By Kerry Doole
This reissue from Canadian legend Sainte-Marie is fascinating, musically and culturally. It's a collection of material from three mid-'70s albums, songs that never got exposed in Canada properly due to an unofficial blacklisting of the outspoken activist. The always genre-bending songstress is as eclectic as ever, cheerfully mixing country, folk, pop and rock elements. Some tunes do sound dated (the still-fun rocker "Sweet Little Vera" has an early Elton John feel), but the strengths of her writing and that gorgeously expressive voice shine through. Big pop ballads like "Nobody Will Ever Know It's Real But You" and "I Can't Take It No More" would surely have been hits if they'd scored radio play, while the most familiar track is the debut version of "Starwalker," a tune dubbed the first "powwow rock" song. Some numbers are a bit overproduced, with the simple, charming folk blues of "I Don't Need No City Life" showing that less can be more. Sainte-Marie's social conscience is at the forefront of "Look At The Facts," "Generation" and "America My Home," with many of these sentiments remaining relevant today. The musicianship is top-notch, featuring the best American players of the day (David Briggs, Larry Carlton, Charlie McCoy, etc.). This is a worthy addition to the catalogue of a genuine musical treasure.