Royal Southern Brotherhood bemoan the state of the world but look hopefully for change to come.
The Royal Southern Brotherhood’s recently released album is a brilliant fusion of blues, soul, southern rock and latin grooves. Band member Devon Allman has called it “amplified soul for the new generation”. Great songs, solid grooves, tasty guitar licks, cool percussion and vocals, the whole album is a treat.
And it’s full of positive vibe as well – New Horizon and All Around the World are stand-out songs in this regard. But in Hurts My Heart, there’s a solid bit of realism about the way the world is. On the one hand,
I see the people livin on the streets
They got nothing to hold on to
Some are crazy, some are just lost…
And on the other:
A man is livin up on the hill
In this mansion made of gold…
Livin’ like there’s no tomorrow
The growing discrepancy between the rich and the poor becomes explicit with:
The rich get rich, the poor get poorer, Don’t you dare cross that line, boy
You stay on your side of the tracks, And I’ll stay on mine.
This is indeed the reality in today’s world. We in Europe and America, despite our economic woes, live in an island of wealth in a great sea of want that is the experience for most of the rest of the world. The numbers are staggering but are absolutely real. 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day – this is what is defined as “extreme global poverty.” Here are some statistics:
- An estimated 30,000 children die each day due to poverty – i.e. 18 children a minute, a child ever 3 seconds.
- Approximately 600 million children live in extreme poverty.
- 67.5 million children are out of school around the world, a figure equivalent to the entire primary school-aged population in Europe and North America.
As a result to the Global Economic Recession, those living in extreme poverty have suffered the most. Recent increases in the price of food and oil have had a direct and adverse effect on communities that were struggling for survival even before the recession hit. The long-term effects of this recession are expected to potentially push millions more into extreme poverty.
When we turn the spotlight back on ourselves, the reality is that the disparity between rich and poor in both the US and the UK has never been greater. According to the OECD, only Turkey and Mexico have more unequal societies than the United States. The idea of the American Dream – to rise from humble origins to become part of the wealthy elite – has become completely outdated as the rich have become richer and the poor more mired in poverty.
Little wonder Royal Southern Brotherhood’s Hurts My Heart concludes with:
It makes me mad, It make me sad
I said Lord it hurts my heart.
But I can say a prayer, baby
And I try to have a little faith
There’s optimism here that things can be better, a theme that’s taken up in All Around the World.
We sing & pray for joy
Holding our hands up and shouting out loud
This world will become one.
Things can be different, there’s room for joy if only “We walk together hand in hand”. We do that and “No man will hold us down”. Things can be different, the rich-poor divide doesn’t have to keep increasing, global poverty can be defeated. But it’s up to us, each one of us to “walk together hand in hand”. There’s lots we can do, from pressurizing our politicians into making humanitarian, not selfish choices, to supporting organizations that work for change at home and abroad, to giving our money to help those in need. We need to turn off our TVs, get off Facebook for a while, open our eyes, see the world the way that it is and begin to ask – what can I do? As Royal Southern Brotherhood say, “Our time has come to take a stand”.
Two thousand years ago, a courageous young man took a stand by setting out a vision of change that didn’t sit well with the political authorities of his day – he said he wanted to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and to set free those who are downtrodden. It got him executed, but it was a vision that has gripped people and grown ever since and in his name and with his resurrection power, people the world over are working and believing to bring real change.
It’s not a time for the faint-hearted. It’s time for us all to grasp the vision of the young prophet of Israel, to stop sitting on the sidelines and to:
Sing & pray for joy, Holding our hands up and shouting out loud
This world will become one.
Feel the joy – Royal Southern Brotherhood with All Around the World