This Band Is Sick

by Steve White & The Protest Family

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about

The media are lying to you. They're telling you that the era of the protest song is over. They're telling you that folk music is what Mumford & Sons do; cuddly, commodified, unchallenging and sanctioned by the Prime Minister, no less.

They are wrong.

Steve White & The Protest Family are East London's favourite folk punk political sing-along band. We may not be safe enough for the major labels, but we've definitely got something to say, and we're going to say it, with wit, a certain brash charm, guitars, banjos, mandolins and, dare we say it,
moments of four-part harmony. Ours is a revolution that'll have you tapping your foot and smiling from ear-to-ear. Thinking too, if we have our way.

Led by Steve, whose unplugged sessions have become something of a feature of the Tolpuddle Festival in recent years, the band features Funky Lol Ross on mandolin and electric guitar, and veteran of the East London music scene, Doug E Harper on bass. Meanwhile banjo duties fall to award-winning player and co-ordinator of the renowned Walthamstow Folk Club, Russ Chandler. Folk who've heard us make comparisons with Billy Bragg, Ian Dury and even The Clash.

This Band Is Sick is the band's second studio album and the first time that we've worked with Steve Honest at Hackney Road, bringing some polish to the production without knocking off the rough edges that make the band what we are. The songs were written over a two-year period that saw the band playing extensively in London and beyond, including opening for Mercury Prize winners The Young Fathers at ULU and appearing at the Music For A New Revolution Festival celebrating Derry/Londonderry's year as the UK's City of Culture.

The songs themselves are all tales of modern times, from the story of the day the EDL went to Walthamstow to be seen off by thousands of locals not keen to have the racists amongst them, to the Mayor of London's intransigence over London Underground ticket offices closures (Bad Day For Bojo), to the surprisingly tender treatment of the death of Isobel Jones-Reilly. Although crafted around the band's East London base of Walthamstow, the songs really are about everybody, and everybody's struggle. There are as many solutions posed in the songs as problems, and a definite call-to-arms. There's even a reworking of Florence Reece's Which Side Are You On? The careful listener may even notice that we're are all supporters of Leyton Orient Football Club.

Physical copies on CD are available at gigs and from our favourite retailers Four Dogs Music and Bookmarks The Socialist Bookshop If you're waiting for an Amazon or iTunes release, don't. We don't support corporate tax dodgers or companies that exploit workers on zero-hours contracts.

No kazoos were harmed during the making of this recording but that wasn't for the want of trying.

www.fourdogsmusic.co.uk
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credits

released October 13, 2014

Steve White - guitar, irish bouzouki, harmonica, vocals
Doug E Harper - bass, vocals
Russ Chandler - award-winning banjo, vocals
Funky Lol Ross - mandolin, guitars, violin, piano, vocals

All songs except 10 written by Steve White and all songs arranged by Steve White & The Protest Family. Recorded by Steve Honest at Hackney Road and produced by Steve Honest and Steve White & The Protest Family.

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Steve White & The Protest Family UK

" Local folk-punk hero's Steve White & The Protest Family who are rapidly acquiring a reputation as one of the best bands to come out of East London for a generation. With lots of swearing" - Walthamstow Folk

"This music should be textbook 101 for all alternative folk practitioners..." - Prosity Records

"The King Blues for grown-ups" - Anon
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Track Name: No Pasaran In E17
It's No Pasaran in E17
The EDL came but they wish they'd never been
Cos we took Bell Corner and they didn't pass
You can stick your racist hatred up your arse

Their plans to get to Walthamstow were laid in vain
When RMT members wouldn't let them on the train
So it's “chapeau” to Comrade Crow
And they got a police escort to Blackhorse Road

Across police lines to the town hall
We found Little Tommy and Kevin Carroll
But their mates never made, we were many they were few
Wetting their knickers in Farnan Avenue

They got no platform here, cos we said “No way”
The coppers turned 'em round and made 'em go away
They threatened to come back, but they won't say when
If they show their faces round here, well they'll see us all again
Track Name: Do Something About It
You might hate the Tories
They don't know what being poor is
And a band in our position
Also hates the coalition
We know if you were us
You'd say they're not fit for purpose
But you know what we're gonna say
Yeah you know what we're gonna say.......

What?

We've got to

Do something about it (Yeah we've got to)
Do something about it (It's time to)
Do something about it (C'mon let's)
Do something...........about it

You know that there's a war on
And you know that it's wrong
And we bet that you hate
The death of the welfare state
But you know what the worst is
The killing of the Health Service
But you know what we're gonna say
Yeah you know what we're gonna say.......

What?

We've got to

Do something about it (Yeah we've got to)
Do something about it (It's time to)
Do something about it (C'mon let's)
Do something...........about it

So before you ask the question
We're gonna make a suggestion

Talk to your neighbours, those closest to you
You never know they might feel like you do
Talk to them at work, talk to them at home
Talk face-to-face and talk on the phone
Send 'em an email, write a newsletter
Organise a meeting, that would be even better
Cos if you really want to have a revolution
Everybody needs to make a contribution

Talk to Attila, he'll tell you about Stalin
But don't talk to Cliff, he'll just tell you 'bout Hank Marvin
Talk to Thee Faction about GDH Cole
Talk to Chuck Berry but it's only Rock 'n' Roll
Talk to Billy Bragg, the activist
But David Rovics is a better anarchist
Cos if you really want to have a revolution
Everybody needs to make a contribution

Talk to your comrades in the SWP
Your brothers and sisters in the Labour Party
Stand shoulder to shoulder with the TUSC
Man the barricades with the CPGB
And don't forget the anarchists too
Cos they all want the same things as you
And if you really want to have a revolution
Everybody needs to make a contribution


So that's what we're gonna say
You've heard what we're gonna say
Yeah that's what we're gonna say.......

What?

We've got to

Do something about it (Yeah we've got to)
Do something about it (It's time to)
Do something about it (C'mon let's)
Do something.......do something......about it
Track Name: Home Rule For Awesomestow
We want home rule for Awesomestow
Home rule for Awesomestow
We want places to go where the others don't know
We want home rule for Awesomestow

We love our MP, she defends our class
Makes tea and cake whenever we ask
Hates payday lenders, loves women on the money
Doesn't think Funky Lol's picket line is funny
What does she want the Labour Party to know?
She wants home rule for Awesomestow

We've got a farmers' market for our comestibles
Allotments to grow our own vegetables
A theatre pub and the gallery's exceptional
We've even got our own music festival
We've got the whole world in Orford Road
We want home rule for Awesomestow

We want home rule for Awesomestow
Home rule for Awesomestow
We want places to go where the others don't know
We want home rule for Awesomestow

We've got our own hashtag that Doug invented
Street mattresses are over-represented
We're getting our own hipster affectation
We've even got house price hyperinflation
Estate agents with hearts aglow
They want home rule for Awesomestow

We've got dogs in the pubs, we've got buggies in the pubs
We've got coffees in the pubs, we've got mummies in the pubs
We've got pizza in the pubs, we've got creches in the pubs
They're knitting in the pubs while we're sitting in the pubs
So what do we want with our nice Bordeaux?
We want home rule for Awesomestow

We want home rule for Awesomestow
Home rule for Awesomestow
We want places to go where the others don't know
We want home rule for Awesomestow

I met my new neighbour, he said 'See ya later'
'I'm not stopping long, I'm a speculator'
'I'm looking for a neighbourhood that's gone downhill'
'That I can tart up for the Stokey overspill'
The bank says 'yes' but the people say 'no'
They want home rule for Awesomestow

We want home rule for Awesomestow
Home rule for Awesomestow
We want places to go where the others don't know
We want home rule for Awesomestow

Well I don't dig middle class aspiration
And I don't dig gentrification
But it's easy to dig, and I dig William Morris
And I'm a proud member of We Are Waltham Forest
So if you turn up in numbers and tell the fash where to go
You'll get home rule for Walthamstow

We want home rule for Walthamstow
Home rule for Walthamstow
We want places to go where the others don't know
We want home rule for Walthamstow
Home rule for Walthamstow
Home rule for Walthamstow
Track Name: Ecstasy Death Girl
Isobel ain't got a name
Just the Ecstasy Death Girl
Only 15 it's a terrible shame
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl
No accident, the internet's to blame
For the Ecstasy Death Girl

Dehumanised by the Daily Mail
Assumptions and lies for a newspaper sale
It's a modern world fail, a tabloid tale
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl

A made-up story 'bout internet addiction
And the Ecstasy Death Girl
Have a go at the MySpace generation
And the Ecstasy Death Girl
Don't matter that it's almost a work of fiction
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl

It's open season at the Daily Mail
Middle England prejudices always prevail
It's long on opinion, short on detail
Trot out your stale morality tale
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl

Don't let the truth stop a good story
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl
A friend of a friend, well who else would your source be?
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl
Your shabby headline's a memento mori
For the Ecstasy Death Girl

And if you need a moral to this tragic tale
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl
It's this: Never buy the Daily Mail
And read Ecstasy Death Girl
They're misery vultures
With celebrity cultures
And a made-up tale
'Bout the Ecstasy Death Girl
Track Name: Smash It Up (And Start Again)
Smash it up and start again

Is drinking diet coke any better than the real thing?
Does it come with fewer murders, less sharp practice, less kidnapping?
And if pornography is to sex what McDonalds is to food
You'll understand that talk of Olympic sponsors doesn't put me
In a very good mood.

Smash it up and start again

The press are all the same, they say capital is the only game in town
So stop listening to Today, put your Daily Mail away and put that red top down
Try watching Reel News or reading Indymedia
Because there is an alternative, we just need
People to hear

Smash it up and start again

Try confiscating every fortune over 10 million pounds
We could pay off all the debt, cure world hunger, if we shared it all around
It's what Bono wanted to do
But he didn't have a clue
That actually we'd use pretty much all
Of his money too

Smash it up and start again

The banks crashed, the economy mashed, but that was several years ago
You predicted I recall, capitalism would fall, but we kept the status quo
We should invest in the people
Not in their bosses
And make it illegal
To profit from their losses
So smash it up and start again
The benefit of hand and brain
Belongs to us all

Smash it up and start again
Track Name: Bad Day For Bojo
Mayor Johnson is not a man
Who cares much for promises
Or for ticket offices
Or passengers or staff
He wants to axe a thousand jobs
A thousand livelihoods he'll rob
While ruffling his hair
Oh my, he's such a laugh

But it's a bad day for Bojo
It's a good day for Bob Crow
The Underground workers have all gone on strike
It's a good day for Bob Crow
it's a bad day for Bozo
He'd best get on his Bollocks Barclays Bike

He wants to close the ticket office
I read it in the Daily Boris
Replace it with a Costa Coffee
He must be off his head
And he's attacked the workers' right
To say 'enough' and go on strike
Let's have a ballot
About the mayor instead

Cos it's a bad day for Bojo
It's a good day for Bob Crow
The Underground workers have all gone on strike
It's a good day for Bob Crow
it's a bad day for Bozo
He'd best get on his Bollocks Barclays Bike

There's a moral to this story
And it's one we've told before
If you vote for someone funny
They'll act above the law
So if you think the mayor is crazy
You wanna ride the tube in safety
Join a picket line
And show Bozo the door

Cos it's a bad day for Bojo
It's a good day for Bob Crow
The Underground workers have all gone on strike
It's a good day for Bob Crow
it's a bad day for Bozo
He'd best get on his Bollocks Barclays Bike
Track Name: Funky Lol's Picket Line
On Funky Lol's picket line it could;ve been warmer
I knew I should've brought me coat
And as for Stella well we tried to warn her
Now she's really got the goat

Stella should've known better, spoke to the wrong fella
Said it would be over by teatime
But you know a strike's all day
When you're losing a day's pay
So we'll see you on Funky Lol's picket line

It's got Funky Lol on it
Neil Gerrard wouldn't cross it
Some people did and noe their faces are red
Forget your dressed crab
When it's served by a scab
Better go for a curry instead

'Cos it's in the right place, it's at the right time
It's Funky Lol's picket line

Well I've been on loads of pickets, a demo or two
Seems we're protesting all of the time
But I've never been anywhere I should've been more
Than on Funky Lol's picket line

And don't forget Darren standing his ground
Chatting to the drivers, getting them to turn around
You know this story ends up in the Rose & Crown
When Funky Lol's picket finally closed down

'Cos it's in the right place, it's at the right time
It's Funky Lol's picket line

So it's hats off to Unison, the FBU
Hats off to the Chandlers and the UCU
It's a shame Stella had to find somewhere else to dine
But you can't cross Funky Lol's picket line

'Cos it's in the right place, it's at the right time
It's Funky Lol's picket line

It's got Funky Lol on it
Neil Gerrard wouldn't cross it
Some people did and noe their faces are red
Forget your dressed crab
When it's served by a scab
Better go for a curry instead

'Cos it's in the right place, it's at the right time
It's Funky Lol's picket line
Track Name: Never Mind Your Bollocks
If it turns out you're one of the 1%,
Trust me you wanna know early
You don't want it big, you don't want it clever,
It's as manly as it is girly
And if you think I'm talking 'bout the stinking rich,
You just better think again
'Cos if it happens to your aunt and it happens to your nan,
It also happens to men

Self-examination is good
Doing it with friends can be more rewarding
But if you ain't in the mood
Just have a quick feel, it ain't worth ignoring

Man boobs are in the news
In the mags and on the telly
How to get rid of your muffin top
Take an inch off your Christmas belly
Here's some exercises you can do at home
But a quick grope's much more fun
And if you find a lump's giving you the hump
It's off to the quack's my son

Self-examination is good
Doing it with friends can be more rewarding
But if you ain't in the mood
Just have a quick feel, it ain't worth ignoring

Maybe you worked in a steel mill
Maybe you're exposed to radiation
Maybe it's family history
Could even be a genetic mutation
You've probably got too much oestrogen
You can catch that from a Big Mac
But it's a great excuse to squeeze your moobs
Get your hands on your own rack

Self-examination is good
Doing it with friends can be more rewarding
But if you ain't in the mood
Just have a quick feel, it ain't worth ignoring
Just have a quick feel, it's never boring
Yeah have a quick feel
You'll still respect yourself in the morning
Track Name: (When An) Anarchist (Helps You Cross The Road)
Handel Case once told us
Many years ago
Jesus was a socialist
The bible tells us so
Do unto others as you would have done to you
It's obvious, but he didn't have a clue
Why when he went to church
Up and down the aisles
Were rows and rows of Tories
Wearing hypocrites' smiles
Robert Tressell might've told him
And the knowledge might've flowed
That it's probably an anarchist
Helping him across the road

So don't be afraid, don't be alarmed
You won't come to no harm
Don't be surprised, don't be blowed
When an anarchist helps you cross the road

And never mind the bankers
'Cos they've read Hobbes
And they're earning bonuses
While we're losing jobs
Adam Smith said the market is all that you need
It's obvious, but it relies on greed
If you believe what's right
If you believe what's fair
You don't want the government taking your share
Don't buy anything tomorrow
Erase your barcode
Don't be surprised when an anarchist
Helps you across the road

So don't be afraid, don't be alarmed
You won't come to no harm
Don't be surprised, don't be blowed
When an anarchist helps you cross the road

He wants to smash the system
But a window will do
He understands the revolution
May take a day or two
Altruism can't compete with exploitation
It's obvious, but it's a capitalist nation
The haves tell the have-nots what to do
Is the ballot box enough for you?
Sit back and watch the fireworks
Watch parliament explode
And then wait for an anarchist
To help you across the road

So don't be afraid, don't be alarmed
You won't come to no harm
Don't be surprised, don't be blowed
When an anarchist helps you cross the road
Track Name: Which Side Are You On?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

The rich preach of austerity
Of economic plan
They want to turn the working man
Against the working man

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

They're selling off the hospitals
Selling of the schools
Selling what was held in common
Taking us for fools

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

Don't scab for the bosses,
Don't listen to their lies.
Us poor folks ain't got a chance
Unless we organise.

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

I'm on the side of the unions, on the side of the strikers
On the side of the bloggers and the protest song writers
On the side of the disabled, fighting against ATOS
On the side of the worker, not the side of the boss
I'm on the side of the sick and the benefits claimants
And the folk who can't afford their Wonga repayments
I'm on the side of the kids on zero hours contracts
On the side of council workers who had their jobs axed
On the side of Uncut, I'm on the side of Occupy
It's rich versus poor if you just open your eyes
I hear people say that a change is gonna come
So ask yourself which side are you on

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?