Today's tune is brought to you by Alex K Roots, who's been studying a bit of Aboriginal culture at uni, which in turn has inspired this song of the day.
I've heard Kev Carmody described as Australia's answer to Bob Dylan, and most certainly there are similarities in the structure and feel to his songs; but Carmody has something that Dylan never had and that is a cause - there is no confusion about the message in this song; it's 1989 and only a year after White Australia celebrated the bicentenary of European arrival on Australian shores, Aboriginal people are fighting for recognition of their place in Australia's history. The Mabo decision is but 3 years away, and in Australia 'times are a changing', Land Rights are becoming a topic of great debate and through music Indigenous Australians are finding a strong voice.
In this song Carmody addresses the hypocrisy of the so called 'civilising process', invoking the Christian commandment 'thou shalt not steel' to simultaneously attack the Church for it's role in the institutionalisation of Aboriginal children, as well as to draw attention to the dispossession of Aboriginal lands under the British Empire's so called Terra Nullius doctrine.
Thou Shalt Not Steal is delivered through a folk medium with an apparent air of the injustice and suffering found in much of the early 20th century downtrodden Mississippi blues. There is no self pity in Carmody's tone however, and the accompanying video powerfully re-enforces his message managing to capture the timeless essence of Rock and Roll by delivering a great big F**k You to the establishment....