By Esme Choonara
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Soldier Blue – Buffy Sainte-Marie

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Buffy Sainte-Marie has always been a surprising, talented and radical artist.
Issue 2189
Soldier Blue sleeve
Soldier Blue sleeve

Buffy Sainte-Marie has always been a surprising, talented and radical artist.

She arrived on New York’s folk scene in the early 1960s and did a five year stint on Sesame Street in the 1970s.

This album collects some of the singer-songwriter’s recordings with Vanguard in the 1960s and 1970s, and is a great introduction for anyone new to her work.

Much of Sainte-Marie’s most powerful work deals with the struggle of Native Americans, although she has always refused to be pigeon-holed as some kind of “Pocahontas with fringes”.

This new collection includes “Soldier Blue”, the title song she wrote for the film inspired by the 1864 Chivington Massacre in which Native Americans, many of them children, were brutally murdered.

It showcases a variety of Sainte-Marie’s styles, from cheery country to raw emotional protest song—along with some indefinable and unsettling tracks.

The collection opens with “Universal Soldier” which Sainte-Marie wrote and released in 1964.

It led to the US administration of the time blacklisting her.

Most of the tracks here are her own compositions, but she also performs an inspired cover of a Neil Young song and a couple of Joni Mitchell numbers.

Soldier Blue: The best of the Vanguard years
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Ace Records

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