Buffy Sainte-Marie: Coincidence and Likely Stories (1992)

 |   |  1 min read

The Big Ones Get Away
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Coincidence and Likely Stories (1992)

There are three distinct but overlapping public faces of the great Native American singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-MarieSainte-Marie: the woman who wrote and sang Universal Soldier and the theme to the film Soldier Blue in the Sixties; the permanent cast member of Sesame Street between '76 and '81; and a lifelong activist in the Native American movement.

But there was always much more to her.

She is a much exhibited digital artist; her early song Cod'ine was covered by the Charlatans and Quicksilver Messenger Service in the San Francisco hippie era; one of her marriages was to producer/arranger Jack Nitzsche (he orchestrated River Deep Mountain High for Phil Spector, played keyboards on albums for the emerging Rolling Stones, wrote the soundtrack to One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest); she co-wrote the Grammy-winning Joe Cocker-Jennifer Warnes hit Up Where We Belong with Nitzsche and Will Jennings; has worked for any number of Native American and charitable causes . . .

Her music career was erratic for a while and after 15 years away she returned in '92 with the remarkable album Coincidence and Likely Stories which included memorable songs such as Bad End, Disinformation, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and others which were thrilling in their emotional power and soaked with dark honesty and truth.

She played almost every instrument herself and spoke of corrupt politics, the struggle of the Native American movement, and the dangers any radical faces when confronting the system: "My girlfriend Annie Mae talked about uranium, her head was filled with bullets and her body dumped, the FBI cut off her hands and told us she'd died of exposure".

It was tough stuff but there were also songs of love and of the solace nature can offer.

The sadness at the heart of The Big Ones Get Away is leavened by the supportive love she offers her partner. And lines like "don't the wars come easy, don't the peace come hard" are, sadly, still universally true.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is 78 at the time of this writing, has won a very long list of awards (check her Wikipedia entry) and as recently as two years ago released a new album (which featured a collaboration with the remarkable Tanya Tagaq)  

And if you think she's a folkie, check the clip below. It's a song off this fiery and essential album. 

You can hear Coincidence and Likely Stories on Spotify here.

.

These Essential Elsewhere pages deliberately point to albums which you might not have thought of, or have even heard . . .

But they might just open a door into a new kind of music, or an artist you didn't know of. Or someone you may have thought was just plain boring.

But here is the way into a new/interesting/different music . . .

Jump in.

The deep end won't be out of your depth . . . 

Share It

Your Comments

Graham Hooper - Oct 7, 2019

I Saw her play at Auckland Town Hall in the Mid 1970's Great singer and songs.

post a comment

More from this section   Essential articles index

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St (1972, reissued 2010)

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St (1972, reissued 2010)

Few albums in rock have been so surrounded in dark mythology as this sprawling double album which was the last great gasp of the Rolling Stones. Certainly subsequent albums -- Goats Head Soup,... > Read more

Mike Nock/Frank Gibson: Open Door (1987)

Mike Nock/Frank Gibson: Open Door (1987)

When expat pianist/composer Mike Nock and Auckland-based drummer Frank Gibson got together in '87 to record these duets both men were at interesting points in their respective but separate careers,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Paul Bley: Play Blue (ECM/Ode)

Paul Bley: Play Blue (ECM/Ode)

It seems absurd to say it -- but others have -- that this solo concert in Oslo by pianist Paul Bley is a career highlight. Absurd, because at the time of this recording in 2008 he was 75.... > Read more

LOCUS AND LOCATION: THE SOCIO-GEOGRAPHY AND POST-COLONIAL DISCOURSE IN DON McGLASHAN'S DOMINION ROAD

LOCUS AND LOCATION: THE SOCIO-GEOGRAPHY AND POST-COLONIAL DISCOURSE IN DON McGLASHAN'S DOMINION ROAD

Don McGlashan is one of New Zealand's most respected and successful songwriters. He been awarded the Apra Silver Scroll for songwriting 47 times and has been given honorary doctorates from many New... > Read more