The Songs He Sang
Green Lilac Hill: Lyrics
As performed by Cisco Houston
Gil Houston and Bob EctonAppears on:
With Rambling, Gambling Man
I often have wondered why women love men I have wondered so often how men could love them And by sad experience I found it quite true That men are deceitful and women are too Chorus: Green are the lilacs that grow on the hill And green is the love that I hold for you still I love you my darling and I always will Since the day first kissed you on Green Lilac Hill My sweetheart and I were so happy and gay And one day we quarrelled and she went away Now that's she left me 'tis sad I shall be I know that she cares no longer for me Chorus: I sent her love letters, I wrote her love lines I tied them with lilacs all twisted in twine She sent me an answer so very unkind Saying "Keep your love letters and I will keep mine" Chorus:
I live in a smallish town of 9,000 in the least attractive part of New Mexico. However, we have a nice library building. And one of the surprising benefits of life in the backwaters is that books tend to stay on the shelves of small-town libraries long, long after they go out-of-print or out-of-date. I recently browsed the music section's reference shelf and found a book titled "Folksingers and Folksongs of America" by Ray Lawless. This was the second edition, published in 1965 by Duell, Sloan and Pierce. The first edition came out in 1960, so most of the information on more than 200 folk and traditional performers was collected in the late 1950's.
In this copy, the Cisco Houston biography takes up parts of pages 118-119. In addition to the standard version of Cisco's life, Mr. Lawless writes: "Besides strictly folk music, Cisco has done recordings for Decca of his own compositions, with, as he says, 'folk flavor.' Among these are 'Green Lilac Hill' and 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man.' This latter was aired twice on TV, on the Sid Caesar 'Your Show of Shows' hour. Cisco has also recorded in the popular music field with the orchestras of Lynn Murray, Victor Young, Gordon Jenkins and George Barnes."
This prompted a search for these 78s, and we have found some of them. And listened to them. This is one. For better or for worse.
Gil the pop singer tries hard with a composition of his own. The syrupy arrangment does not show his voice to its best advantage though. Not a bad one, but nothing eternal here. See the sheet music cover: Here for a view of how hard he was working to break through.