Album review: BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – Medicine Songs

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE - Medicine Songs

True North Records [Release date 07.11.17]

A new album from the now 76 year old Buffy, and guess what?  Yes, lurking there amidst a collection of old, new, and borrowed, (and Blue) material are career defining numbers like ‘Soldier Blue’ and ‘Universal Soldier’.

But re-recorded as part of a modern day protest album, addressing the current ills of the world – war, oppression, inequity, and greed, you realise that they still just as relevant. Sadly, whilst mankind may have taken giant steps since the 1960′s, as a species, we’re still just as deeply flawed.

It would be nice to believe that Medicine Songs might make a difference and fair play to Buffy for continuing the put her messages of hope out there.  Vocally, she’s never sounded better, and the new arrangements – ranging from her acoustic troubadour roots (she hasn’t messed too much with ‘Universal Soldier’), to world music, indie rock, and even hip-hop – do more than just apply a fresh veneer to aging material.

The result is a thoroughly ‘modern’ album, and one that belies Sainte-Marie’s advancing years.  In a somewhat unusual twist the digital version of the album features 20 songs, whereas due to capacity limitations the CD only features 13.  But so those investing in the physical product don’t miss out, a download code card is included that allows you to get the rest of the tracks.  Nice touch, Buffy.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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