Paul W. Dennis | Winter Springs, FL USA | 01/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Henson Cargill was a smooth-voiced native of Oklahoma whose first charted hit was "Skip A Rope", a monster hit which spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1968 and also was a major pop hit. Unfortunately, he never again approached that level of success, with his only top ten hit being "None of My Business" which reached #8 in 1969. His other top 20 songs were "Row, Row, Row" (the immediate follow up to "Skip A Rope")which reached #11, and "The Most Uncomplicated Goodbye" which rerched #18.
The lack of lasting chart success did not mean a lack of quality in subsequent recordings. Cargill is sometimes referred to as the 'Zen Cowboy' due to the deeply philosophical lyrics of the songs that attracted Cargill's interest. Songs such as "Reprints (Plastic People)", "Skip A Rope", "None of My Business" "This Generation Shall Not Pass" and "I Wonder Where They'll Sleep Tonight" reflected a degree of social consciousness rarely encountered in country singers of that era. Cargill was classified as folk-country and marketed to both areas. Production on these Monument recordings isn't hard country usually lacking steel guitar and fiddles.
I only saw him on TV once, and he didn't seem to be a terribly charismatic performer, although with his vocal quality that SHOULD NOT have mattered. This collection only covers his tenure on Monument but it contains 7 of his 8 top 40 songs (missing "Some Old Cailfornia Memory" which reached #28 on the Atlantic label in 1973). Twenty-seven songs, all of them good."
Belize Bop | NYC | 04/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE WIRE (U.K Magazine)
A VERY WELL TRAVELLED MAN
JACK BLANCHARD AND MISTY MORGAN
LIFE AND DEATH (AND ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE)
BY DEREK WALMSLEY
Country music is filled with artists whose long, hard careers are remembered for just one crossover hit - and the mission of the new label of Australia's David Thrussell (of Snog, Black Lung and Soma) is to dig beneath such novelties to see what happened as they dropped off the radar. As might be expected, the truth about such artists is often stranger than their fictions. Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan are remembered for their 1970 hit "The Tennessee Bird Walk", but Life and Death (And Almost Everything Else) covers an entire bizarre career of murmured, bitchy duets, like a married couple breaking up over karaoke after too many tequilas. Their schtick endures best on their occasionally wistful Burt Bacharach-esque moments such as "The Dum Song".
Much stronger is Henson Cargill's retrospective A Very Well Travelled Man. His trademark laconic delivery has an undeniable edge of humour, timing his deadpan punchline perfectly on "None Of My Business" - "I read about a girl, I forgot about her name/ she was screaming for help, and ... nobody came/ but it's none of my business." But the epic "Reprints (Plastic People)" - "All choose the same set, the same restaurant/ all choose exactly the same moment to run/ all thought in each mind, must be back at one" - is a reductio ad absurdum of modern life that's as incisive as Jacques Tati's bewildered Hulot in Playtime. The description `Zen Country' is well earned and the retrospective is timely."
A Cult Artist Waiting To Happen.
Knock Drop | 01/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
By Jo Roberts
December 29, 2005
Anthology of Henson Cargill's country crooning shows the man is a cult waiting to happen.
Henson Cargill was a lawyer, rancher and deputy sheriff before deciding to pursue a career in country music in the 1960s. And a fine career choice it was too, although not one that made the Oklahoma crooner a household name.
A new 27-track anthology of Cargill's catalogue compiled by - surprisingly - Melbourne electronica guru David Thrussell (Snog, Black Lung), A Very Well Travelled Man, will make you wonder how we missed Cargill the first time around.
While most country artists were singing about lost loves, cheap whiskey and lock-ups, Cargill was railing against child neglect (his 1968 chart-topper, Skip a Rope), social apathy ( None of My Business), racism ( Going Backwards) and mindless conformity ( Reprints).
He did visit country motifs, such as in the love an' leave 'em Johnny One Time and Four Shades of Love, but it was as a social commentator he made his mark. Complemented by that sultry, heavily reverbed production of the era and more key changes than you thought possible in one album, Henson Cargill is surely a cult just waiting to happen."