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Cisco Houston, Best of the Vanguard Years

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Cisco Houston, Best of the Vanguard Years CD cover artwork

Cisco Houston, Best of the Vanguard Years

Audio CD

Disk ID: 28899

Disk length: 1h 7m 50s (24 Tracks)

Original Release Date: 2000

Label: Unknown

View all albums by Cisco Houston...

“Best of the Vanguard Years” Tracks & Durations

1. This Train 2:21
2. Roll On Columbia 3:10
3. Colorado Trail 2:36
4. Dark As A Dungeon 2:56
5. Hard Traveling 1:55
6. Old Blue 3:18
7. Nine Hundred Miles 3:27
8. Badman Ballad 2:30
9. Diamond Joe 2:37
10. John Hardy 2:21
11. Big Rock Candy Mountain 2:35
12. So Long It's Been Good 2:41
13. Buffalo Skinners 3:32
14. Pastures Of Plenty 3:13
15. Grand Coulee Dam 2:34
16. Hard, Ain't It Hard 1:55
17. Pretty Boy Floyd 3:28
18. Do Re Mi 2:35
19. Deportees 4:43
20. Tramp On The Street 2:24
21. Talking Dust Bowl 2:16
22. This Land Is Your Land 2:42
23. Way Out There 3:41
24. Chilly Winds 2:09

Note: The information about “Best of the Vanguard Years” album is acquired from the publicly available resources and we are not responsible for their accuracy.


If the track listing for this compilation suggests that Cisco Houston was a one-man Woody Guthrie cover band, that's because, quite simply, he was. Houston met Guthrie in California in 1938, and the two former hoboes crossed paths time and time again, frequently recording and performing together, up until Guthrie's diagnosis with Huntington's Chorea. As an interpreter, Houston's pure and easy baritone sometimes lent affecting charm to Guthrie's songs (as on the playful version of "Hard Traveling"), sometimes an eerie solemnity (as on his operatic, Gene Autry-esque interpretation of "Nine Hundred Miles"). Still, there's no escaping that Houston's refined singing shared more with Broadway musicals than with the cowboys, drifters, and workers of which he sang. His gentile, noble approach hasn't aged well, even if his voice did much to popularize these folk songs in the '50s and '60s. His music, however, while only intermittently successful, remains indispensable to understanding the folk revival as a whole. --Roy Kasten