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cissy houston

Cissy Houston

b. Emily 'Cissy' Drinkard Houston, 30th September 1933, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Cissy Houston hails from New Jersey.

She is Whitney Houston's mother, the sister of Lee Warwick, who in turn, is the mother of Dee Dee Warwick and Dionne Warwick.

Born under the name of Emily Drinkard, Cissy is one of eight children (the youngest), to Nicholas and Delia Drinkard.

When she was very young, her mother suffered a stroke and died of cerebral haemorrhage, followed in a few years by her father, who passed away from stomach cancer.

Cissy sang with the family group, the Drinkard Four during the late Thirties.

Her sister, Lee, then joined the family group, (now known as the Drinkard Sisters), along with Ann Moss and Marie Epps.

Drinkard Singers

the drinkard sisters in 1958 (judy clay-centre, ann moss, larry drinkard, lee warwick and marie epps)

When she was 21, she married n 1954, although the marriage was only to last two years, and Cissy met her second husband, whom she married in 1959.

Cissy, Whitney and John

cissy, whitney and john houston (circa 1987)

Her marriage to John Houston (an ex-army serviceman) saw Cissy giving birth to her daughter Whitney in 1963.

Cissy teamed up with her niece, Dee Dee Warwick and Doris Troy to form the Sweet Inspirations.

Later members were Estelle Brown, and the late Sylvia Shemwell and Myrna Smith.

The Sweet Inspirations performed for many major artists including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls, Otis Redding, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison.

They also sang background vocals for Elvis Presley in Las Vegas on his return to live performances during mid 1969.

Presenting Cissy HoustonThe Long and Winding Road

presenting cissy houston - 1970 / the long and winding road - 1971

Cissy left the Sweet Inspirations that year, choosing a solo career, and releasing 'Presenting Cissy Houston' for the Major Minor imprint, in 1970, which included her versions of 'I'll Be There' and 'Be My Baby'.

She is the featured vocalist on three tracks 'Mexican Divorce', 'All Kinds of People' and 'One Less Bell to Answer' on Burt Bacharach's 1971 solo album that year.

She left the Major Minor label for a 1971 album on Pye Records, before signing to the Private Stock label during 1977.

Cissy HoustonThink It OverWarning-DangerStep Aside Or A Lady

cissy houston - 1977 / think it over - 1978 / warning-danger - 1979 / step aside for a lady - 1980

There she began working with arranger/producer Michael Zager for three albums, 1977's Cissy Houston', 1978's 'Think It Over' and 1979's 'Warning - Danger'.

The song 'Think It Over', reached number 32 on the Billboard R&B chart and just missed the Hot 100 in 1979.

When she relocated to the Columbia/EMI label for 1980's 'Step Aside For A Lady', she took Michael Zager along with her on production chores.

A very much in demand vocalist, Cissy has collaborated with Herbie Mann on two of his Atlantic Records Seventies releases.

She was a choirmaster at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey during the early Eighties.

In 1985, the UK independent label Glitter released singles on Cissy called 'With You I Could Have It All' and 'Whatcha Gonna Do About Our Love'.

I'll Take Care Of YouFace To FaceHe Leadeth MeLove Is Holding You

i'll take care of you - 1992 / face to face - 1996 / he leadeth me - 1998 / love is holding you - 2001

In 1992 she collaborated with Chuck Jackson for an album entitled 'I'll Take Care of You' for the Shanachie imprint.

Cissy returned to her Gospel roots in the 1990s and received a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for 'Face to Face', in 1996.

She followed up this release with her 1998 album 'He Leadeth Me'.

In 1996 she also contributed one song to the gospel soundtrack album for the film 'The Preacher's Wife', which starred her daughter Whitney Houston alongside Denzel Washington.

In 1987, Cissy and Whitney recorded a duet entitled 'I Know Him So Well', (the Andrew Lloyd Webber song).

In 2006, she recorded the song 'Family First' with niece Dionne Warwick and daughter Whitney Houston for the soundtrack to the movie 'Daddy's Little Girls'.

Cissy Houston

Real Player



Presenting Cissy Houston (Major Minor Records 1970)

The Long And Winding Road (Pye Records 1971)

Cissy Houston (Private Stock Records 1977)

Think It Over (Private Stock Records 1978)

Warning - Danger (Private Stock Records 1979)

Step Aside For A Lady (EMI Records 1980)

with Chuck Jackson:

I'll Take Care Of You (Shanachie Records 1992)


Face To Face (House Of Blues Records 1996)

He Leadeth Me (House Of Blues Records 1997)

with Whitney Houston:

Love Is Holding You (Neon Records 2001)

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