Cisco Houston Web Site


Folk Song and Minstrelsy

Vanguard RL-7624


Folk Song & Minstrelsy

Track Listing


  1. Sumer Is Icumen In: The Deller Consort
  2. He That Will an Alehouse Keep: The Deller Consort
  3. Greensleeves: The Deller Consort
  4. We Be Soldiers Three: The Deller Consort
  5. Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies: Leon Bibb
  6. Squirrel: Leon Bibb
  7. Cotton Eyed Joe: Leon Bibb
  8. Darlin': Leon Bibb
  9. Poor Lolette: Leon Bibb


  1. The Golden Vanity: Ronnie Gilbert
  2. Go From My Window: Ronnie Gilbert
  3. Johnny Is Gone for a Soldier: Ronnie Gilbert
  4. Spanish Is a Loving Tongue: Ronnie Gilbert
  5. House of the Rising Sun: Ronnie Gilbert
  6. East Texas Red: Cisco Houston
  7. The Sinking of the Reuben James: Cisco Houston


  1. Meet The Johnson Boys: The Weavers
  2. The Wild Gooses Grasses: The Weavers
  3. Aweigh, Santy Ano: The Weavers
  4. Get Along, Little Dogies: The Weavers
  5. The Erie Canal: The Weavers
  6. We're All Dodgin': The Weavers
  7. The State of Arkansas: The Weavers
  8. Greenland Whale Fisheries: The Weavers
  9. Eddystone Light: The Weavers

SIDE 4: Odetta

  1. I've Been Driving on Bald Mountain/Water Boy
  2. Saro Jane
  3. God's A-Gonna Cut You Down
  4. John Riley
  5. John Henry
  6. All The Pretty Horses
  7. No More Auction Block for Me

SIDE 5: Odetta

  1. The Foggy Dew
  2. No More Cane on the Brazos
  3. The Fox
  4. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
  5. The Ox Driver
  6. Another Man Done Gone
  7. I'm Going Back to the Red Clay Country

SIDE 6: Cisco Houston

  1. Talking Guitar Blues:
  2. Danville Girl
  3. Old Dan Tucker
  4. The Buffalo Skinners
  5. The Streets of Laredo
  6. Hard Travelin'
  7. Bonneville Dam
  8. Do Re Mi
  9. The Wreck of the Old 97
  10. John Hardy


  1. The Bold Fisherman: Ed McCurdy
  2. When Cockle Shells Turn Silver Bells: Ed McCurdy
  3. Frankie and Johnny: Ed McCurdy
  4. Lang A-Growin': Ewan MacColl
  5. Virgin Mary Had One Son: Joan Baez/Bob Gibson
  6. Wayfaring Stranger: Bob Gibson
  7. The Hangman: John Jacob Niles
  8. I Know an Old Lady: Alan Mills


  1. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye: Tom Makem
  2. The Whistling Gypsy: Tom Makem
  3. The Cobbler's Song: Tom Makem
  4. Railroad Bill: Cisco Houston
  5. The Cat Came Back: Cisco Houston
  6. East Virginia Blues: Pete Seeger
  7. Old Joe Clark: Jimmy Driftwood
  8. The Unfortunate Man: Jimmy Driftwood

LP Notes:

An anthology, issued by the Book of the Month Club. The 24 page booklet, complete with accurate lyrics and extensive notes, lists it as:



Book-of-the-Month CLub, Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York 14, N.Y.

The lengthy notes attached to each song are on the same page as the lyric. Click on the link to read the original notes that accompanied the song.


Jim Clark

My favorite anthology ever. Criminally unavailable on CD (except to me! and boy, it sounds great) this box set displays Cisco's greatest hits, one after another, and makes a potent statement for our claim that Cisco was the male folk-singer of his era. No bad ones here, just one great vocal after another, with surprisingly strong guitar and delightful arrangements. And then, in the middle of Side 8, these performances conclude with a sincere and touching "Thank you so much" to an enthusiastic audience, and I well up with tears, knowing he'd be dead soon after.

And other than Cisco's excellence, it is all nearly as good. An almost perfect blend of flavors, in an order that may make sense because I've heard these songs in this order for 40 years, but sounds mighty good to those with whom I've shared it. Odetta gets two full sides and deserves every moment, one powerful, knockout song after another. Most of my favorite performances of hers are on this, with only "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down" and her exquisite work with Harry Belafonte missing. Touches of some lesser artists, a wonderful live rendition by Alan Mills of the lady who swallowed a fly, a bit of history with Alfred Deller offering a couple of folk songs that opened my ears way back then, and a hysterical closing cut that makes a perfect conclusion. Hardly a weak cut among the 65, this is one excellent anthology.

One of the frequent memories of those older than about 30 is how free childhood was back then. Most of us went outside in the morning, returned briefly for dinner, and escaped to the world until bedtime. Games were organized by the kids playing them, streets were avenues to the far corners of the known world, and parents were arbitrary and bizarre creatures who appeared only to bring bad news. We lived free, had fun, and learned life's lessons at our pace and in our way. And most of us made it.

But no longer. No, today's kids are protected from spontaneous games, germs, weather, competition, failure, loss, disappointment, solitude, and anything distasteful. Who would let their children listen to "The Cat Came Back" today?

They dropped him in the hopper when the butcher wasn't round, the cat disappeared with a blood-curdling shriek, and the town's meat tasted furry for a week.

That line still makes me laugh after multiple decades. And who knows, may be part of the reason I embraced vegetarianism.

The included booklet, while lengthy, is disappointing for several reasons. Cisco gets almost no mention, though he performs 14 songs. He was Woody's pal, he died young, and he had a '27 Chevy. No, I'd prefer a bit more biography to this myth-making. The notes are a wonderful trip back to the very early days of the "Everything Wrong In The World Is America's Fault" thinking. Read the notes to the Buffalo Skinners. Though the song says nothing about government policy, the notes focus heavily on that travesty. And by any stretch of the imagination, both John Hardy and Railroad Bill are vicious murderers. But here they are "heroes" fighting against the capitalist system that crushes and destroys. No one in John Hardy is sorry to see him die. The singer of Railroad Bill does not think of Bill has an outlaw hero but as an enemy to be dispatched. And there is no mention of the vigilante justice that pervades East Texas Red and Railroad Bill. Men for whom the criminal justice sytem offers no recourse take it upon themselves to do the job, and then sit down and eat after committing murder.

We welcome any suggestions, contributions, or questions. You send it, we'll consider using it. Help us spread the word. And the music. And thanks for visiting.