Drums - Dave Mattacks

Park Records

Produced by Steeleye Span
Recorded at Element Recording Studios London
Engineer - Steve Watkins (and who mixed 'Poor old Soldier')
Mixer - John Etchells 

A second Album for this line up coming just 2 years after the last, but a big change in direction after the largely acoustic Horkstow Grange album. This was a return focus on the Rock in Folk-Rock with Tim Harries taking a more prominent song writing role. 
The title is not related to Bethlem Royal hospital, London. but is actually a lyric from the song 'Stephen' - "There is a child in Bedlam born" and refers to Christ's birth in Bethlehem. 

There were various reports that there were personality clashes in the recording of the album and many parts were recorded individually. In addition there are songs where not everyone is involved (see individual songs) which is generally rare for any Steeleye Album - apart from occasional duets or acoustic tracks. Bob was missing from the most because he had decided to leave the band while recording the album. As Peter said after: "Having made the decision to leave, Bob simply wanted to work on his songs and then go. I did say that I thought this album would be a good one to finish on and we were aware that they were to be his swan songs". Tim Harries described the recording of the album as a  ‘A conference of alienation’
With the breakup of this line-up in 2001 it meant a short lived run out for many of the songs, with a significant number having never been heard live. 'Who told the Butcher' is the only track that survived into the 'reunion' line up's live set in 2002.  

1. Well Done Liar

(4.35  Adapted from Traditional lyrics - 'Who's the fool now'  . Melody, Arrangement and new chorus by Bob Johnson)
Album notes -  This song comes from the sixteenth century and is thought to be a satire on those who tell wonderful stories “to make other idiots laugh and wise men to cry ‘Who's the fool now?’” As such, it is a reflection of the way in which I have perceived my role on stage over the past 28 years; that is to say, as a teller of wonderful stories. Thank you for listening.

The original traditional song (Who's the Fool Now' that was the basis for Bob's adaptation, was sung by the band in 2006 and appears on 'Live at Distance' Live CD/DVD (2009). Tim and Maddy also sang this version as a duo. 

The song was sung live in 1999 prior to being recorded and was at a higher temp with a slightly different melody in the chorus. It was not then heard live after release due to Bob leaving.

[1999] UK '30th Anniversary' tour. 

2. Who Told the Butcher

(2.58 Written by Peter Knight)

Album notes:  I put down my fiddle when forming this riddle; Intending to please you and tease you besides; For the butcher will seek every pool, every creek; Till he finds the dark places where old Brownie hides.

The song is based on terms used in Fly Fishing, mainly names for the flies whilst 'Old Brownie' is a trout

[2000] Summer US Tour; UK 'Bedlam Born' tour
[2001] 'Folk On the Pier', Cromer. One off concert after Gay Woods left. 
[2004] UK 35th Anniversary Tour - Appeared on the '25th Anniversary World Tour DVD and 'Folk Rock Pioneers in Concert CD. (2005) 
[2006] UK Spring Tour; Festivals
[2007] Spanfest
[2009] UK Spring & Autumn '40th Anniversary' Tours;  (selected dates on both)
[2011] UK Winter 'Now We are Six Tour'

3. John of Ditchford

(3.43  Based on traditional lyrics. Tune and Arrangement by Tim Harries)
Bob is not featured on this track with electric guitar played by Tim.

Album notes:  Adapted from 'A Lynching (1322)' by Eric Jenkins from his book Northampton Murder Tales (1998)
Tim described it on stage as:  "about the danger of seeking sanctuary in the church in the 14th century if you have a bit of blood on your hands."

[2000] Summer US Tour; UK 'Bedlam Born' tour
[2001] 'Folk On the Pier', Cromer. One off concert after Gay Woods left.

4. I See His Blood upon the Rose

(4.68. Words - Joseph Plunkett; Music by Gay Woods. Arranged by Tim and Gay  )

Album notes:   For my brother Austin Corcoran, painter, poet, alchimist
Also in memory of Joseph Plunkett (1887-1916), poet, executed in the “1916 Rising”.

[2001] 'Folk On the Pier', Cromer. One off concert after Gay Woods left. Sung by Tamsyn Alexander. 

5. Back Swan

(1.50 Written by Tim Harries) Features only Peter and Tim. 

Not sung live

6. The Beggar

(3.00 Traditional lyrics. Music and arrangement by Bob Johnson) 

Album notes:  There were many songs in the mid-seventeenth century concerning drinking, begging & madness. The distinction between alcoholism and insanity was very blurred and Bethlehem Mental Hospital (Bedlam) was full of society's rejects. On a lighter note, this song could be thought of as the folk-rock equivalent of the Hollywood musical song “We're a couple of swells—we dine at the best hotels—etc.

Not sung live

7. Poor Old Soldier

(2.20 Written by Peter Knight) 

Album notes - Never a soldier to run from the enemy. Always a soldier to take the front line.
Brave to the end without comrade or friend. March on, dear friend of mine.

Peter has since revealed that this was written about Maddy Prior when she left Steeleye in 1997.

Not sung live

8. Arbour

(1.26 Music - Tim Harries; Words - Gay Woods)
Bob does not feature on this track.

Album Notes (Gay): From a dream, for Carl Gustav Jung. Spoken part (the prose bit) - The Evergreen Flame.

Not sung live

9. There Was a Wealthy Merchant 

(4.58 based on traditional lyrics ('Jackie Munro'). Music and Arrangement by Tim Harries)

The track only features Gay, Dave Mattacks and Tim who played Bass, Guitar's and keyboard. I don't know why Peter was not involved but has said since that this is one of his favourite tracks from the album.
No album notes but we know that the lyrics are from the Grateful Dead version of 'Jack-a-Roe'. Tim was a Grateful Dead fan.

[2000] UK 'Bedlam Born' tour - selected dates

10. Beyond the Dreaming Place

(3.04 Music by Peter Knight; Words by Gay Woods)
Bob does not feature on this track. 

Album notes:  For Ian, landscape sculptor, storyteller.
May the light in the tops of the trees always guide you home.
-- Love, Gay

[2000] UK 'Bedlam Born' Tour

11. We Poor Labouring Men

(5.05 Traditional. Arrangement by Bob Johnson)

Album notes: I would like to dedicate this song to the memory of A.L.Lloyd, who stage managed the folk revival in the sixties and without whom 'Steeleye' wouldn't have had access to so much material. I have heard him sing this song about thirty years ago and immediately loved its simple statement and unusual melody...thank you Bert. Bob.

Unusually this track was in the set list 1994/95 but didn't appear again before being recorded here, although was not then played live at this time. The earlier live version was slightly more up tempo. It did also appear on sessions in 1971 sung by Maddy but was never released.

[1994] UK 25th Anniversary Tour - Featured on '25 Live: 25th Anniversary Concert Video (1995). 
[1995] UK Spring Tour.  Also featured on the 1995 BBC Radio broadcast from Yeovil.

12. The Connemara Cradle Song

(5.38 Words - Delia Murphy. Music - adapted from the tune of 'Down in the Valley' )
Bob again does not feature.

Album notes -  Inspired to sing this song after hearing a play on RTE Radio: “Riders to the Sea” by J.M. Synge. For the West Wind and the Atlantic Ocean.

[1999] UK '30th Anniversary' Tour
[2000] US Summer Tour

13. Stephen

(4.25 Traditional lyrics (Child 22 - 'St Stephen and Herod'). Arrangement by Tim Harries - verse melody adapted from "St Nicholas, Godes Druth" by St Godric (12 Century) and the remaining melody by Tim)
Bob plays acoustic guitar


14. The White Cliffs of Dover

(3.06 Written by Burt/Kent. Arrangement by Gay Woods)
The intro is from 'There'll always be an England' Written by Parker/Charles
No Bob on this track.

Album notes -  For Vera Lynn, the RAF, the North Yorkshire sheep farmers, anti G.M. crop activists, the homeless and those who didn't make it to see the beautiful white cliffs of Dover.

[2000] UK 'Bedlam Born' Tour

Session Out-take - 'Staring Robin'

(Written by Tim Harries). A song about an "Elizabethan Psycho"

Played live in 2000 - UK Bedlam Born Tour & 2001 - Cromer.

Recorded in the sessions but excluded from the final cut on the advice of Park Records. Peter Knight has said frequently that this was a bad decision and he regrets it. It has yet to be released as an outtake and we only have a couple of poor quality bootlegs of it being played live. You can here it HERE

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