Maid In Bedlam


Jon says, “In some respects quite an ordinary folk-song story, but the imagery is very powerful here. I first heard this sung by Jackie McShee on the John Renbourn Group’s Maid in Bedlam CD, which is great by the way.”

I’ll add that I’ve come across some lyric sets for this that seem to end happily. This Mudcat thread at least goes some way there, but there are even some verses where our newly arrived hero saves the day. Still I agree that this is indeed powerful stuff,  a shudder went down my spine.



18 Responses to “Maid In Bedlam”

  1. Rosie says:

    Love this. Very dramatic accompaniment !

  2. John Biggs says:

    You are entitled to shudder. For those with financial means, a convenient way of ridding themselves of a lady they had grown tired of , was to have them committed to an asylum (bedlam) If they were not mad when they went in, it would not take long !! Ref. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins etc etc.

  3. Patrick Rose says:

    The King’s Singer have sung this on their Simple Gifts album, under the name I Love My Love, but it’s a nice one this.

  4. Shelley says:

    Fantastic song – I’ve sung a choral version of it.

  5. Phil says:

    Rather than join the discussion on yesterday’s song, I’d like to congratulate Jon on reaching 301 with a great rendition of a terrific old song – and one which was new to me, which is even better.

  6. Dave Rogers says:

    Lovely! It’s been a while since we’ve had an accompanied song and much as I like Jon’s voice, I always enjoy the songs with fiddle or concertina accompaniment that little bit more.

  7. Jan says:

    The fiddle on this certainly adds to the shudder effect! This is another must-learn for me, but I fear will be sadly lacking without the accompaniment – any fiddlers out there willing to help?

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    I love this one too, dramatic accompaniment and all! I have heard Jacqui McShee sing it and know it as My Love Loves Me. Coincidentally, I have just been listening to Wilkie Collins’ Woman In White audiobook with the marvellously written concluding confession of Count Fosco. A great choice for song 301, Jon! Just listened to you 3x in a row!

  9. LadyD says:

    Love the drama/story/imagery of this song.
    I think I’m gonna give it a go….playing the tune that is…as a non singer.
    Hmmmm…now concertina or fiddle?

  10. LadyD says:

    So here I am a little while later…here is my attempt at the ‘tune’ of maid in Bedlam.
    Used the anglo concertina in the end.
    Hope you like it.

  11. Diana says:

    Bedlam – a dreadful place in the past. It is still there in London although it has a different name now The Bethlem Royal Hospital, but it still deals with mental illnesses. You have to read the words to get all the images within this song, which is doleful but sung so well. Not one of the happiest songs though.

  12. Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Singing and fiddle, excellent.
    One of those songs that illustrates that the human mind retreats into its memories in times of trauma….i.e. the way Terry Waite survived his five years as a hostage.

  13. Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    @LadyD……I’m only a year late but I enjoyed your youtube concertina….
    you said it was a ‘Tedrow’ model…….. had to look it up.
    Could desribe the noise that Jane would make if she started to play.
    A last, silly, thought……..can’t get “Made in Birmingham” out of my mind!

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    Not got words enough to say how much I love this sort of folk combination – the resounding singing out with dramatic fiddle accompaniment. It just does it for me!

    @ Muzza: Ted-row? How very dare ye! However, due to the (no doubt arthritic) locking ring finger on Ted’s right paw, I have shelved plans to learn the violin… *sighs*

  15. Linda says:

    New Bellowhead CD pre ordered!!!!!

  16. Diana says:

    Have you gone for the whole version with all the extras Linda?

  17. Linda says:


  18. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Good to see you still out there Lindy Lou……………
    ref lady D audio Youtube(2011 above…..just right for any ‘would be singers’ to use as a backing track for their own efforts

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