Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Autoharp: Down by the Water

Loosely based on Leadbelly’s “Salty Dog Blues,” P.J. Harvey had a hit with her 1995 release of “Down by the Water.” The original version which uses primarily electronic instrumentation charted at #48 on the Hot 100 and at #2 on the Modern Hot Tracks.

In 2004, Harvey returned to the studio to do a live recording of several of her songs in an acoustic setting. Although she is accompanied by a drum machine and has a synth keyed with foot pedals, her primary accompaniment on this version of the song was the autoharp. This live in the studio recording was quite a departure from her original release of the tune.

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