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Little Wheel Spin & Spin

Buffy Sainte-Marie Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • ASIN: 555088030X
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enduring classic 10 Jan 2011
Format:Audio CD
Many, many years ago, I bought this record with my pocket money. I had heard the title song "Little Wheel Spin and Spin" on the radio and Buffy's powerful and unusual singing made the hairs stand up on my neck.
When I got my hand on the album, I loved everything about it; the classic folk tunes such as "House Carpenter", "Waly Waly" and "Lady Margaret" and her own songs such as "Sometimes When I Get To Thinking Of You" and "My Country 'Tis Of Thy People You're Dying". These siongs have their roots in Buffy's American Indian culture and her strong political views.
A few days ago, I came across a CD version. I bought it, a bit worried that it might not have the same old magic. I need not have feared. This is a powerful and enduring folk classic - as good as anything Buffy Sainte-Marie ever produced.
Great singing, great playing (guitar and mouthbow) that sounds as fresh today as over 40 years ago.
Thoroughly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buffy Sainte-Marie's Wheel Spins And Spins... 7 Mar 2005
By Mark D. Prouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have never understood why Buffy Sainte-Marie never managed to permanently lodge herself in the American listening public's imagination the way, say, Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, or The Beatles did. There's no good reason she should not have been a HUGE star. No, scratch that; there is one very obvious reason: too much truth. Buffy never minced words, choosing, rather, to serve them up raw, the good with the bad, the painful with the beautiful. Just listen to "My Country `Tis Of Thy People You're Dying," which (agreeing with other reviewers here), should be offered up in high school history classes as an illustration of how distorted and biased most commonly used textbooks are. Many years after first hearing this album, the song "Little Wheel Spin & Spin" undulates with electrifying power, and sends shivers up and down my spine as Buffy sings, in her distinctive, trembling voice "...add your straw to the camel's load -- pray like hell when the world explodes..." given the state of the planet right now, these words ring with more resonance than ever. And hear how this great woman plays that acoustic guitar of hers; as good or better than most men in the field; certainly as muscular and energetic. There is a pulse and a rhythm to these songs, whether they are gently rocking country-blues tunes, such as "Rolling Log Blues," or haunting story songs like "Sir Patrick Spens" or "House Carpenter." Where the early Joan Baez would prettily sing a folk ballad without being particularly adventurous, musically, Buffy Sainte-Marie plays with her phrasings and with rhythms so that even the most commonly interpreted folk songs acquire new dimensions. You've never heard a "Waly Waly" or a "Lady Margaret" quite like the versions offered here. Buffy infuses everything with her own, highly individual style and creative flare, letting anger and passion and alarm show their edges in her voice. (Just so you know, this is no dissing of Ms. Baez; I'm a devoted, lifelong fan of hers; the differences between these two singers, however, are like night and day).

Seven of the twelve songs here are Sainte-Marie originals, and two others are traditional tunes with original, new and/or added lyrics. The remaining three are old folk melodies given the Buffy treatment. Throughout the album, added instrumentation is sparse and yet essential. Bruce Langhorn's smooth, expressive electric guitar and Russ Savakus' bass add depth to the title song and a few others, but do not distract from the true attractions of this music, which are Buffy's voice and her own guitar. An instrumental ensemble creates an interesting change of pace and mood in "Timeless Love," Patrick Sky and Eric Weissberg play guitar here and there, too, but the overall effect is one of perfect control over production values; nothing overproduced or commercial about this album, which, getting back to the point of this review, may be one reason more people haven't heard Buffy Saint-Marie. She is not interested in providing a manufactured image of chic or cool, or a safe escape from the real world. A true artist in every sense of the word. I like all of Buffy Sainte-Marie's albums. Like Joni Mitchell, she constantly experiments and each record is different from another. If asked to pick just one Buffy Sainte-Marie album as my choice as the most important and powerful, "Little Wheel Spin And Spin," would probably be at the top of the list. If you are a listener with a sense of adventure, and you are just now falling in love with Buffy, check out "Illuminations," a ground-breaking, ahead-of-its-time electronic album from 1969, and "Moonshot," a straight ahead rock and roll album from the early `70's. Buffy constantly surprises and never disappoints...
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great folksinger! 10 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
My Country Tis of Thy People You're Dying should be played in American History classes. Men of the Fields is a simple, heart felt song of an age that is slipping away on us. Buffy is an awesome folk singer and writer. Her range of style, voice, and material makes her great.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Wheel Spin and Spin 28 Jan 2005
By Ronnie Epley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I agree with the reviewer who said that "My Country Tis of Thy People You're Dying" should be played in history classes as it offers another, more accurate account of the settling of this wonderful country, an account from the point of view of its indigenous people. From a musical mindset, Buffy Sainte-Marie was and is still an all time favorite. Her unique repertoire, from topical, protest music to old Childe ballads, she moves music above the ordinary and makes it an event. Whether she sings her own songs or those of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, she delivers. I first remember hearing her sing a song from a later album, entitled simply Buffy--not yet available on CD. The song is "Sweet Little Vera." I saw her perform this on television around 1974, and I was mesmerized! She sang and danced on stage like a Native North American Tina Turner. This 17 year old fellow has been a fan ever since. In short, anything you buy by Buffy Sainte-Marie will delight. ENJOY!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Buffy's Best Albums 27 July 1999
By Randy LeJeune - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This album contains nothing but hits. An excellent collection of folk songs for anyone who loves music. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true landmark in the music world 21 Dec 2008
By mianfei - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It may be some misreading of Joe S. Harrington a few years ago that account for me missing the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie until very recently. I had almost certainly read of her in the ultimately unsatisfying MusicHound guides, but I had no chance of trying to test them since most critics, even those in love with the 1960s, ignore her to the extent of her not being once mentioned by Sonic Cool or Richie Unterberger's Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers.

It was only with reading a review of her one-off experimental Illuminations that I began to have a serious look at Sainte-Marie. The surprise that some of her albums were actually available in Australian stores made me desperate to buy them even with only a few listens on YouTube. To say "Little Wheel Spin and Spin" met expectations is an understatement. The dark, fiery sound Sainte-Marie had already established on It's My Way! is still present, but it alternates in a manner totally unknown in previous folk recordings with amazingly soft touches. "Sir Patrick Spens", one of a number of songs Sainte-Marie recorded later to be made famous by English folk-rock groups at the subsequent turn of the decade, and "Men of the Fields", which shows that Sainte-Marie could move beyond the Native American protest songs for which she was famous, both exemplify this new softness. Then there is the wonderfully hypnotic "Waly Waly", with Sainte-Marie playing the unique mouthbow. The mouthbow sounds a little like a single-note harpsichord but is quite entrancing.

"Timeless Love" is orchestral in tone but as beautiful as anything from Baptism and its lyric "one half angel/one half mine" predates Jane Siberry's musings by a quarter century. The high-pitched chant on "Sometimes When I Get To Thinking" is another surprise. For those looking for material more in the vein of her first two albums, "Rolling Log Blues" and the epic "My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying" show her unique voice with its wide vibrato at its fiercest.

Saving the best for last, though, leaves us with the opening title tune, which is a remarkable stunner like nothing else to come from the 1960s. From a ballad-like poetic rhythm Sainte-Marie manages to move from beauty to anger to sadness in just two and one half minutes. In doing so, she moves from biblical tales to modern problems without ever sounding remotely disjointed: in the process she creates a song that can be best described as teaching us to take responsibility for everything we do because every mistake is flawed with danger.

All in all, you should try not to miss "Little Wheel Spin and Spin" as I did for the first thirty-one years of my life. Its unique, dark, moving dynamics have influenced countless artists from Joni Mitchell (compare "Coyote" with parts of the title track) to Lisa Gerrard.
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