Tears of Morning (suite) [very rough demo]

A suite rather than an individual song. At the moment it combines a version of Tears of Morning (a setting of two lyrics from Housman’s Last Poems); the air-like guitar piece that would be the basis of a guitar arrangement for that setting and a bridge to the next section; this next section would be my song Sea Fret (here represented by just two verses using a different guitar arrangement to fit in with the first sections, and incorporating some bits from an old guitar piece of mine called Bluebert); and finally, an instrumental interpretation of She Moved Through The Fair based on Davy Graham’s arrangement from the 1960s.

There’s a lot of work to do on this (and the vocals illustrate clearly why you shouldn’t sing just after eating pizza): here, I’m just working out some ideas for an overall structure.

David Harley

Tears of Morning [demo]

Another Housman setting: words from Last Poems. I’ve followed the example of Michael Raven in using two separate verses that are clearly connected thematically and in form, at least as far as this stand-alone song is concerned. However, in the suite of songs/pieces that this might eventually be used for, XXVI will probably be enough. The suite is going to be gloomy enough as it is…

Mike Raven used a traditional tune for his setting that sounds familiar, but I’m not sure from where. I think I may have heard it attached to The Holy Well but wouldn’t swear to it. That setting is beautifully sung unaccompanied by Joan Mills on the CD ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (with Mike Raven) reviewed here. However, I’ve put a new tune to it. This is one of my ‘get-the-tune-recorded-and-worry-about-the-setting-later’ pieces, strictly a demo.


The half-moon westers low, my love,
And the wind brings up the rain;
And wide apart lie we, my love,
And seas between the twain.

I know not if it rains, my love,
In the land where you do lie;
And oh, so sound you sleep, my love,
You know no more than I.


The sigh that heaves the grasses
Whence thou wilt never rise
Is of the air that passes
And knows not if it sighs.

The diamond tears adorning
Thy low mound on the lea,
Those are the tears of morning,
That weeps, but not for thee.

David Harley

Long Cigarettes, Cheap Red Wine [demo]

Written in the 1970s when I was getting disenchanted with the idea of being a rock star. Not that there was ever the slightest chance of that happening. (There is a version around somewhere played on resonator guitar.) Actually, the new intro might be interesting played on bouzouki and/or banjo. I’ll have to think about that.

Lyrics (slightly amended since the resonator version):

You sing your songs / the stage is bare
There isn’t / anyone out there
From time to time / it just seems that way
And I run out / of songs to play

Forget the musak / and the beer
The open mouths / the grudging cheers
There isn’t / any better way
To freeload / your life away

Back in / 1969
I lost someone / I thought  was mine
That’s the price / I had to pay
When I ran out / of songs to play

Goodbye old friend / I have to leave
Just to prove / that I’m still free
I’ll see you / in a year or so
And buy the round / you say I owe

The long cigarettes / the cheap red wine
The melodies / you say are mine
And if you find / somewhere to be
I hope / you’ll save a place for me

Words and music by David Harley: all rights reserved

Moonstruck [demo]

David Harley, copyright 1987


Mirror-eyed and misty
and veering into black
Tiptoe across the flagstones
falling through the cracks
I’ve lain too long in midnight
and I can’t find my way back

I was leaving close on midnight
but I couldn’t find the door
Creeping round the moonlight
littered on your bedroom floor
I’ve lain too long in midnight
and I can’t find my way home

I’m frozen to your mattress
and my mind is playing dead
I can’t reach across the moonbeams
to the wordgames in your head
I’ve lain too long in midnight
and I can’t recall a thing we said

Sea Fret 2 [demo]

A song it’s taken me two years to write… A better recording than the previous version, but not yet quite ready to go. But at least I’m fairly confident with the tune now.

Black cat in my path today – black news chilled me to the marrow
Black cloud standing in my way – two birds of prey and one for sorrow
A little chaos flown from my life – too late to hope for one last summer

A sea fret hides the harbour – a cold wind blows off the sea
You lie somewhere I’ll never find you – and no-one’s lying next to me
And surely these are not the places – that we were meant to be

Once you blew into my life – like a friendly hurricane
Near misses, French kisses – then you’d be gone again
Till later you’d drop by – and break my heart again

Sometimes I was sure I loved you – sometimes I think that you loved me
But there was always something else – somewhere you had to be
Always something in the way – someone else you had to see

I always knew we’d drive each other crazy – my fevered heart still hoped someday
I’d find you waiting round the bend – for someone I hoped to be
Waiting there for someone – I never could quite be

Mist rolls up the mountain – the wind blows off the sea
There’s no ledge for us to meet on – and no-one’s lying next to me
And surely these are not the places – that we were meant to be

Dying of Communication [demo]

A suddenly resurrected blues-y song. First time sung in about 30 years, so a bit rough, but I like the energy.

I woke up in the night thinking about this one for the first time in maybe 30 years. Fortunately, I could still find the words, though I’ve changed them slightly here (also the tempo is a bit more upbeat than when I originally wrote it). Unusually (for me) the slide is an open G. I’ve been using an open C again recently, too.

Dying of communication: Copyright David Harley 1976

Sitting it out at the full moon
Reading my mail from the next room
Can’t you see we’re dying
Dying of communication?

Checking it out with the radio
Late late news is ‘no place to go’
Can’t you see we’re dying
Dying of communication?

Sitting it out in the bathroom
Freaked out on ego juice
Fighting it out in the bedroom
Wondering what’s the use
Everyone knows we’re dying
Dying of communication