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The New St. George

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 2748 ; Richard Thompson]

The New St. George is a song by Richard Thompson from the period of Albion IV which was sung by Martin Carthy in 1973. Because the band broke up shortly after, the album was shelved and only issued in 1976 as Battle of the Field. The track was closed by the tune La Rotta. It was included in the folk anthologies The Electric Muse and The New Electric Muse. A BBC recording of The New St. George from the Bob Harris Show on 9 May 1973 was included in 1998 on the Albion Band’s album The BBC Sessions and in 2001 on the anthology The Carthy Chronicles.

Karl Dallas wrote in the The Electric Muse notes:

If Britain ever shakes off its malaise, it could well be with this song by Richard Thompson as its anthem. This again is by Albion IV, vocal by Martin Carthy, and has never been issued before. It makes an interesting comparison with Richard’s own version. The play-out instrumental is La Rotta, an Italian dance tune which Pentangle recorded on Sweet Child, and takes its name from the instrument on which it was meant to be played, the harp-like rotta, chrotta, crot, cruit or crwth, sometimes bowed, sometimes plucked, the ancient ancestor of the fiddle (which a violin becomes immediately it gets into the hands of a folk musician), the instrument of the angels and the Celts, supplying an appropriate note on which to end.

Richard Thompson’s own version is on his 1972 record Henry the Human Fly!.

Dave Burland sang The New St George in 1992 on his Road Goes On Forever album of Richard Thompson songs, His Master’s Choice.

The Wilson Family sang The New St George on their 2009 CD A Grey Lock or Two. They noted:

This excellent piece of work emanates from the pen of Richard Thompson based on a Salvation Army standard (more tambourines!). Its brilliance, in many ways, comes down to its brevity and succinctness in its call to action.

This video shows The Wilson Family at Alma Folk Club, Ripponden, in 2011:


Please find the lyrics for this song at Richard Thompson’s website.