I know everybody hates pop quizzes, but here's one for you anyway. Who is the only Native American/Canadian to win an Academy Award?
Give up? I'll give you some clues (if the title of the review hasn't given it away yet), she's a Cree Indian from Saskatchewan Canada originally who had a very successful career as a folk/country artist in the sixties and early seventies.
She was an Indian before it became fashionable to be one and sang about Native issues when nobody else was. She also wrote and performed songs about the state of the world, and people's emotions. She's also never recorded her award winning song, "Up Where We Belong," leaving that to Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warrens.
Buffy Sainte-Marie has been singing her songs of peace and respect for years now, although her lyrics and her voice have never been the type that would send her up the pop charts. The fact that she sounds like she's always on the verge of picking up a gun and heading off on the war-path to exact some revenge for all the indignities visited upon her people never made her the flavor of the month among record executives either.
It's people like her that make you give thanks for a label like Vanguard Records. Back in the sixties and seventies they were the only ones who would release music by performers who sang the overtly politically music that wouldn't be touched with a ten foot pole by the more conservative labels. Now some forty years after some of these original recordings were made they've put together a series of compilations for a lot of those same performers under the name of "Vanguard Visionaries"
If you've forgotten about Buffy and don't really recall what could make her entitled to be called a visionary then that makes this disc all the more important. Not only is it a wonderful greatest hits package of the music she did while she was with Vanguard records – it serves to remind us all of her unique voice and unwavering strength of character.