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Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's tune is a fabulously wacky, jazzy version of the old Anglo/Scots/Irish folk song "Mad Tom of Bedlam," performed by the New-York-based singer Charlene Kaye (with thanks to Amal El-Mohtar for the link).

This is, by the way, one of the videos featured on the Music page of the new website for the Bordertown Series. (And just to loop everything in this post together, Amal is one of the writers in the new Bordertown book.) My brief for creating the Bordertown Music page was to chose musicians and bands who would go down well with the kids of Bordertown -- largely (but not exclusively) musicians who use traditional music (Celtic, Gypsy, Klezmer, Latin, etc.) in unusual and contemporary ways. It was hard to chose just a few videos -- I've probably overloaded the page with too many already! -- and no doubt other Bordertown readers would make entirely different selections. Please feel free to give us your own Bordertown play list, or to let us know what deserving bands we've overlooked, in the Comments section of the Bordertown Music page.

Getting back to "Mad Tom of Bedlam" (aka "Bedlam Boys"), Irish singer Heidi Talbot has also recorded a good version of the song, which is far more traditional in her rendering. In the video below, she performs it along with two other distinguished folkies, Kris Drever and John McCusker.

I'll end today with two more versions of the tune, the first from Scotland's Old Blind Dogs. The second is the old, now-classic version by the English roots band Steeleye Span.