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Fire Fleet And Candlelight
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2000
When this album came out in mid-1967 its version of "The Circle Game" marked the first significant cover of a Joni Mitchell song, and I was so moved by the lyrics, the melody, and the arrangement that I would to go into the Doubleday book store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and put the lp on a turntable just to listen to that one song. It's a stirring version that's no less moving for not being spare as others have since recorded it, and the spell Sainte-Marie's version has cast is enough to make me buy the cd now that I see it's available.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2010
Although she began as a fairly traditional folk artist in style, Buffy Sainte-Marie always had to heavily accented a voice to have any chance of serious commercial viability, and to add to that from the beginning she was one of the first singers to consistently write her own songs, Although she did combine these all along with generally familiar traditional features, her use of the distinctive mouthbow, combined with her often-beautiful-yet-harsh social commentary made her third album Little Wheel Spin and Spin one of the most crucial touchstones in the evolution of the singer/songwriter.

Following up Little Wheel Spin and Spin would prove difficult for any artist, and Buffy's next album, 1967's "Fire and Fleet and Candlelight", has often been condemned as too erratic for the way it combines highly traditional material with interpretations of songs by newer songwriters like Joni Mitchell. However, if you listen closely, "Fire and Fleet and Candlelight" should turn out to prove a much underrated work with come extremely fine material on which her difficult, yet beautiful voice is as eerie and tuneful as on "Little Wheel Spin and Spin".

The simple opener "Seeds of Brotherhood" has a rare charm as well as piercing beauty that can remind one of modern eccentric folk artists like Joanna Newsom, whilst "Summer Boy" is a beautiful ballad that is almost an afterthought, as is Joni Mitchell's song "The Circle Game" that sounds almost danceable. The eerie eccentricity of "Lyke Wake Dirge" manages to convey a mystical reality like few other songs from the period - even the also-impressive Pentangle version - with a totally twisted and original sound that showed folk music could become much more than variations on voice and guitar. "Doggett's Gap" is stark and plain but stunning nonetheless, whilst her foray into chamber music on "Song to a Seagull" is amazingly beautiful like the quieter moments on Illuminations. This trend continues with the shimmering, chant-like "Wedding Song" where Sainte-Marie sounds like a lover praying, before another abrupt change with the strangely-titled " 97 Men in This Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow", which is fairly routine rock and one of the less memorable songs here.

The contrast between her unique voice and less eccentric material on "Lord Randall" works very well, and even on the more mainstream "Carousel" and "Little Boy dark Eyes", Sainte-Marie loses little. It is true, however, that "Fire and Fleet and Candlelight" does lost a bit by placing the best songs at the beginning, but nonetheless such pieces as "Seeds of Brotherhood" and "Lyke Wake Dirge" are so good that failing to recommend this album is quite impossible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
From the almost ridiculous "97 men in This Here Town Would Give a Half a Grand in Silver Just to Follow Me Down," the bright "Hey, Little Bird," to the spooky "Lyke Wake Dirge," this album (for that's what I'm listening to, not the CD) is full of the kind of variety folk music is known for.

There are the "meaningful" songs like "The Seeds of Brotherhood" and "The Circle Game." There are traditional folk songs like "Doggett's Gap" and "Lord Randall." There is even a "Wedding Song" on here.

Listen and enjoy the 60's folk music scene again, then go on and listen to Buffy's newest CD's from the 90's to see what progression she has made in her music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
In reading music reviews on Amazon, I have noticed a line of thought which criticizes a number of mid-sixties albums for being too eclectic and not consistent (see also Joan Baez-Joan (1967) & Mary Hopkin-Postcard (1968) among others).I feel these criticisms seem to totally miss the spirit of the mid-sixties in which these albums were created.

The mid-sixties, and especially 1966-1967 witnessed one of the most creative periods in popular music history and the mass communications of the era were spreading it rapidly throughout the culture. One of the main features of the spirit of this time was the desire to try new things in an atmosphere of freedom and experimentation. Dylan went electric, the Beatles went acoustic, lyrics became literate and meaningful, and everyone was being influenced by everyone else.

Eclecticism and variety were a goal of these musicians and no one would have wanted to be accused of not trying something new or putting out an album just like last year's. This was especially true of the acoustic guitar folk crowd who rushed to try out new sounds and styles. This time period produced such great albums as Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde, Judy Collins's In My Life & Wildflowers, Joan Baez's Joan, Donovan's Sunshine Superman & Mellow Yellow; Peter, Paul & Mary's Album 1700, and Phil Och's The Pleasures of the Harbor. Anyone who didn't change in this era was left behind.
Fire and Fleet and Candlelight was exactly this kind of album with its stunning diversity of material and arrangements.

What could be more in the spirit of 1967 than The seeds of Brotherhood, sung without irony? What song was ever more eerily unearthly than Lyke wake Dirge, sung in Buffy's tremulous voice accompanied by horns and tympani? And who else would think of doing Benjamin Britten? Then there are the love songs: the plaintive Summer Boy, the Anger of Little Boy Dark Eyes and the full out pop of Tes Pas Un Autre. But of course there is more. Doggett's Gap, Lord Randall and Reynardine-a Vampire legend are traditional tunes with very stripped down arrangemants sounding like they may have sounded many years ago. And then standing out almost bizarrely is the vaudeville bawdiness of 97 Men...

Then there are the songs orchestrated by music scholar Peter Schickele (who had his own series of popular albums in the rare genre of classical music comedy). These vary from the Britten eeriness to the flute and harp of The Carousel to the full bore accompaniments to The Circle Game and Hey, Little Bird. The Circle Game is peculiar in that it is usually sung with a melancholy or wistful air but here becomes a celebration of life.

That song, of course, is early Joni Mitchell as is Song To a Seagull. Buffy was one of the earliest people to record a Joni Mitchell Song. The second, I believe as George Hamilton IV did a version of Urge For Going that made top ten on the Country charts earlier in 1967. But moreso, it was buffy who brought Judy Collins to a Greenwich Village cafe to hear Joni and Judy who brought her to the attention of friends in the recording industry. Both Judy and Buffy were well known to be supporters of new talent.

With all this, Fire and Fleet and Candlelight is a total treat of an album and a real high point in Buffy Sainte-Marie's career. It is only unfortunate that more people didn't hear it, for as all of us who like her know, she was never going to be a big crowd pleaser and would always remain a special discovery of those who found her. ( I was glad to see her have her big moment with Up Where We Belong). If you have any interest in her music at all, this is certainly one of her finest albums.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2014
When I was a kid in the 1960's my older siblings would play records of folk music including Buffy Sainte-Marie. Almost 50 years later I got this disk and really enjoyed it. I hope they release "Many a Mile" on CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2014
I was raised on this album; it was mother's milk to me. Back in the day, my dad & I used to lay on the floor in the living room, under the Heathkit stereo he built, on our backs, our cat Bizz on one of our stomachs.
Fast forward 37 years- I was looking for the song Reynardine- was it really as emphemeral and haunting as I remembered?
When I found this, I bought a copy for me, a copy for my dad.
EVERY track was perfect; her phrasing, her writing- God everything. I kept waiting for the spell to break, only to be lifted to new heights.
My 15 year old son loves it too!
So, new round of buying this album for Christmas presents for all my (musician) friends! Sprinkle Buffy goodness everywhere!
Now I want to go see her live.
If you don't like tracks 4, 9, and 13, you need to call 911- something is SERIOUSLY wrong with you. I cannot believe these are not at least cult classics.
Also fun to count how many times she mentions birds, carousels and hell in almost every song- even the love songs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
I remember this album from the late 60's-early 70's when I was in school. I love all of her music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
i give this 5 stars based on the incredibly marvelous, clever, and sensuous song' 95 men in this town would give have a grand in silver just to follow me down...' one of the great Love/Lust songs of the century..ms. st. marie continues to delight me with her wit, wisdom, and social awareness.
yea, buffy!!!!
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 1999
This albums finds Buffy Sainte Marie stuck between the folk leanings of her first few albums, and the more contemporary path she was later to pursue. Her own songs work best - the covers are mixed. The version of Joni Mitchell's Circle Game is badly arranged. There is also an extremely eerie interpretation of a Benjamen Britten dirge. Everything here seems to suggest an experimental impulse on the artist's part, yet Fire, Fleet and Candlelight was followed by the rather staid Nashville album I'm Gonna Be A Country Girl Again, and it wasn't until Illuminations (1968, and out of print), that Buffy Sainte Marie recaptured this album's adventurous spirit.
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on August 30, 2015
One of my favorite records
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