Cisco Houston Web Site

The Songs He Sang

Talking Guitar Blues: Lyrics

As performed by Cisco Houston

Traditional, Additional words Cisco Houston

Appears on:
Wanna get in trouble? I'll tell you how to do it.
Just get a guitar, and then you're in to it.
Practice all day and half the night
Folks tell ya you never will get it right
Always fussin' at ya,
Grousing, won't let you practice
Trying to run you out of the hen house

Bought a guitar about a year ago
And the fella said I'd learn in a week or so
Then he give me a book and a pick or two,
And he said
"There it is Bud, it's up to you"
That dirty dog...
Charged me four ninety-five
Every cent of money I had
Cotton pickin' money too

Since I'd already spent my dough,
I didn't want it to go to waste, you know
So I took the guitar, the book and all
I went down home where the grass grows tall
Down there in Virginia
Good place to be if you got a guitar
Don't amount to a great deal if you ain't

Well, for weeks and weeks I labored hard
Just a -tryin' to learn those few main chords
The book said it was easy as A-B-C
But, oh my fingers is a-killing me
Got sore on the ends
Couldn't mash the strings down
Felt disgusted
Wanted to quit

But I practiced hard both night and day
And I could see ma's hair was turning gray
Her face was lined with discontent
She said her patience was darn near spent
She was agitated,
Wanted to scream

My sister she took it the worst of all
'Cause she got married that comin' fall
She said it was love but I got my doubts
I think that guitar drove her out
She's a game gal, though,
She just couldn't take it
Said there was a limit to everything

My dad he took it a differnt way
He said "Son you may turn your ma's hair gray
And drive your sister away from home
But either you or me is going roaming,
And I ain't leaving boy"
He said "I never intended to
You figure it out"
Well, I did, kinda quick

Next day after my clothes were packed
I slung that guitar across my back
And I caught me the end of a long gray train
To search this world for my share of fame
But I ain't found any
Nothing but hardships,
And handouts

Notes from the Folk Song & Minstrelsy Set

In the style of the talking blues, Cisco Houston relates the trials and tribulations of a would-be guitarist.

Of note:

If I had to select the one Cisco performance that captures his essence, this would be it. Funny, clever, and ultimately sad without being defeated. His voice is perfect, his simple guitar accompanies exquisitely. The song that says "This guy is good!"

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