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Best of the Vanguard Years

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Of the singers who brought folk into the modern era around World War II, Cisco Houston seems to have less name recognition than either Woody Guthrie or Leadbelly. Not a songwriter himself, Houston did a great deal to promote the songs and legacy of Guthrie during the mid- to late-'50s, and a number of songs on this recording come from Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie. Houston also brings his smooth baritone to bear on a number of traditional songs, many of them with a political bent harking back to the Depression years. "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is a hobo song, a fantasy about a place where a bum can have everything that he or she desires. "Talking Dust...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Of the singers who brought folk into the modern era around World War II, Cisco Houston seems to have less name recognition than either Woody Guthrie or Leadbelly. Not a songwriter himself, Houston did a great deal to promote the songs and legacy of Guthrie during the mid- to late-'50s, and a number of songs on this recording come from Cisco Houston Sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie. Houston also brings his smooth baritone to bear on a number of traditional songs, many of them with a political bent harking back to the Depression years. "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is a hobo song, a fantasy about a place where a bum can have everything that he or she desires. "Talking Dust Bowl" is a fun, apocalyptic little song about leaving one's home in a broken-down car, driving down a crooked mountain, and having an accident that "scatters wives and children all over the side [of] that mountain." He offers an amusing version of "Badman Ballad," a song similar in structure and content to "Cocaine Blues." Unlike "Cocaine Blues," though, Houston's narrator shoots and kills a deputy sheriff not his woman because he was feeling mean not because he was on cocaine, and the overall tone is kept light and humorous. Most of these songs feature pretty straightforward arrangements, either with Houston on guitar or accompanied by a few friends. There are several tracks that have not been released before, including a fine version of "John Hardy." This collection of Houston material will be welcomed by old fans and is a good place to start for those wishing to learn more about the legendary folksinger.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/31/2000
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • UPC: 015707957427
  • Catalog Number: 79574
  • Sales rank: 171,179

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 This Train (2:21)
  2. 2 Roll on Columbia (3:10)
  3. 3 Colorado Trail (2:36)
  4. 4 Dark as a Dungeon (2:56)
  5. 5 Hard Traveling (1:55)
  6. 6 Old Blue (3:18)
  7. 7 Nine Hundred Miles (3:27)
  8. 8 Badman Ballad (2:30)
  9. 9 Diamond Joe (2:37)
  10. 10 John Hardy (2:21)
  11. 11 Big Rock Candy Mountain (2:35)
  12. 12 So Long It's Been Good (2:41)
  13. 13 Buffalo Skinners (3:32)
  14. 14 Pastures of Plenty (3:13)
  15. 15 Grand Coulee Dam (2:34)
  16. 16 Hard, Ain't It Hard (1:55)
  17. 17 Pretty Boy Floyd (3:28)
  18. 18 Do Re Mi (2:35)
  19. 19 Deportees (4:43)
  20. 20 Tramp on the Street (2:24)
  21. 21 Talking Dust Bowl (2:16)
  22. 22 This Land Is Your Land (2:42)
  23. 23 Way Out There (3:41)
  24. 24 Chilly Winds (2:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Cisco Houston Primary Artist, Guitar
Eric Weissberg Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin
Milton Okun Conductor
Technical Credits
Big Bill Broonzy Composer
Woody Guthrie Composer
A.P. Carter Composer
Lee Hays Producer
Huddie Ledbetter Composer
Harold Leventhal Producer
Captain Jeff Zaraya Engineer
Ed Ward Liner Notes
Georgette Cartwright Creative Services Director
Traditional Composer
Martin Hoffman Composer
G. Houston Composer
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