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Eight dancers in a longways set

Sticking {(Partner, left, partner, up) x2; 4 on the spot} x2

The dance was designed with a dramatic and menacing atmosphere around the folk song.
It was first performed at Rochester Sweeps' Festival in 1996.
The original song has an irregular metre, and has been arranged in patterns of 12 bars to fit the dance moves.

Verse 1
For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam
Ten thousand years I'd travel
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes
For to save her shoes from gravel

Sung chorus; dance on

Still I sing, bonny boys, bonny mad boys
Bedlam boys are bonny
For they all go bare and they live by the air
And they want nor drink nor money

Sung chorus; dancers are still
Band chorus and sticking

Verse 2; Lichfield hey part 1

I went down to Satan's kitchen
For to get me food one morning
And there I got souls piping hot
All on the spit a-turning

Sung chorus; dancers are still
Band chorus and sticking

Verse 3; Lichfield hey part 2

There I picked up a cauldron
Where boiled ten thousand harlots
And full of blame I drank the same
To the health of all such varlets

Sung chorus; dancers are still
Band chorus and sticking

Verse 4; Rats (could this have stellar significance?)

My staff has murdered giants
My bag a long knife carries
For to cut mince pies from children's thighs
With which to feed the fairies

Sung chorus; dancers are still
Band chorus and sticking

Verse 5; Circular hey

And when that I was murdered
By the man in the moon to a powder
His staff I'll break and his leg I'll shake
And allow no demon louder

Sung chorus; charge off

This dance is entirely original and has, a far as we know,  no connection with the one attributed to the excellent Shropshire Bedlam

Acting partly on the belief that all performance needs light and shade - and some of ours don't have - we think we've created something with patches of real darkness. Actually the band don't have to learn the entire tune, just the chorus. They are encouraged to "roll their eyes wildly and gyrate moste lewdly" although there's nothing new about that. The musical accolade must go to our two female solo singists who (one or other of them) carry the awful responsibility of providing the only continuous thread of music right through the dance entirely without melodic accompaniment. An undertaking which they discharge with considerable aplomb.

I don't know where the tune comes from - I don't doubt someone will tell me pretty soon.

On his web page Jeff Lee  quotes an extensive 1701 version of the song Mad Maudlin, very closely related to ours. He dates its source as 1656.

Format ABB (A and first B sung solo, unaccompanied second B instrumental) Key Em

download midi file