Like Long Stand and Hands of the Craftsman, I wrote this for the revue “Nice…if you can get it”, directed by Maggie Ford sometime in the early 80s, but wasn’t used as it wasn’t really in keeping with the other material. I haven’t thought about it since, but when I found it lurking among my juvenilia a couple of years ago, found that not only could I more or less remember the tune, but that I actually quite like it. Minor changes to the lyric which no-one will notice but me…
[Remixed 10th June 2017]
I’m through with the world and those city screams
I’ll take to the air with a cargo of dreams
All of my life I’ve been tied to the ground
Now I’m spreading my wings to take to the clouds
No more will I lay aching bones on cold earth
Reaching out for the sun now I know what I’m worth
No more shuffling around, feet nailed to the ground
My skysails are set and I’m outward bound
At one with the winds I’ll take to the sky
No longer afraid of the sun in my eyes
I’ll rise with the lark and see the world so clear
But it’s your world, not mine, and my world is here
David Harley, copyright 1986. Originally published as a poem in Vertical Images 2, 1987. I waited 30+ years for the melody to turn up, and finally did a make-it-up-as-you-go-along job just now, complete with a rough draft of a possible arrangement. There should be a better version when I’ve learned the tune…
And yes, I know that it’s unlikely that M’Lord fought at Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). While the Black Death subsided in England from about 1350, outbreaks continued right through the first half of the 15th century (and well beyond.
Song of Chivalry
When M’Lord returned
To his sheets of silk
And his gentle lady
Of musk and milk
The minstrels sang
In the gallery
Their songs of slaughter
The rafters roared
With laughter and boasting
Goblets were raised and drained
The heroes of Crécy
Or the madness
Of some holy war
The hawk is at rest
On the gauntlet once more
Savage of eye
And bloody of claw
Famine and fever
Are all the yield
Of the burnt-out barns
And wasted fields
The sun grins coldly
Through the trees
The children shiver
The widows grieve
And beg their bread
At the monastery door
Tell me then
Who won the war?
Improvised slide piece that reminds me a little of John Fahey.
I’m ashamed to say I’m not well acquainted with the work of John Fahey, though I have occasionally played ‘The Death of the Clayton Peacock’ which I learned, I think, from a guitar anthology album. Even the way I play ‘Poor Boy/Vestapol’ ultimately derives from Stefan Grossman rather than either Fahey or Robert Wilkins. But that’s another story.
This is actually an improvisation (which started as a sort of pseudo-air in D-modal but somehow moved to a slide piece in Csus2), but it reminded me a little of the Fahey tracks I heard in the 70s. And now I think I’m going to have to start listening to him again.
Slightly tighter version than previously, played on resonator guitar.
Another make-it-up-as-you-go-along jobbie. The words have actually been following me around for a few months, but it wasn’t till I started playing about with a Csus2 tuning (CGCGCD) this afternoon that it clicked.
The words may change in due course, and the guitar part needs some polish (it’s the first time I’ve used the tuning), but this certainly gives the general idea.
Back to this sooner rather than later, I hope.
Words and music copyright David Harley, 2017.
Can’t turn her off
Can’t get her out of my head
I don’t need this jangle
In my nerves
And in my head
I don’t need
These lonely hours
Here in my weary bed
But I can’t sleep
I can’t turn her off
I can’t get her out my head
The night hours
Are bleeding away
Till the light runs away with my time
The shadow fades
And I’m so afraid
My words are refusing to rhyme
But I can’t shut her up
I can’t shut her off
I can’t get her out of my mind
I can’t pick her up
I can’t put her down
I can’t get her into my bed
I can’t shut her up
I can’t shut her down
I can’t get her out of my head
I can’t find the path
I can’t do the math
I can’t get it into my head
And I can’t break it down
I can’t break it up
I can’t get you out of my head
Another of my reviews for Folking.com, this time of a CD called ‘44070’ by Occidental Gypsy.
Another of my reviews for Folking.com, this time of a CD called ‘44070’ by Occidental Gypsy. As the name suggests, they’re strongly influenced by the Quintette du Hot Club de France, but this CD moves away a little from Reinhardt and Grappelli and ‘Gypsy Swing’, with quite a lot of original material. Very interesting.
This is me in strictly make-it-up-as-you-go-along mode. Even the words changed in the course of the thirty minutes or so I spent on this, so I won’t put them up here yet. The whole thing is quite rough, but at least the tune seems to be all there.
[Original recording removed as the vocal was really rough.]
This is a banjo-ish version, taken down a tone so that the vocal is a little more comfortable. (I’ve practised it a little, too, which helps.) I like the ‘Lowest Pair‘ feel to the accompaniment, but the final version will probably restore the acoustic guitar with some slide and less banjo, and maybe bass or baritone guitar. So right now we’re still in demo mode.
Here’s a redone vocal with the words that I’ve (more or less) settled on.
Roger Waters’ song for Pink Floyd probably isn’t the most obvious candidate for an old-timey treatment (and frankly, this isn’t very old-timey at all), but I thought it would be interesting to do it with some mandolin and banjo behind the acoustic guitar, and just a little electric guitar. Unusually for me, that really is a banjo, not a guitar pretending to be a banjo. I do intend to come back to it, and the instrumentation might well be different.
Alternate take (but still very much a demo): without the mandolin, banjo and electric guitar, but added some slide (resonator, not electric). Definitely not old-timey. Oh well.