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Illuminations [CD]

Buffy Sainte-Marie Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 8.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Illuminations + It's My Way! + Soldier Blue: The Best Of The Vanguard Years
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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Nov 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Vanguard
  • ASIN: B00004TGD9
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,919 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot
2. Mary
3. Better To Find Out For Yourself
4. The Vampire
5. Adam
6. The Dream Tree
7. Suffer the Little Children
8. The Angel
9. With You, Honey
10. Guess Who I Saw In Paris
11. He's A Keeper Of The Fire
12. Poppies

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Schizophrenic 1 Mar 2001
By P. Bryant VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
A difficult one to honestly recommend. Half of this record is brilliant, and half very dubious. Buffy was moving away from her folky days, and "Illuminations" was supposed to be her "electronic" album at the time (1968). Which it isn't, except for a few tweets and warbles here and there. The good half contains some stunning music, including her spinetingling setting of a piece of prose (you'd never know it) by Leonard Cohen called "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot"; then there's "The Vampire" and "The Angel" and "The Dream Tree", all lovely creepy folky songs, and not forgetting "Poppies", the weirdest thing she ever did, a real horror soundtrack ("his hands two hooks of steel"). Great. But alas, you also get some very lame Buffy-goes-rock things, and the one of the world's twee-est movie songs ever, "Guess Who I Saw in Paris". But hey, it's all sung by Buffy Sainte-Marie, who has The Voice. 5 stars for the good half, 2 stars for the bad.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darn Womanly 13 Jun 2005
Format:Audio CD
This is a guillotine of an album. My husband hates it. I love it. We'll never agree. Buffy screams and screeches like Hecate through half the songs and the rest she lilts and lullabies. Scream melts into lilt and lilt graunches back into scream. It's pretty powerful goddess stuff. I think my husband's just scared.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I have this album on an old cassette tape, and it's getting worn out. I must have it now that I see it's available on CD.

The album changes its mood all the time in unpredictable ways, chained together by pleasant electronic effects, changing between acoustic and electric.

At the heart of most of the songs lies the conditions of life for women through the times - as witches, as sailors' wives, as lovers, etc.

It's like Buffy is playing a new role on each number - somethings she is really good at.

A tribute to one half of humanity, which never rejects the other half. I, as a man, certainly don't feel rejected.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant if you're a fan. 16 July 2012
By M. Lee
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I had a copy of this album on vinyl when it first came out (that's showing my age). It was stolen in a burglary many years ago and I was unable to find a replacement.
I think it is a brilliant album though unlike most of Buffy's work. It wont be to everyone's taste but with the track "God is alive, magic is afoot" it is worth having just for that if you're into old hippy psychodelia as I am.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a for-real lost classic 28 Jan 2004
By happydogpotatohead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Genuinely mysterious and absorbing, this is one of the more striking works to come out of the "psychedelic" sixties. On many of the songs, Buffy teamed up with Peter Schickele (yes, P.D.Q. Bach in his other life!) on songs that featured primitive but effective electronic experimentation. "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot," is one example, as BSM sings across/over an eerie musical backdrop that the listener gradually comes to recognize is a heavily treated recording of her singing the same song. In spite of the experimentation, it's spine-chilling and beautiful.
At the same time, Sainte-Marie kept her folk roots and her social consciousness intact. The voice-and-acoustic "Suffer the Little Children," with its commentary on capitalism, would not sound out of place on her earlier albums, and the downright sensuous "Guess Who I Saw In Paris" is one of her best love songs.
The real fascination here, though, is how far afield Buffy goes. In "Keeper of the Fire" she provides a Jorma Kaukonen like guitar solo with her voice on the ride-out, and "Poppies" is outrageously trippy and far ahead of its time, reminding the listener of an early version of Enya or Loreena McKennitt.
The album was not a commercial success in its day, primarily because it was so "out of character" for what Buffy's fans wanted. But thirty-odd years later it still sounds subversive and strange. The album combines Buffy Sainte-Marie's natural warmth and power with eerie and transcendent moments quite unlike anything else out there at the time (or now). Very much a lost classic, "Illuminations" is not just for folkies. Anyone with an interest in psychedelia or the unusual will find a lot to like here. One of her best and well worth having.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece 20 Oct 2000
By Aage Nielsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Buffy Sainte-Marie really left the "moldy figs" in the dust with this one.This album made history as the first quadrophonic, electronic vocal and instrumental album. Even now, modern day alt-rockers cite this album as an influence. From the opening Leonard Cohen track "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot" to the closing "Poppies" the listener gets a slice of psychedelic 1969 with technology well ahead of its time. Meanwhile, acoustic cuts such as "Dream Tree", while remininiscent of her earlier "Winter Boy" and "Eyes of Amber" nevertheless fits well into this electronic, Velvet Underground-esque album. For modern day shuffle play CD listeners, this album will fit in as well with Sonic Youth as it does with Odetta.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otherwordly. 8 Sep 2000
By Steven Thornton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I recently bought this album on c.d. after having the L.P. for about 25 years. On some tracks Buffy misses the mark but there is enough treasure on this set to keep any Buffy fan enraptured. The best tracks have a surreal quality that sends shivers down the spine. My favourite song is The Angel with it's funeral bells,sublime vocal and unworldly lyrics. The album contains only a few of the artists own songs but this leaves room for her superb interpretations of other peoples works. These include songs by Leonard Cohen and Ritchie Havens. Above all this album is experimental-years ahead of it's time. Turn on this album lay back and be transported by aural magic and THAT VOICE!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bone Chilling Masterpiece 7 Oct 2005
By Mark D. Prouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hearing this CD now, after all this time, reminds me of why artists like Buffy Sainte-Marie should not be forgotten. Of all the so-called "folk singers," Sainte-Marie was the most adventurous and fearless. No two of her wonderful albums were alike, but this one went the farthest out on a limb, mixing her trembling vocals with electronic backing, searing electric guitars and pulsating rhythms. "Poppies" is a spellbinding trip; Leonard Cohen's "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot" is a mystic dazzler, beginning and ending with an ocellating loop of Buffy's voice repeating the title line; "Better To Find Out For Yourself" will give you the shivers, especially when she hits that final, angry wail on the fade out; "Suffer The Little Children" is more relevant now than ever. "He's a Keeper Of The Fire," a chanting rocker bristles with energy, and "The Vampire" should be the theme song for a really good horror movie. Ed Freeman's "The Angel," with its echoing bell sounds, is simply sublime, one of the most gorgeous songs Buffy has ever sung. ILLUMINATIONS is a dream-like, captivating record that was way ahead of its time, and still sounds daring today.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Buffy St. Marie's very best 29 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have waited many years for the particular album to be reissued on CD. It has always been my favorite since I first bought it in 1971. It shows Miss St. Marie at her very best and the songs have a common spiritual theme and haunting melodies. Especially memorable is "The Dream Tree."
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