Best of the Vanguard Years

Best of the Vanguard Years

by Cisco Houston


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.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/31/2000
Label: Vanguard Records
UPC: 0015707957427
catalogNumber: 79574

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