Silk and Steel CD

By David Harley
Wheal Alice Music WAM03-17
Illustration ‘Looking West from Mitchell’s Fold’ by David Harley

This is a selection of tracks, most of which were recorded at CentreSound in the 1980s and appeared on one of the cassette LPs Sheer Bravado and ScriptWrecked. ‘Diane (Going Out)’ also appeared on Sheer Bravado but was recorded live.

Some of the other tracks from those cassettes have been re-released on other CDS. One or two are on my list of songs to (re-)record, usually because of technical problems with the original tape.

[Info, links to words etc. at]

Long Stand is partly about the curious custom of ‘hazing’ apprentices by sending them off for ‘a long stand’ or ‘a can of striped paint’, partly about being young and unemployed. The first verse is strangely similar to that of Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint, from Sting’s ‘Last Ship’ project. However, Long Stand predates Sting’s song by at least 30 years. J Hands of the Craftsman is about the way in which so many crafts have been eclipsed by automation and computerization. Both Craftsman and Long Stand were written for a revue directed by Margaret Ford in the early 1980s.

Ten Percent Blues is a farewell to the life of the itinerant musician. Yeah, we all have one… Death of a Marriage isn’t strictly autobiographical, but maybe too much so for comfort. Diane (Going Out) reflects both a long-gone relationship and my brief career in psychiatric nursing. Silk and Steel is obviously not about guitar strings.

Paper City is about a global economy founded on instability and fiction. So different to the world today. Oh, wait a minute…

I still sing Coasting today, but I tend to prefer a slightly pacier, jazzier interpretation nowadays, and I may well record it that way at some point. However, I like this straightforward, poignant version as well, and my voice was in better shape then.

Circle is a long song about how war and terrorism dehumanize individuals. I wouldn’t write a song this way now, but maybe that’s because as we get older, we lose hope that our rage can make a positive difference.

  1. Long Stand 3.03
  2. Ten Percent Blues 3.42
  3. Hands of the Craftsman 5.46
  4. Death of a Marriage 4.16
  5. Diane (Going Out) 6.04
  6. Silk and Steel 3.30
  7. Paper City 5.28
  8. Coasting 5.34
  9. Circle 8.16

David Harley: vocals; acoustic/electric/slide guitars.
All Words and Music © David Harley
Wheal Alice Music WAM03-17

Paper City

Long Stand

Ten Percent Blues

Hands of the Craftsman

Death of a Marriage

Diane (Going Out)

Silk and Steel