Low In The Water [demo]

This is a somewhat misogynistic song I’ve never sung in public, perhaps in case someone assumed it was autobiographical. But since I was quite enjoying playing slide again…

Here’s a much older electric version, recorded on much cheaper equipment…

Early in the morning
Shaking in my shoes
Coming down with cherry fever
And the rotgut brown ale blues

I’m low in the water
I’m low in the water
I’m low in the water
But I ain’t sinking yet

Another Sunday morning
Another one night stand
One more passing shipwreck
Drowning on dry land

And I don’t know how I got here
But thank you for the ride
I’ll see you somewhere sometime
If I don’t have time to hide

Singing for your supper
Isn’t half the fun it seems
It’s a pint or five of courage
And a box of broken dreams

David Harley

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Oh Death [demo]

Not sure the world needs my version of this, but playing with an arrangement anyway, in case I ever take the resonator out in public again… Recorded by Charley Patton and Bertha Lee in 1934. There’s a better than halfway-decent version by Jo-Ann Kelly and Tony McPhee, too. There’s a John Renbourn song with the same name, by the way, but that’s very different.

David Harley

Weeping Willow (Corrina)

I’m pretty sure I’ve recorded this before, but the guitar is better on this version, I think.

This is a song I learned from Michael Cooney many decades ago. He told me recently that he learned it partly from Guy Carawan and partly from Bess Lomax Hawes, but had changed it around a lot. As have I (not least by making a slide piece out of it). It’s the folk process, folks. I particularly like the last verse, which also occurs in Robert Brown’s ‘James Alley Blues’ and Judy Roderick’s ‘Born In The Country’, which is based on Brown’s song.

David Harley

Pick My Pocket (rough demo)

From a time when I was playing mostly blues, and even my own songs were mostly in that idiom. First time I’ve played it in decades, and a different arrangement, so a bit rough, but gives the general idea.

Got no fare / For a boat or plane
I got shoes to walk / But I’m here just the same
Buddy, you can pick my pocket / Got no greens to lose
Just a handful of empty / And a head full of blues

I keep looking for a highway / I can make it down alone
With every hobo, sewer rat / And rolling stone
Buddy, you can pick my pocket / Got no greens to lose
Just a handful of empty / And a head full of blues

I’ve got a new way of spelling / Ecstasy
E is for Exit / And the rest is blowing free
Buddy, you can pick my pocket / Got no greens to lose
Just a handful of empty / And a head full of blues
Just a hat full of empty  / And a guitar full of blues

(c) David Harley 1972

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

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

Snowbird (live version)

A version recorded live for a CoastFM Live Lounge session. Words and music (such as it is) by me. A few rough patches but the guitar is mostly in good shape: I’m really going to have to record this properly one day.

A version recorded live for a CoastFM Live Lounge session. Words and music (such as it is) by me. A few rough patches but the guitar is mostly in good shape: I’m really going to have to record this properly one day.

I’ve got me a golden needle to help me tie my threads
I’ve got a bottle for my baby and a blanket for my head

So lay down, lay down mama, lay down and let me be
Somehow I feel like old cold turkey has his claws in me

If I had a silver dollar like I had one thin dime
You know I’d clip that turkey’s wings with another shot of turpentine

And if I had me a roll as thick as my right leg
You know I’d fly back up up country like a snowbird to its nest

I’m going back right now, back to my daddy’s farm
If I can find me a rag to bind up my right arm

Soul food when I’m hungry, white lightning when I’m dry
And maybe I’ll get to feeling better by and by

So lay down mama, lay down and let me be
Somehow I feel like old cold turkey has its claws in me

Another song I’ve written several times: basically, I wanted to do something based on the Cocaine Blues/Honey Take a Whiff on Me theme. Eventually this version popped out as a (more or less) eight bar blues around 1976.

David Harley