Election Special

Election Special

With his dashing good looks, pencil-thin mustache, and athlete’s build, Cisco Houston looked more movie star than folk singer. He was bumming around the fringes of Hollywood in the late ‘30s, trying to land bit film parts, when he met singer Woody Guthrie, who was then performing on the local KFVD radio station. Woody and Cisco forged a quick friendship and made an immediate musical connection; Houston, though naturally a baritone, could sing high tenor harmonies that perfectly complemented Guthrie’s rougher sing-speak style of delivery. Houston spent years as Guthrie’s protégé, learning guitar at his elbow and absorbing his formidable repertoire of traditional and original songs. Eventually, Cisco emerged as a performer in his own right, and this collection gathers together two 10-inch EPs that he recorded for the label in the early ‘50s. Houston’s delivery is far more formal and self-consciously dramatic than his mentor’s, and these songs have a theatrical quality that anticipates the more stylized work of ‘60s-era folk revivalists like Dave Van Ronk and Peter Lafarge.

Other Versions

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada