Cisco Houston Web Site


Cisco Houston Photo Gallery

A handsome guy who didn't like his picture taken

<< Prev  Index  Next >>
Mike Porco & Cisco Houston

A visibly ill Cisco Houston with Mike Porco, who ran Gerdes Folk City, in Greenwich Village, NYC. Cisco played here in February 1961 prior to returning to California and his unfortunate death in April. The photograph was probably taken during Cisco's stand at Folk City.

Gerdes has been spelt in different ways over the years. Either Gerdes or Gerdes' is correct, though copies of their own advertisements exist in which Gerde's is used. The Porco brothers bought the place from a man named Gerdes.

Photo courtesy Ian Woodward

Arlo Guthrie on This Performance:

The first time Guthrie performed in public he was just 13 years old.

"My dad's best friend was a guy named Cisco Houston," he begins. "And my first recollection of ever playing in front of people ... was at a place called Gerde's Folk City in 1961. I was 13, and I went to see Cisco who was playing there.

"We didn't know it, but Cisco was really ill. It was gonna be his last show."

Back then, Guthrie always carried his guitar around. It was Greenwich Village, after all, and the folk phenomenon was just starting to hit big. Halfway through his show, "Cisco said, 'Arlo, would you come up and sing a few songs?'

"I froze -- like a deer in the headlights! I couldn't breathe," he remembers. "But somehow I got through it."

Backstage Guthrie promised himself "You are never doing that again." But it didn't work out that way. The scene's allure was too strong to resist. Richard Dyer-Bennet, Odetta, "a young Judy Collins, just coming in from Colorado or something," he muses. "It all began to change in the early '60s. All of a sudden, there was this new breath of fresh air.


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.