Buffy Sainte-Marie – It’s My Way! (1964)

LPFrontCover1It’s My Way! is the first album by folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie. Though the album did not chart it proved influential in the folk community. It is most famous for two widely covered folk standards, “Universal Soldier” and “Cod’ine”, as well as “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”, a lament about the continued confiscation of Indian lands, as evidenced by the building of the Kinzua Dam in about 1964. The cover features a mouthbow, which was to be a trademark of her sound on her first three albums.

Cod’ine was also lyrically altered by Janis Joplin and appears on This is Janis Joplin 1965.

In 2016, It’s My Way! was inducted by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry. (by wikipedia)


This is one of the most scathing topical folk albums ever made. Sainte-Marie sings in an emotional, vibrato-laden voice of war (“The Universal Soldier,” later a hit for Donovan), drugs (“Cod’ine”), sex (“The Incest Song”), and most telling, the mistreatment of Native Americans, of which Sainte-Marie is one (“Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”). Even decades later, the album’s power is moving and disturbing. (by William Ruhlmann)

Buffy is a master of capturing you in and holding you till shes done with you. You just can’t stop listening. Her music is hypnotic. Pure, unselfish, unashamed and poignant. No Sainte-Marie03one sings like her. She’s a jewel that changes the world without the world knowing it’s being redirected by her magic. Believe me, if she wasn’t there all this time, things would be so much worse all over the world. Music is magic and a talent this large is mystically infused into the cosmos which effect us all. Outragious! (Richard S. Lodato)

It’s My Way is both noteworthy for her 1960’s songs illustrating the plight of Native Americans, and as being highly talented innovator of western European folk tradition and one of the first cultural fusion musicians. Often accompanying herself on a bow-harp, at other times with rich instrumental backup, her music is sometimes eerie, always uncompromising. (by JE Farrow)

Buffy Sainte-Marie was blacklisted by Presidents Johnson and Nixon because of the power of her ability to move peoples’ hearts!


Buffy Sainte-Marie in 2018

Buffy Sainte-Marie (vocals, guitar)
Art Davis (bass on 01.)
Patrick Sky (guitar on 09.)

01. Now That The Buffalo’s Gone (Sainte-Marie) 2.51
02. The Old Man’s Lament (Sainte-Marie) 4.02
03. Ananias (Traditional) 2.40
04. Mayoo Sto Hoon (Sainte-Marie) 1.25
05. Cod’ine (Sainte-Marie) 5.07
06. Cripple Creek (Traditional) 1.50
07. The Universal Soldier (Sainte-Marie) 2.20
08. Babe In Arms (Sainte-Marie) 2.35
09. He Lived Alone In Town (Sainte-Marie) 4.42
10. You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond (Traditional) 2.50
11. The Incest Song (Sainte-Marie) 4.19
12. Eyes Of Amber (Sainte-Marie)  2.21
13. It’s My Way (Sainte-Marie) 3.33



He’s five foot-two, and he’s six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He’a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn’t kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he’s fighting for Canada,
He’s fighting for France,
He’s fighting for the USA,
And he’s fighting for the Russians,
And he’s fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And he’s fighting for Democracy,
He’s fighting for the Reds,
He says it’s for the peace of all.
He’s the one who must decide,
Who’s to live and who’s to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned them at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He’s the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can’t go on.

He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can’t you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.


Still alive and well: Her website in 2019

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Fire & Fleet & Candlelight (1967)

OriginalFrontCover1Fire & Fleet & Candlelight is the fourth album by Cree singer and songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

More than its predecessor Little Wheel Spin and Spin, it marked a significant departure from the simple folk songs of her first two albums. Following the same path that Joan Baez and Judy Collins were taking at the time, Sainte-Marie relies on the orchestration of Peter Schickele on “Summer Boy”, “The Carousel” and “Hey Little Bird”. In contrast, “The Circle Game” and “97 Men in This Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down” feature for the first time a full rock band consisting of Bruce Langhorne on electric guitar, Alexis Rogers on drums and Russ Savakus on bass. “Song to a Seagull”, the other Joni Mitchell song, is a much simpler voice-and-guitar rendition.

Her version of the traditional hymn “Lyke Wake Dirge” predates the version by Pentangle by over two years and the album’s title is taken from one of the lines in that song’s chorus. “T’Es Pas un Autre” is a French language reworking of her well-known composition “Until It’s Time for You to Go” that she originally recorded on her second album Many a Mile.


Fire & Fleet & Candlelight was ridiculously over-eclectic, so much so that it comes as a surprise when the 14 songs have finished to find that the total length of the album is a mere 37 minutes. That doesn’t mean there’s not some worthy material, but the arrangements and material are all over the place. Variety is a good thing, but only when the quality is extremely consistent, and this 1967 album is erratic. “The Seeds of Brotherhood” is so in line with the kind of utopian singalong common to the folk revival that it inadvertently sounds like a parody of itself. Yet songs with orchestral arrangement by Peter Schickele are entirely different, with “Summer Boy” and “The Carousel” going into the Baroque-folk that Judy Collins was mastering during the same era.


Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game” and “Song to a Seagull” both predate Mitchell’s release of her own versions, and “The Circle Game” sounds like Sainte-Marie’s shot at making it into a hit single, with more straightforward pop/rock production than anything else she cut at the time. “Song to a Seagull,” by contrast, is quite close in arrangement and vocal delivery to the treatment Mitchell gave it on her 1968 debut album. Her interpretation of the traditional “Lyke Wake Dirge” verges on the creepy; her cover of Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s “Doggett’s Gap” goes way back to her earliest folk roots, complete with mouth-bow; “97 Men in This Here Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down” is her fling at good-timey rock. There are yet more cuts that catch you off-guard, like the French-language pop reworking of her “Until It’s Time for You to Go”; “Reynardine — A Vampire Legend,” a traditional song with only vocals and mouth-bow; and “Hey, Little Bird,” whose upbeat symphonic pop vaguely foreshadows her songs for Sesame Street. Though not without its rewards, on the whole it’s an unnerving record. (by by Richie Unterberger)


Buffy Sainte-Marie
on “The Circle Game” and “97 Men in This Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down”:

Bruce Langhorne (guitar)
Alexis Rogers (drums)
Russ Savakus (bass)

01. The Seeds Of Brotherhood (Sainte-Marie) 1.28
02. Summer Boy (Sainte-Marie)  2.41
03. The Circle Game (Mitchell) 3.02
04. Lyke Wake Dirge (Britten/Traditional) 3.47
05. Song To A Seagull (Mitchell) 3.22
06. Doggett’s Gap (Lamar/Lunsford) 1.39
07. The Wedding Song (Sainte-Marie) 2.18
08. 97 Men in This Here Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down (Sainte-Marie) 3.07
09. Lord Randall (Traditional) 3.30
10. The Carousel (Sainte-Marie) 2.34
11. T’es Pas un Autre (Sainte-Marie) 2.56
12. Little Boy Dark Eyes (Sainte-Marie) 1.38
13. Reynardine (A Vampire Legend) (Traditional) 2.58
14. Hey Little Bird (Sainte-Marie) 2.13