Which is the best Buffy St Marie track? Carry it on? My Country Tis of They People you’re Dying? or Universal Soldier?

Well which is the best Buffy St Marie song? This is a Native American woman who has written some exceptional songs over the years. I narrowed it down to three contenders:

Carry It On

My Country Tis of Thy People You’re Dying

Universal Soldier.

There were a number of other  choices. But for me these 3 stood out.

Carry it on!

Carry It On by Buffy Sainte-Marie

Hold your head up Lift the top of your mind

Put your eyes on the Earth

Lift your heart to your own home planet

What do you see?

What is your attitude

Are you here to improve or damn it

Look right now and you will see we’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is

So take heart and take care of your link with Life and

Oh carry it on –

We’re saying Oh carry it on –

Keep playing

Oh carry it on –

And praying

It ain’t money that makes the world go round

That’s only temporary confusion

It ain’t governments that make the people strong

It’s the opposite illusion

Look right now and you will see they’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is so take heart and take care of your link with Life

Oh carry it on – Keep saying Oh carry it on – And playing Oh carry it on – And praying

Look right now and you will see we’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is so take heart and take care of your link with Life is beautiful if you got the sense to take care of your source of perfection

Mother Nature She’s the daughter of God and the source of all protection

Look right now and you will see she’s only here by the skin of her teeth as it is so take heart and take care of your link with Life

Oh carry it on – Keep saying Oh carry it on – And playing Oh carry it on – Keep on praying

Now that your big eyes have finally opened
Now that you’re wondering how must they feel
Meaning them that you’ve chased across America’s movie screens
Now that you’re wondering “how can it be real?”
That the ones you’ve called colourful, noble and proud
In your school propaganda
They starve in their splendor?
You’ve asked for my comment I simply will render

My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

Now that the longhouses breed superstition
You force us to send our toddlers away
To your schools where they’re taught to despise their traditions.
Forbid them their languages, then further say
That American history really began
When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress
That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.
And yet where in your history books is the tale
Of the genocide basic to this country’s birth,
Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed,
How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?
And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell
As it rang with a thud
O’er Kinzua mud
And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year?

My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying

Hear how the bargain was made for the West:
With her shivering children in zero degrees,
Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,
Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,
And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.
And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,
A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it’s better this way.
And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,
Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.
From the Grand Canyon’s caverns to craven sad hills
The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.
From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
The white nation fattens while others grow lean;
Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean.

My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens;
Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks.
And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands
And surprise in your eyes that we’re lacking in thanks
For the blessings of civilization you’ve brought us,
The lessons you’ve taught us, the ruin you’ve wrought us
Oh see what our trust in America’s brought us.

My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

Now that the pride of the sires receives charity,
Now that we’re harmless and safe behind laws,
Now that my life’s to be known as yourheritage,
Now that even the graves have been robbed,
Now that our own chosen way is a novelty
Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory,
Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy
Pitying the blindness that you’ve never seen
That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory
They were never no more than carrion crows,
Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story;
The mockingbird sings it, it’s all that he knows.
“Ah what can I do?” say a powerless few
With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye
Can’t you see that their poverty’s profiting you.

My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

Universal Soldier

He’s five feet two and he’s six feet four
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 athiest, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn’t kill
and he knows he always will
kill you 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
and 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 walls

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 to a war
and without him all this killing can’t go on

He’s the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come 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

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26 thoughts on “Which is the best Buffy St Marie track? Carry it on? My Country Tis of They People you’re Dying? or Universal Soldier?

    • I know what you mean when she deploys that Native American vibrato but, in general, it works for me and I’m not a great lover of female vocalists. I seem to prefer a man’s voice.

      • Depends on the singer. I like and listen to many.
        Karen Dalton, Madeleine Peyroux and Jennifer Warnes are exceptional.

      • There are a number that I like – Aretha Franklin, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin come to mind – but I seem to prefer men.

      • Only one of whom can really sing – Aretha. Mitchell’s more of conversational style, unable to extend any range.
        Harvey, too arty-farty, Joplin just bawled and it’s gets a bit wearing after 10 minutes. Smith – no thanks, dreadful.

      • I just didn’t think your choices were up to much. Who ever put on a Smith record to listen to her sing? She’s a stylist who made 2 half-decent rock records, the rest were rubbish.
        I haven’t remotely liked anything by Harvey since Stories From The City in 2001. Mitchell would have to be back in the 70s, but not the early 70s.
        I was talking about being able to sing as opposed to style or popularity or who’s considered cool etc. I was never arsed with any of that. I never bought a record in my life because other people raved about it or their mugshot was on the from of the NME. Otherwise my collection would be one dimensional. One of the best singers ever was Gaye Woods, but she would never get a front page. Harvey and Smith are guaranteed that no matter what shite they produce.

      • Piss Factory and Sheena Na Gig for me. The first couple of PJs albums and Patti’s. After that it was a bit sparse.

      • No, I wouldn’t make such a bloomer as that! I know who Tir Na Nog are.
        Sheena Na Gig are a bona fide folk rock band.

      • You have now.
        No influence from the punk priestess at all.
        They’re really good musicians, play a lot of festivals.

      • I can actually because it was pressed onto coal dust quality vinyl and sounded absolutely horrible.
        Also a pretty tardy state of affairs if a so-called heavy duty artist cannot improve upon their very first throwaway B-side, isn’t it?

    • I’m reminded of John Lydon’s informed evaluation of Patti Smith, quote, “Horses?, horses? … horse shit more like”.
      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • I can actually because it was pressed onto coal dust quality vinyl and sounded absolutely horrible.
        Also a pretty tardy state of affairs if a so-called heavy duty artist cannot improve upon their very first throwaway B-side, isn’t it?

      • Hardly a thjrow away B side – but there you go. Gloria was a B-side and I don’t think Van improved on it. Besides – I like her – but certainly not everything she’s done. She has a style and attitude I like.

      • It was. That’s how a B-side track is regarded if it is not included on a proper album as was the case.

        I think you’ll find Gloria on The Angry Young Them LP, track 6, side One, Decca label, released June 1965. Therefore, not a throwaway.

      • I think you’ll find everything Them recorded put out somewhere!
        I continue to be amazed that Piss Factory has not been given far greater prominence. It is undoubtedly the best thing she ever did.

      • I know that Opher, I know just about every record ever released by just about everybody, whether I like it, hate it, own it or don’t own it – the chances are I don’t own it as I hate most records that I’ve heard.
        However, in this case, Gloria on the album was a contemporary release. Last track side one, placed there for very good reason.

        You will find a slightly different version of Piss Factory on her 2002 compilation, titled ‘Land’. The original cut is unavailable as the master tape is long lost, and as I said, the original was pressed onto coal dust vinyl. However, for some reason the A-side, Hey Joe was able to be included on a Sire Records compilation way back in the 70s -which suggests they had the master tape at that time. It however, was not included on ‘Land’.

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