Friday, May 4, 2007

What Ever Happened to Buffy Sainte-Marie?

While I was at the gym today, doing my regular stint on the treadmill and reading my book, I chose this album to listen to, on my iPod.

I've always loved to sing and in my late teens and while I was at university I sang alto in a large choir which often appeared with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. I never was solo material, so this suited me fine and once, with a smaller 16 voice group, I sang on an ABC radio program.

In my early thirties, which coincided with the latter part of the Sixties, I decided to rectify the fact that I had never learned a musical instrument so I bought a guitar, took lessons and became a "folk singer".

Well, that I was not a great one, I'll be the first to admit. My friends kindly asked me to sing on occasion, but I was a big hit at both the preschools my children attended and where I often performed to a very uncritical and appreciative audience. Of course I was a big fan of Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell and naturally, Buffy Sainte-Marie. I bought all their records and played them constantly. My guitar is long gone, to the highest bidder in a silent auction at a charitable event, but I replaced all these old favourite records with CDs when they became available.

Somehow I forgot about Buffy Sainte-Marie, probably because her CDs were not obvious on the shelves in the store. Recently, however, I ordered several online and I loaded this two CD album into my iPod. Well, to my mind, those songs she wrote and sang are still as great as ever and I love listening to these old favourites. But the one that caught my attention this morning and made me look up from my book and listen closely was this traditional song which Buffy sang in her own inimitable way. It made me laugh again when I heard it and below are the lyrics which I think will amuse you. Yes Buffy is still around, giving concerts occasionally and much involved in other artistic projects now.

Johnny Be Fair

Johnny Be Fair
(Buffy Ste. Marie)

Well, Johnny be fair and Johnny be fine
and wants me for to wed
And I would marry Johnny,
but my father up and said
I'm sad to tell you daughter
what your mother never knew
But Johnny is a son of mine
and so he's kin to you

Well, Jimmy be fair and Jimmy be fine
and wants me for to wed
And I would marry Jimmy,
but my father up and said
I'm sad to tell you daughter
what your mother never knew
But Jimmy, too, is a son of mine
and so he's kin to you

Well, Billy be fair and Billy be fine
and wants me for to wed
And I would marry Billy,
but my father up and said
I'm sad to tell you daughter
what your mother never knew
But Billy, too, is a son of mine
and so he's kin to you

You never seen a girl so sad
and sorry as I was
The boys in town are all my kin
and my father is the cause
If life should thus continue
I shall die a single miss
So I'll go to mother
and complain to her of this

Oh daughter, haven't I taught you
to forgive and to forget
Even if this all is true,
still you needn't fret
Your father may be father
to all the boys in town, still
He's not the one who sired you,
so marry who you will


12 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

Buffy was in her prime when I was younger too. I just saw recently on public television a little bit about her. I enjoyed her music. You can always tell the true musicians for even when you don't hear much about them anymore years later they're still singing up a storm.

jmb said...

Hi Janice,
I always love Buffy, but you know who I really miss. Cat Stevens! I still listen to his old songs often. Thank heavens they brought out CD of all his old records.
regards
jmb

Lee said...

I loved Buffy Saint-Marie, too and haven't heard any of her songs for so long. I must look on Amazon and see if I can find any CDs of hers...they would be worth having...thanks for the reminder, jmb. :)

jmb said...

Hi Lee,
Wasn't she great? It wasn't easy to find the CDs even on line, but I managed to get couple.
regards
jmb

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, jmb, I used to love Buffy Sainte- Marie and am so glad to hear she is still around! Thank you for this post. [I'm off to get my 45 rpms out, now!]

jmb said...

Hi welshcakes
Your 45s? My turntable is long gone so I had to search out all my old favourites on CD
regards
jmb

Teena said...

I'm not a fan of Buffy's but my husband is.

jmb said...

Well Teena, we all have different tastes in music. But there's something for everyone thank goodness. I hope your husband does play Buffy when you're around

Foilwoman said...

One of my two-year old's favorite lullabies is one I learned from Buffy -- Dream Tree.

jmb said...

Teena,
I mistyped. I meant I hope your husband doesn't play Buffy when you're around.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Foilwoman,
Indeed a lovely lullaby. I'm glad your daughter enjoys it.
regards
jmb

Owen said...

That song always makes me smile too! A new Buffy album is due out next year so keep your eyes peeled.