Cisco Houston & Woody Guthrie, 1940s

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My dad met up with Cisco Houston probably sometime in the late thirties or early forties, and they palled around until my father got sick... I met Cisco in the fifties when my Dad was in the hospital... I remember the last night I saw him play because it was the first time I ever played, in 1961. I found out later that he was sick with cancer, and had been for some time. He refused any treatment or medication... and died in California shortly after.

One dramatic night at Folk City was the last performance of Cisco Houston. He could literally hardly stand on his feet, but he wanted to go on with his engagement. A whole bunch of us came down for that show -- The Weavers, The Tarriers, Pete Seeger, Arlo, and Bobby Dylan was there...

Robbie Woliver, Hoot! A 25-Year History of the Greenwich Village Music Scene, St. Martin's Press, 1986, p. 52

On an afternoon in February of 1961, Woody's friends gathered to play some music for him at One Sheridan Square, the Greenwich Village nightclub that formerly had been Cafe Society. Lee Hays remembered Cisco walking in, riddled with cancer, and seeing Woody there, shaking so badly that he barely could hold on to his seat. "Cisco went over to him," Hays remembered, "and kissed Woody on the forehead and Woody, who was always a macho sort and never much for physical contact, seemed to lift his head up in order to be kissed. It was a stunning moment." Cisco died on April 29, 1961.

Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie -- A Life, London, 1981, p. 428.

"Cisco Houston sings the Songs of Woody Guthrie"
(1963; CD re-issue Vanguard VMD 2131): THIS LAND:


with ERIC WEISSBERG (ex-GREENBRIAR BOY, ex-TARRIER), banjo, mandolin and fiddle; total time: 46:40

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