Thursday, February 27, 2014

it's my way!

Buffy Sainte-Marie cut her own path with the revelatory folk reflections of her stunning and strident debut.  Born Beverly Sainte-Marie on the Piapot Cree First Nations Reserve in the Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada; she was adopted by her relatives Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie in Wakefield, Massachusetts after being orphaned.  She taught herself to play guitar and piano and began writing songs about her Native American heritage.  As she became involved in the folk scene in coffeehouses in Toronto's old Yorkville district and New York City's Greenwich Village, Sainte-Marie drew the attention of various record companies.  'It's My Way' was produced by Maynard Solomon for Vanguard Records and features Buffy Sainte-Marie on vocals, guitar, and arrangements;    Patrick Sky on guitar on "He Lived Alone in Town"; and Art Davis on bass on "Now That the Buffalo's Gone".  The album did not chart; but it proved to be hugely influential in the peace movement with its politically charged lyrics and unique perspective on Native American issues.  

Sainte-Marie considers:  "When I first got a guitar after a lifetime of self-taught piano playing, I never had anyone to show me how to play guitar. So I made up my own chords in my own tunings, which gave distinct flavour to the music. I had a different tuning for every song at first, or I used a certain tuning for similar songs...My own songs were reviewed as not only intellectually valid but also steeped in real emotion, and few singers/writers used both the brains and the guts of a song to shine that way...I love both the inspiration part of songwriting and the crafting- editing- perspiration part...Yorkville wasn't the collection of rich-folks' boutiques that it is now. It was like Greenwich Village then, a little rundown, kinda beat up and shabby, very un-fancy and full of students, poets, guitar-players and old beatniks. When I was playing the Purple Onion coffeehouse, it was before the hippies had emerged. The Toronto establishment found all this student action a bit suspect, since they didn't control it and it had sprouted on its own...The art of the protest song is a tricky genre where the music and emotion and lyrical facts have to be just right or you're wasting your time. Sometimes one will defeat the other so that either the message gets lost in the music, or it can turn into a wordy lecture, or an emotional tirade. For me, all those things need to take a back seat to the overarching effectiveness. It's very special and real tricky, and very easy to drown the baby in the bath water."

'Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life' 
(2008 documentary)!

    "Now That the Buffalo's Gone"

Can you remember the times
That you have held your head high
And told all your friends of your Indian claim
Proud good lady and proud good man
Some great great grandfather from Indian blood came
And you feel in your heart for these ones

Oh it's written in books and in song
That we've been mistreated and wronged
Well over and over I hear those same words
From you good lady and you good man
Well listen to me if you care where we stand
And you feel you're a part of these ones

When a war between nations is lost
The loser we know pays the cost
But even when Germany fell to your hands
Consider dear lady, consider dear man
You left them their pride and you left them their land
And what have you done to these ones

Has a change come about my dear man
Or are you still taking our lands
A treaty forever your senators sign
They do dear lady, they do dear man
And the treaties are broken again and again
And what will you do for these ones

Oh it's all in the past you can say
But it's still going on here today
The governments now want the Navaho land
That of the Inuit and the Cheyenne
It's here and it's now you can help us dear man
Now that the buffalo's gone

    "Cripple Creek"

    "The Universal Soldier"

He’s 5 foot 2 and he’s 6 feet 4
He fights with missiles and with spears
He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17.
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years

He’s a catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain
A Buddhist, and a Baptist and Jew.
And he knows he shouldn’t kill
And he knows he always will kill
You’ll 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 him 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 the blame
His orders comes from
far away no more.

They come from him.
And you and me.
And brothers can’t you see.
This is not the way we put an end to war

It's My Way
full album:

Side 1
"Now That the Buffalo's Gone"
"The Old Man's Lament"
"Mayoo Sto Hoon"
"Cripple Creek"
"The Universal Soldier"
Side 2

"Babe in Arms"
"He Lived Alone in Town"
"You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond"
"The Incest Song"
"Eyes of Amber"
"It's My Way"

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