Songs in the key of life

  Earthjustice is best-known for the free legal services it provides for environmental causes. But its lawyers know how to pick songs as well as witnesses, as the organization’s recently released CD shows. Titled Where We Live, proceeds from the album benefit a campaign for "the universal right to clean air and clean water" that includes more than 50 of Earthjustice’s court cases, ranging from air pollution in California’s San Joaquin Valley to water privatization in Bolivia.

Classics like Bob Dylan’s Watching the River Flow and a Los Lobos cover of the Marvin Gaye standard What’s Going On play well alongside less familiar tracks such as Karen Savoca singing Two Little Feet. Sweet Honey in the Rock offers More than a Paycheck, and its bouncy a cappella style contrasts with stark lyrics about disease and injury among mine workers. Tina Turner provides a powerful version of hange is Gonna Come, and the Neville Brothers contribute homage to civil rights leader Rosa Parks. The album ends fittingly with Captain Beefheart’s Happy Earthday, his first recording in two decades.

These artists aren’t just paying lip service: They were all chosen for their commitment to social and environmental causes. In selecting the music, "the most important thing was to pick songs that really spoke to our overall message of working for a better tomorrow," says Ray Wan, who created the accompanying Where We Live Web site. For more information, see

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