Sunday, November 14, 2010

Steeleye Span: Boys of Bedlam



Time for another choice inspired by Rob Young's Electric Eden.

After Ashley Hutchings had left Fairport Convention and hung out with Mr Fox, he formed a new band called Steeleye Span with, among others, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, a folk duo from St Albans.

For their second LP "Please to See the King" the band was joined by Martin Carthy, who sings the lead on this track.

As someone who remembers Steeleye Span from the days when it was in the charts and dominated by Maddy Prior's voice, I find this incarnation infinitely preferable. Prior's voice can be irritating in large quantities, and it is hard to forgive her for not being Sandy Denny.

Incidentally, I once read an article that argued that the widely held belief that people used to pay to see the inmates at Bedlam for entertainment is mistaken. But I can't remember where I read it or how this misunderstanding arose.

Later. The original video has disappeared from Youtube, so here is one with the cover Paul remembers.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It all sounds like Bagpuss to me

Lang Rabbie said...

I suspect any article was probably written or contributed to by Patricia Allderidge who spent twenty years trawling through the Bedlam archives:

"I have therefore come to the conclusion that, on the whole, historians of psychiatry actually do not want to know about Bethlem as a historical fact because Bethlem as a reach-me-down historical cliché is far more useful.

…Bethlem as the ultimate symbol of all that is evil is far too useful a space-filler to be risked in the refining fires of academic research: and it does not really matter too much what it symbolizes, so long as it is sufficiently discreditable to be credible."

Anonymous said...

Maddy Prior is the greatest. So you can shove your forgiveness where the sun don't shine.

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Lang Rabbie.

Paul Walter said...

I bought it when it came out. I particularly remember "The Blacksmith". But mine had a different cover than the one on your YouTube embed. A plain cover with large writing on it. Unless my brain has exploded and it was a different album....

Peter said...

I'm dipping into that Electric Eden too. Hope to read most of it over Christmas.

You're a bit tough on Maddy, but not entirely wrong!

Mark said...

If your gold standard for female vocalists is Sandy Denny, then you're setting the bar too high for everyone - except perhaps Ella Fitzgerald from a different genre.

Jonathan said...

Mark: Fair enough, though when thinking about popular folk rock groups of the 1970s it is the obvious comparison to make.