Song of the Day, December 19: The Angels Took My Racehorse Away by Richard Thompson

RTRacehorseToday’s song is The Angels Took My Racehorse Away by Richard Thompson. After leaving Fairport Convention, Thompson did some side work and collaborative projects before releasing his first solo album. That disc, starring as Henry the Human Fly, is notorious for its poor sales but stands as one of the strongest in his long, stellar career. Distinctly English in its themes, it provides a wonderful set of modern folk songs that create a picture of a country torn between its traditions of agriculture, industry, independence, and Empire.

Thompson also has a lot of fun on the album, something that often gets lost even on his best work. Angels is a great example. It’s a simple story song — an unlucky gambler finally finds the perfect horse, only to have her die just before he can win big. He milks the pathos but frames it with a very human touch, allowing the listener to feel sympathy even as the lyrics go over the top.

She won the Lanark Silver Bell and she stole every heart away
She stood her stand at sixteen hands and I’d ride her easy
But they’ve taken her away, they’ve taken my racehorse away

Enjoy this delightful song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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