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


Carpentry [demo]

This is an instrumental based on the tune I wrote for my setting of Housman’s ‘The Carpenter’s Son’. I’ve recorded it before, but this version is just a single guitar and is pitched way down from the other (uses a C-modal tuning). A work in progress.

And here’s a previously-recorded version that’s nearer to the way I do it live, except that this version has overdubbed bouzouki and dulcimer on the last section.

I don’t yet have an altogether satisfactory version with the vocal. I need to get back to that…

David Harley

Castles and Kings [demo] (again)

[I keep putting versions of this up, but the vocal is a bit better on this version… The final version will probably also include a version of Vestapol, as did earlier versions. But I’ll come back to that.]

When I was a kid in a country town
and I’d nothing better to do:
I’d detour round by the railway bridge
on my way home from school.

Leaning over the bridge with my chin in my hands,
too young to be wondering why,
I’d wait what seemed hours for the signal to change:
wait for a train to go by

The lure of the footplate, the churn of the rods
straining to places unknown;
fog in November, smoke in the cold air
the faraway steam-whistle moan;

bathing my eyes in the warmth of the lights
as up the track she would fly.
I’d get home late: they’d ask ‘Where have you been?’
I’d say ‘watching the trains go by’…

Saturday lunchtime some days in the spring
with the sky an implacable blue,
collecting the numbers of Castles and Kings:
it’s all we’d want to do.

Perspective of steel cut through frostbitten green,
just went on to a faraway end,
and I always felt sad at the Cambrian’s tail-light
as she’d disappear round the bend.

Now trains mean timetables, luggage and waiting rooms,
leaving the people I love;
the pounding of diesels, the A to B run
– perspective has subtly moved.

Tonight I am free and the rails are still endless
(if I had the fare to ride)
but I stand on a footbridge in the heart of the city
watching the Tube trains go by.

David Harley


Please (demo)

A song I wrote in the 70s but of which I finally recorded a demo in 2015. And then forgot about it until today. Listening to it now, it’s not far from how I’d like the finished version to be: I’ll have to dig out the rough tracks and maybe re-record the vocals. [Update: cleaned up existing version. Probably that’s all I’ll do with it for the present.  Other songs to write!]

Words and music by David Harley: all rights reserved


Let me go on dreaming
Don’t make me wake
To find her gone
But it’s all right
Waking in the darkness
To find her still
Here in my arms

And the nightmares come and go
But in the afterglow
The pain spills out across the sheets
If this is all a dream
Let me go on dreaming

Let us go on dreaming
Sleep away the bitterness
That poisoned our lives
Help us
Go on believing
Tuning out the threats
And the lies

Hold back the daybreak
Let there be no more
Lonely dawns
Or else
Let tomorrow last for ever
Of the night before

Words & Music by David Harley
© 1977