Mister Can't You See

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"Mister Can't You See"
Single by Buffy Sainte-Marie
from the album Moonshot
Released 1972
Genre Folk
Length 3:19
Label Vanguard Records
Writer(s) Mickey Newbury
Townes Van Zandt
Producer(s) Norbert Putnam
Buffy Sainte-Marie

"Mister Can't You See" is a song written by Mickey Newbury and Townes Van Zandt that first appeared on Newbury's 1968 debut album Harlequin Melodies. Newbury's original version was slow and dominated by strings and a very simple drumbeat, with his voice telling a tale of nature's power and beauty. The actual title of the song comes from the line "can't you see the river flowing".

"Mister Can't You see" is best known, however, as recorded by Buffy Sainte-Marie on her 1972 album Moonshot, where it was the final track and second single.

Owing to a major promotional campaign by Vanguard Records, eager to make up for losses incurred with past Sainte-Marie albums, the label promoted the single vigorously and as a result it became Sainte-Marie's only single or album to reach the Top 75 on Billboard. It peaked at #38 on the Pop Singles chart and #29 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Sainte-Marie's version is much shorter than Newbury's original and is more straight-ahead rock with the Memphis Horns especially prominent.