Though recorded in in 1973,this release is the first time these tracks have seen the light of day. The 'out there' material on this album owes much to the spirit of freedom and experimentation of the sixties. It's not hard to understand why it couldn't find backer at the time.
Chris Gantry - real name Christopher Cedzich - was born 1942 and moved to Nashville when he was 21. This meant he was lucky enough to hang out with luminaries and fellow 'outlaws' Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. It was at the latter's studio that these eclectic tracks were laid down.
Gantry had previously made a couple of albums which showed that he was more than capable of turning his hand to relatively 'straight' country tunes. His 'Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife' was a big hit when it was covered by Glen Campbell.
However, the songs on At The House Of Cash are something else and show that his musical ambitions extended further afield to include influences from contemporary jazz and psychedelic pop. Gantry puts into practice a 'follow your dreams' philosophy and he's not overly concerned who's interested in coming on the trip with him.
Surreal, druggy lyrics are sung or spoken and backed by loose arrangements that give the impression that the eleven tracks were laid down on the fly involving a fair amount of improvisation.
Gantry gabbles something about "hepcats" on Oobablap, imagines conversing with a reptile in The Lizard and, in Tear, traces the convoluted pseudo mystical journey of a spot of water which is destined to become a teardrop.
Hatred For Feeny is a bizarre religious parable in which Judas meets King of Jews and says "get your threads and mumbled something nuts about a cross".
In a more secular vein, Flower Of The Mountain contains thinly veiled sexual content ""so much honey that you're spilling over .......melting love all over you".
The obvious insincerity of the Saddest Song Ever Sung is a further indication that Gantry had grown bored with conventional love songs and predictable break-up tunes.
To call all this self indulgent is putting it mildly. As a social document, it's good that this 'lost' album has been found but from a musical perspective it's likely to exasperate as many people as it enthralls.
Chris Gantry's website