Moonshot (album)

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Moonshot Buffy Sainte Marie.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1972
GenreRock, art pop
ProducerNorbert Putnam, Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie chronology
She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina
Quiet Places

Moonshot a studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, released in 1972 by Vanguard Records.


After the very modest success of her previous album She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina, Vanguard again teamed Sainte-Marie with renowned pop session musicians in its effort to improve sales and the amount of money she was making for the label. Most notable among those performing on Moonshot are the Memphis Horns, whilst production was by Buffy herself with Neon Philharmonic bass player Norbert Putnam, who had produced Joan Baez' last Vanguard release Blessed Are... and was to produce Buffy's next two albums as well.[citation needed]


Although the album itself fared little better commercially than its predecessor, only spending seven weeks on the Billboard Top 200, an extensive promotional campaign by Vanguard and extensive AM radio airplay saw the closing track, a cover of Mickey Newbury's "Mister Can't You See", become Sainte-Marie's sole significant commercial success in the States, spending two weeks in the lower reaches of the Top 40 in late April and early May 1972. However, Sainte-Marie was very upset with Vanguard's extensive promotion of the single and this was one reason why she only recorded one more album for the label before moving to MCA in 1973.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 stars[4]
Uncut4/5 stars[5]

According to Robert Christgau, "those who love or even respect [Saint-Marie were] dismayed" by Moonshot.[2] In a contemporary review for The San Diego Door, Cameron Crowe derided the album as the singer's "most embarrassing to date" and a victim of overproduction in the music industry. He was particularly critical of the music's use of electric solo breaks and the Memphis Horns to emphasize the lyrics.[6] Janet Maslin was more enthusiastic about the record in Rolling Stone, applauding Sainte-Marie's stylistic range and refashioning of her vocals to suit the music's varied moods. "What's best about Moonshot", Maslin believed, "is that, considering the kind of experimental stylistic departure it represents, it nonetheless bears such a strongly personal stamp."[7] Ramparts magazine found the song selection effectively diverse, the music powerful, and Saint-Marie "capable of writing lines that jump out of a loudspeaker and grab the listener by the mind".[8]

Christgau was less impressed by her "unique attempt at a rock record" when he first reviewed it for Creem,[3] but later said she had finally done "something overtly perverse—come out of Nashville with what sounds in its most interesting moments like an art-pop record (with politics, of course)", and encouraged her to expand upon its musical experimentation.[2] In another retrospective review, AllMusic's William Ruhlmann wrote that Moonshot was "not the Buffy Sainte-Marie of her early political period, but the album demonstrates her versatility, and it works as an appealing pop effort."[1] Exclaim! journalist Andrea Warner recommended the record in her "essential guide" to the singer's music, writing that it is "filled with all sorts of era-specific flourishes, yet also feels timeless".[9] Paul Evans was more critical in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), regarding it as "her slightest record".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by Buffy Sainte-Marie except where noted.

  1. "Not the Lovin' Kind" – 3:53
  2. "You Know How to Turn on Those Lights" – 2:05
  3. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand Forever" – 2:59
  4. "He's an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo" – 2:09
  5. "Lay It Down" (Gene Thomasson) – 2:47
  6. "Moonshot" – 3:49
  7. "Native North American Child" – 2:14
  8. "My Baby Left Me" (Arthur Crudup) – 3:01
  9. "Sweet Memories" (Mickey Newbury) – 3:19
  10. "Jeremiah" – 3:08
  11. "Mister Can't You See" (Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt) – 3:17



Weekly charts[edit]

Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Peak position
1972 Pop Albums 134


Year Single Chart Position
1972 "Mister Can't You See" Billboard Pop Singles 38
1972 "He's an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo" Billboard Pop Singles 98


  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William (n.d.). "Moon Shot – Buffy Saint-Marie". AllMusic. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (1981). "Buffy Sainte-Marie: Moonshot". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306804093. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (September 1972). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Evans, Paul (1992). "Buffy Sainte-Marie". In DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly (eds.). The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Random House. ISBN 0-679-73729-4.
  5. ^ Anon. (n.d.). "Buffy Sainte-Marie – Moon Shot CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Crowe, Cameron. "Buffy Sainte-Marie – Moonshot". The San Diego Door (May 25, 1972 – June 8, 1972). Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (June 22, 1972). "Moonshot". Rolling Stone. No. 111. Archived from the original on March 3, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Anon. (April 1972). "Moonshot". Ramparts. p. 54.
  9. ^ Warner, Andrea (September 13, 2016). "An Essential Guide to Buffy Sainte-Marie". Exclaim!. Retrieved March 3, 2018.

External links[edit]