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Eat the Rich (2022)

for baritone and piano | 00:04:30

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Ozzie Jones

In the American musical tradition, folk songs and protest songs are practically synonymous, from the tunes of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, to the rich legacy of Negro Spirituals, to the music we associate with 20th-century Labor and Civil Rights movements. “Eat the Rich” draws stylistically from the Great American Songbook and is inspired directly by the joyously subversive work of singer-songwriters such as Woodie Guthrie and jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron, with lyrics by Ozzie Jones that slyly critique the excesses of our 21st-century New Gilded Age. The phrase “eat the rich” was first attributed to political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau during the French Revolution, whose ideas during the Enlightenment paralleled those of America’s Founding Fathers.

There was a time
When the dream of every dreamer
Was to be a millionaire

To have fast Italian sports cars
Beach front property
And silken underwear

But just like flesh
Every dream fades away
The sun rises from the dark
To face a brand-new day
Oh Lord I pray

Make me a billionaire
Oh Lord, oh Lord I pray
Make me a billionaire, oh lord
Lord, oh Lord I pray
Nowadays any pauper from the ghetto
Can go to Mexico in June
But Lord, I want to sip coffee beans in Panama
Then fly private to the moon

Make me a billionaire
Oh Lord, oh Lord I pray
Make me a billionaire, oh lord
Lord, oh Lord I pray

I’ve been to Monte Carlo
And played roulette in her bars
Now I want to drink old-fashioneds
On an ancient beach on Mars

Look around my friends
Let us not be naïve
The writing is on the walls
Let’s not all be deceived

The leftist rabble hates us
They lust to eat the rich
They want to rip off our hair plugs
And leave us in a shallow ditch

A few million bucks won’t cut it
A hundred billion will make us safe
So next time the cavemen storm the gates
We'll all be in outer space

Make me a billionaire
Oh Lord, oh Lord I pray
Make me a billionaire, oh lord
Lord, oh Lord I pray

—Ozzie Jones

Artwork by Hannah Dunn


Performances

  • 10 Apr, 2022: Jean Bernard Cerin at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • 09 Apr, 2022: Jean Bernard Cerin at The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA