Donal Clancy review

Review for folking.com of a very classy CD from Dónal Clancy: https://folking.com/donal-clancy-on-the-lonesome-plain-pro…/

David Harley

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Box of Blue [demo]

A piece I was playing about with a few months ago on resonator guitar. This is actually played on the same guitar, but messing about with it to get a more 1950s steel guitar sound. Still needs work on the production, but I like the overall feel of this version.

David Harley

Song Without Warning (demo)

Song Without Warning (Harley)

(c) 2018: all rights reserved

This is my box of dreams, my nest of nightmares
Words and lines and verses in a cage
Fragments of conversation
Thoughts that barely made the page

Some days, I think someday I’ll write them
All the verses in vitro in this room
Someday these little birds will find the way to fly away
They won’t need me anymore and they’ll be gone

Sometimes I call myself a writer
Though I’m afraid I might have lost the paperwork
Till they tap me on the shoulder and remind me
My poetic licence hasn’t been revoked

When my last song has been written
When I’ve picked my last chord
My box of dreams will still be here
Overflowing still with orphaned words

For every song without warning
That somehow made it to be heard
There’ll still be all these scraps of recollection
Thoughts and dreams that never found their words

Sometimes I call myself a writer
Though I’m afraid I might have lost the paperwork
Till they tap me on the shoulder and remind me
My poetic licence hasn’t been revoked

 

Two for Joy

One for sorrow, two for joy… meditations on a very handsome bird with a slightly dubious reputation.

Seeing no less than eight magpies in the garden today – well, I only saw three, but my wife saw five more before I got there – I was trying in vain to remember some of the lines to the nursery rhyme (the Spencer Davies Group version kept getting in the way). I always assumed that the line from that version – ‘ten is a bird you must not miss’ if I remember correctly – was a sneaked-in-novation  to hook viewers of the ‘Magpie’ programme into tuning in next week, but it turns out that at least one version from Lancashire has a similar line. ‘Ten a surprise you should be careful not to miss’: doesn’t scan very well, but possibly good advice, at least some of the time. That Lancashire version actually goes up to 13: I found it on the British Bird Lovers site, though the RSPB site also refers to it.

Wikipedia tells me that it has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 20096. Magpies are frequent visitors to other songs, though, some of which are included in that Wikipedia article. Then there’s this one from Donovan’s ‘Gift From A Flower To A Garden’, for instance. And even one of mine, though in that instance the reference is a little oblique.

I must admit that despite their slightly dubious reputation, being associated with bad luck and even the devil, they are very handsome birds. Not altogether comfortable neighbours, though: when I lived in North London, I used to visit the Rye Meads Nature Reserve.  The first time I took my daughter there, though, I was discomfited to discover that the kingfishers I’d half-promised her had been driven away by egg-stealing magpies. 😦

But here, specially for you, are ‘two for joy’. Though it kind of looks as if they’re not speaking right now.

David Harley