Cowboy Songs 78 by Cisco Huston
Album Notes by Woody Guthrie
author of the new DISC book American Folksong
(This text was recycled in the Cisco Songbook as "My Friend, Cisco Houston" where they at least spelled his name correctly.)
Cisco Huston liked folk songs and folk ballads when he first heard them. He heard a few old records while he was young and in his prime and taking active parts in learning how to be an actor on the stages of the Pasadena Playhouse. He left this life because he wanted things to hit him just a little bit harder, he wanted life to sort of knock some rougher and manlier lessons into his head. He took to the sealines and the shiprails at an early age and learnt how to imitate every tongue and dialect of speech in every port and town the whole wide world around.
Cisco Huston is a champion at a lot of things. A champ swimmer, a champ runner, a champion actor, and a champion organizer of men into trade unions. Cisco likes hard hitting songs and hard hitting people. He likes to roam and to ramble, to walk, think, drink, eat and talk with oil field roughnecks, timber slippers, mine crawlers, white collar city and town workers, with clerks, with folks on the ships, on trains, on fast wheeling river barges, and to meet and to sing with the people out in the bad kinds of weathers fighting for their rights to organize and to deal with the boss in a bunch.
He plays a big high sounding guitar and is getting just about as good as they need to come. He's a man that likes most of all to meet new colors of people, newer colors of fields, hills, valleys and new looking mountains under every color of a sky. A man that rode in the merchant boats all during the war and carried picket signs saying not to send your scrap iron and oil to Japan six or seven years back fighting the goons and the thugs out along the Ryan west coast country of Frisco, Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. He always takes the hard road to get where he is going to go, never the easy one, because the easy road isn't much to build up world union men along.
He sung along with me on three trips and through three invasions in the merchant marine ships and we got torpedoed two times out of our three trips. I met a Negro boy that told me he had been torpedoed three times in one day up in the icy cold waters along our north sea coasts, and so I stopped my bragging about my two torpedoes alongside Cisco Huston who lost his brother, Slim, off the coast of Maine in the early days of the last world war, No. 2.
Cisco has been torpedoed enough times to make him one of the best. He's run into three tin fish to be right exact about it. He has made several hundred records for Moe Asch of the Disc Company, been on several nationwide radio programs, as well as BBC to Europe, and the OWI shortwave over the sea.
In my own mind, I see Cisco Huston as one of our manliest and best of our living crop of ballad and folksong singers. He is showman enough to make the grade and to hold any audience anywhere at any time. He just finished a six week's run at Cafe Society Downtown and the boss said he was going to rise and shine as high and as bright as any of the crop. I like Cisco as a man. I like him as a person, and as a funhaving, warmhearted and likeable human being.
We are lucky, I think, to have a man like Cisco Huston booking out through our office at Peoples Artists and singing fighting and militant folksongs of social protest to the honor and dignity of the working man and woman everywhere across the humps and the falls of our country here. This is a big job and it is for big people with big faith in the humanly race everywhere.
I've heard Cisco sing with the Arabs, with the Mexicans, with the Moors, the Sicilians, the Irish, Scottish, Italians, Welsh, the Cubans, the Puerto Ricans, the Russians, the Canadians, the Whites, the Blacks, the Browns, and tones and colors all in between.
I am positive that Cisco's choice of songs and ballads will always be from the deepest deeps of the breastblood that flows in such great pride and dignity from the lips and tongues of the workers everywhere around this world today, working on and working on towards the one big union of the whole humanly race.
See the album contents Here.