Live from the redwood timber wars of Northern California... Judi Bari was a key rabble rouser in the battle to save the forests of the Pacific Northwest... Long-time supporter Jello Biafra talks about her on his I Blow Minds For A Living album. Hear the late Earth First! organizer and activist in her own powerful, provocative, and inspirational words. Find out why both King Timber and the F.B.I. wanted her kept quiet. Who did bomb Judi Bari? Ask the FBI.
JELLO BIAFRA : "Judi may be the most powerful public speaker I have ever seen. Her in-your-face charisma and enthusiasm made the impossible possible, doable and crucial enough to do right now. Her razor-sharp sense of humor cut through icebergs of bullshit on any and all sides.
She taught us how important it is to understand that there is more than one side. Her labor organizing background allowed her to see loggers and millworkers as potential allies, instead of dismissing them as ignorant rednecks.
Judi is far more than a local figure in a local battle, she was such an effective activist and dynamo of woman-power that it's easy to overlook that she was a great spoken-word artist.
I wanted to release this album, with her blessing, so that others could feel her energy and gain strength from her words and her spirit.
In an age of no heroes she is someone to respect and admire. I will always miss her."
Before she died in 1997 of breast cancer, Judi Bari was northern California's most vocal defender of coastal Redwoods, a famous Earth First! member, relentless environmental activist and powerful public speaker. Alternative Tentacles had released this 72-minute tribute to Bari, a compilation of radio interviews, rally speeches and news broadcasts, that draws its name from the unclaimed 1990 Oakland carbomb that almost killed Bari and her friend Darryl Cherney. The disc is a fitting memorial to a life of activism; always breathless, always upbeat, Bari embodies the Green Movement's tight focus and undaunted spirit, speaking deftly about everything from the ineptitude of the FBI's bombing investigation to lumber companies' greed and the difficulty of organizing timber workers. Her brushes with governmental agencies are chilling, her work to rally forest supporters heroic. Woven among the spoken-word cuts are several bluegrassy folk songs
- "Redwood Summer," "FBI Stole My Fiddle" - that perfectly fit into Bari's biography. Toward the disc's end Bari talks candidly about her cancer and about coming to terms with death; Cherney closes it with the title track. What we're left with is the voice of a courageous woman, a proud leftist, an unapologetic defender of the earth. May Judi Bari's ideals survive as long as the words she has spoken. (Collin Berry, Magnet)
A stirring docu-disc chronicling the career of the celebrated labor-unionist, feminist and Earth First! leader, Who bombed Judy Bari? features 23 tracks of rousing speeches, protest songs and radio clips culled from hundreds of hours of tape. On May 24, 1990, Bari was the victim of a car bomb that crippled her for life. The FBI, adding insult to injury, tried to frame her for the tragedy, insisting that a concealed bomb of her own was responsible for the explosion. Nearly seven years later, still battling the Feds, Judy Bari died of breast cancer. This disc is a living breathing testimony to her spirit. Bari speaks and sings throughout with the passion, intelligence, wit and biting humor that made her indispensable to the Earth First! movement. This one belongs in the libraries. (Kris Michaud, Montreal McGill Tribune - October 97)
Spoken-word albums tend to be novelties, usually heard once or twice and then filed away until you need something to spice up that mix tape you're making for your friend. But one advantage of releasing them is that they can bring political information to people who wouldn't seek it our otherwise. Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, no stranger to spoken word, has just released discs from two different prominent leftists: Death Row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and Earth First!er Judi Bari. Abu-Jamal has been a cause celebre for liberals of all shades, and listening to this disc, it's easy to hear why. Abu-Jamal's voice is powerful and eloquent, serving him well as he levels reasoned critiques against and inherently racist society. One surprising omission on this disc (originally recorded for National Public Radio) is coverage of the details of his case. The material he does cover has all been said before, but not with this much innate charisma backing it.
The four Man Is The Bastard tracks are heavy, angry, and blunt, and should provide a good incentive to get hardcore kids to buy the album. The less celebrated Judi Bari, who died of cancer last spring, was an organizer for Earth First! She was also a folk-singer and a good conversationalist. While Abu-Jamal's speeches sound somewhat rehearsed, Bari's sound easy and off-the-cuff, discussing the problems of the logging industry, the government which allows them to get away with it, and the bombing incident after which the disc is named. More importantly, she talks about the importance of working with loggers instead of taking the middle-class eco-liberal high road and damning the lot of them. Both records are provocative, but Bari's comes off more natural, more apt to be listened to repeatedly. Whatever the case, both deserve to be heard. (JG, the Onion - v.32no.16)