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Album: The World Is A GhettoReleased: 1972Charted:
The Cisco Kid was a popular TV show that ran from 1950-1956, and also a series of movies. The title character, played by Duncan Renaldo in the TV show, was a Mexican cowboy who embarked on various adventures in the Old West.
War guitarist Howard Scott came up with the idea for this song. Drummer Harold Brown told us how it came together: "Howard has always been a major contributor. He was in Compton, he had this apartment. I came up there and when I got up there he was sitting on his amp. He said, 'Harold, I got this idea. Cisco kid was a friend of mine.' That idea came about because there were no ethnic heroes at that time. Mainly, we were seeing people like Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers. There wasn't really anybody to relate to except Cisco Kid. He was like the total different kind of person.
We wanted to give kids, people, another alternative besides the ones that were right in our face, obvious heroes. And it worked out really good, because it had the right kind of hook, it was a fun song. People at that time didn't want to be hearing about no more wars or anything, they just wanted fun music. And the tonality was brilliant."
Brown's drumming was inspired by a Sam & Dave song called "I Thank You." He used a technique where he played on the rim.
The band got to meet Cisco Kid star Duncan Renaldo. Says Brown: "We went up to his house, and his wife made sure to let everybody know, 'He don't drink. He don't drink no wine.' I remember that to this day. They were beautiful, warm people. We sat there with him. He lived up in Camarillo, up outside of Santa Barbara, California."
During War's live shows, they sometimes used a Cisco Kid
movie clip to open the show. In the clip, The Cisco Kid would say, "See you later, amigo," and War would go into this song. (Thanks to Harold Brown
for speaking with us about this song. Along with 3 other original members of War, Brown formed The Lowrider Band in 2007. Check out their website at lowriderband.com