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“Budget Reply (Hey Joe)” by Les Thomas is Australia’s first musical response to Joe Hockey’s deeply unpopular 2014 Budget. The song is a direct and witty protest against cuts targeted at the young, the unemployed, the elderly, Indigenous programs, Medicare, education, science and the environment, all with a catchy earworm of a chorus.
The release is especially timely with polls showing three out of four Australians feel they will be worse off under the Budget. Tens of thousands have protested in cities around the country more than a month after it was delivered, so the message is sure to resonate.
“The worst thing about the budget is that it targets the most vulnerable,” says Les Thomas. “This song is part of the groundswell and growing campaign to say no Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and their small-minded, brutal and heartless budget.”
Thomas has already performed the song at a number of rallies and events in Melbourne. Thanks to fellow musicians and producer Siew at Red Door Sounds in Collingwood, there’s been no shortage of very talented people willing to dedicate their time and energy.
Backing musicians include Justin Bernasconi
(The Stillsons) on lead guitar, Mandy Connell on backing vocals, Barnaby Gold on drums, Tony Bonnici (The Prairie Oysters) on bass and Sam Melamed on Hammond organ.
Previous releases from Les Thomas include the single “Song for Selva” (June, 2013) and his debut album Survivor’s Tale (November 9, 2013), both recorded with Jeff Lang.
Plans are in progress for a music video directed by Agostino Soldati to follow soon.
Words and music by Les Thomas
Someone switch on the lights and butt out those cigars
Cos it’s like we’ve been hit and we’re still seeing stars
Saw the train coming but the wreck’s still a shock
Instead of looking to the future here they turn back the clock
So the age of entitlement’s come to an end
Unless you’re one of their billionaire friends
Too bad if you’re sick, or too old or too young
When the age of cruelty’s just begun
My doctor took an oath to do no harm
So why do you insist they take a leg and an arm?
Truth be told, they’d rather let us bleed
An emergency indeed
Don’t tell me white Australia’s a thing of the past
When it’s plain they still put first people last
With no respect for the sacred ground
Their ‘sorry’ leaves a hollow sound
You say a windmill offends you, what they hell are you smoking?
Must be all that cheap coal in the stogie you’re toking
Fact is, there’s just one world to spare
And if you trash it we’ll be going nowhere
With knowledge and science both under attack
How many centuries will you send us back?
Not all of us were born with a silver spoon
So we’d better speak loud and soon
Recorded and mixed at Red Door Sounds, Collingwood by Sam Melamed and Daniel Caswell in 2014.
Mastered by Adam Dempsey at Deluxe Mastering, Brunswick.
Performed by Les Thomas: vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, electric guitar, tambourine; Justin Bernasconi: lead guitar; Sam Melamed: organ; Barnaby Gold: drums, Tony Bonnici: bass and Mandy Connell: backing vocals.
Artwork by Les Thomas.
Special thanks to all who donated their time, talent and expertise.
With full acknowledgement and respect to the traditional owners of the land on which this work was created, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. firstname.lastname@example.org
PO BOX 477 Clifton Hill VIC 3068