Cisco Houston Web Site


The Folkways Years


This CD was commercially issued by The Smithsonian in 1994. That wonderful Institute now owns all the old Folkways tapes and most of the masters still existing for artists recorded by Moses Asch over 40 years. These performers laid down tracks beginning in the early '40's which have been issued on a variety of labels in addition to Folkways, including Asch, Stinson and Disc. On this compilation, there are a few Woody Guthrie songs out of the 29 selections. Most are Cisco with guitar, and there are also a couple of duets with Woody.

Track Listing

  1. I Ain't Got No Home
  2. Hard Traveling
  3. Rambling, Gambling Man
  4. Hobo Bill
  5. There's a Better World A-Comin' (With Woody Guthrie)
  6. The Strawberry Roan
  7. The Great American Bum
  8. The Intoxicated Rat
  9. The Cat Came Back
  10. The Frozen Logger
  11. Pat Works on the Railroad
  12. Dark as a Dungeon
  13. Diamond Joe
  14. The Girl in the Wood
  15. Ship in the Sky
  16. The Fox
  17. What Did the Deep Sea Say? (With Woody Guthrie)
  18. Saint James Infirmary
  19. Born 100,000 Years Ago
  20. Pie in the Sky
  21. Mysteries of a Hobo's Life
  22. 900 Miles
  23. Great July Jones
  24. A Picture From Life's Other Side (With Woody Guthrie and Bess Hawes)
  25. Farmer's Lament
  26. The Killer
  27. I Ride an Old Paint
  28. Zebra Dun
  29. Passing Through

Of Interest:

The world-class booklet, with research by Dr. Guy Logsdon. Probably the best short biography of Cisco we have is within its pages. Lots of data on each song and its recording circumstances, when known.


Bill Adams

If you own this, and the Vanguard Songs of Woody Guthrie, you have an excellent Cisco collection already. Not all the songs here will appeal equally to every fan. My own favorites are numbers one, six, twelve, fifteen, sixteen, twenty and twenty-one. Any fan of Cisco's needs it for the booklet alone, but of course, the performances are nice as well.


Jim Clark

Cisco released scores of LPs on Folkways, and 29 cuts from those LPs are gathered on to a CD that covers 17 years of his recording career. We witness the maturation of Cisco, growing from tentative tenor to manly baritone, with performances that are assured and confident. My favorites on this release are Strawberry Roan, Zebra Dun, The Killer (which I have shared with many who have become Cisco converts on the strength of this one song), The Intoxicated Rat, and two songs it is fun to compare with Odetta's versions: The Fox and The Frozen Logger. Recording quality varies, but the performances are uniformly good. Wonderful notes, worth re-reading, add more value to this release. These songs are the voice of America.

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