Singing the blues for Mother Earth

Where We Live, Benefit CD for Earthjustice
Where We Live, Benefit CD for Earthjustice
Where We Live, Benefit CD for Earthjustice (Higher Octave Music, 2003)

Musicians have proven time and time again their compassion by recording benefit albums or performing at benefit concerts. We have seen several compilation releases aimed at humanitarian causes in 2003, including Drop the Debt, Planet SOS and now a benefit CD for the non-profit organization Earthjustice, Where We Live which orchestrates a campaign for the universal right to clean air and clean water. The compilation boasts an array of well-known artists performing mostly blues and gospel tunes including, Norah Jones, Pops Staples with Ry Cooder, Maria Muldaur with Bonnie Raitt, Mose Allison, Tina Turner with Robert Cray, Bob Dylan and John Hammond with Tom Waits. However, this doesn’t surprises me since 2003 was both the year of the blues and a time of planetary awareness.

According to the press release, “In the United States alone, more than 70,000 people die of air pollution, and 40% of the nation’s waterways do not meet basic water quality standards.” It’s much worse in other regions in the world because in other parts of the world, you would be fortunate to find drinkable water. And in Cairo or Mexico City, clean air would be a high price commodity. However, as we all know, we can only tackle one problem at a time. Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to preserving wildlife and defending the rights of all people so that we can live on an ecologically sound planet.

I find this compilation enjoyable and I believe that protecting the planet is the best cause of all. Norah Jones delivers the soulful Peace. Pop Staples along with Ry Cooder (on slide guitar) contribute the rousing gospel blues tune, I Shall Not Be Moved. Los Lobos honor the earth and the late Marvin Gaye with their rendition of What’s Going On? (a song that never fails to bring tears to my eyes) and Bob Dylan proves he’s still in top form, performing a honky-tonk tune, Watch the River Flow.

While many of the songs fall into the blues and gospel genres,Rubén Blades croons the sexy Latino Estampa, Willie Nelson a country western song, Living in the Promised Land. Sweet Honey in the Rock delivers a traditional a
cappella song, More Than a Paycheck and Captain Beefheart performs his zany Happy Earthday. Most of the songs that appear on the CD are familiar covers and songs that provoke an emotional response. And certainly it is well worth your time to pick up this CD and support a good cause.

But for those of you who realize that every individual effort makes a difference in promoting sustainability, you can go many steps further in achieving this goal by doing one or more of the following suggestions:

Consume less meat or go vegetarian
Stop supporting the tobacco industry (do not smoke)
Use natural cleaners in your home and business
Eat organic foods & support organic farms
Drive your car less & seek alternative forms of transportation
Don’t buy or wear clothing manufactured from petroleum products
And elect progressive leaders that will protect the environment
Give your support to green businesses and corporations
Use your power as a consumer
Use your power as a compassionate human being
Invest your money with green companies

And for now consider the Native American adage of protecting the environment for the next seven generations (including animal and plant life). In the meantime, support good causes and join the musicians on Where We Live in preserving Mother Earth and celebrating the musical treasures presented on this CD.

CD Tracks:

1. Norah Jones, Peace
2. Pops Staples with Ry Cooder, I Shall Not Be Moved
3. Los Lobos, What’s Going On?
4. Bob Dylan, Watching The River Flow
5. Maria Muldaur with Bonnie Raitt, It’s A Blessing
6. Rubèn Blades, Estampa
7. What A Wonderful World, Dan Zanes with Lou Reed and The Rubi Theater Company
8. Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yes I Will
9. Willie Nelson, Living In The Promised Land
10. The Neville Brothers, Sister Rosa
11. Sweet Honey In The Rock, More Than Just A Paycheck
12. Karen Savoca, Two Little Feet
13. Mose Allison, Getting There
14. Tina Turner with Robert Cray, A Change Is Gonna Come
15. John Hammond with Tom Waits, I Know I’ve Been Changed
16. Happy Earthday, Captain Beefheart