phase.
I’m sick of wishing you were here to help me
Through these bleak and restless days.
Sometimes I think I’m waking into another nightmare,
But it passes, as these feelings often do.
It’s not the first time I’ve been lonely, nor the first time I’ve been left,
And I’ll make it this time too
After you…

David Harley

Two Is A Silence [demo]

A song previously posted elsewhere, but the lyric here is as I sing it now, rather than as recorded. If it matters…

Words and Music by David Harley, copyright 1986 

Demo version with added bouzouki:

I’m not quite sure why I keep wanting to add exotic instruments to a song that borders on the country-ish, but I’ve been messing about with versions incorporating Nashville-tuned guitar and/or mandola. But don’t worry: I’m totally incapable of getting any sound whatsoever out of the bagpipes.

Previously posted elsewhere, but I suddenly noticed that the way I sing it now changes the order of the words slightly, though it probably doesn’t make much real difference to anyone else. Anyway, the words below are as I sing it now, so don’t quite match the recording. Next time, maybe.

Two isn’t company, three is a crowd
Two is a silence, three is too loud
Two is a silence gets harder to break
But three always leaves one left over

Three into two isn’t good for the head
It’s no problem in math, but it’s bad news in bed
And it’s one for an ace and two for a pair
But three always leaves one left over

When we’re alone somehow he’s always there
You say it’s the same when you two are the pair
So it’s one for sorrow and two for joy

But three always leaves one left over

All the shouting is over and dead
Somehow there’s nothing much else to be said
And it’s one for the money and two for the show
But three always leaves one left over

Two isn’t company, three is a crowd
Two is a silence, three is too loud
Two is a silence gets harder to break
But three always leaves one left over

David Harley