Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aug 18 (2013, 1918) Born: Songwriter Cisco Houston

Woody Guthrie (left) with Cisco Houston

On this day in 1918, folk singing legend Gilbert Vandine 'Cisco' Houston was born. Cisco performed frequently with Woody Guthrie, and was an inspiration to many other folk legends like Bob Dylan and Tom Paxton. Sometimes faulted for singing too well for his genre, he once said:

"There's always a form of theater that things take; even back in the Ozarks, as far as you want to go. People gravitate to the best singer...We have people today who go just the other way, and I don't agree with them. Some of our folksong exponents seem to think you have to go way back in the hills and drag out the worst singer in the world before it's authentic. Now, this is nonsense...Just because he's old and got three arthritic fingers and two strings left on the banjo doesn't prove anything."

Hear Cisco Houston perform St. James Infirmary.

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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.