Jonathan King

100 Ton & A Feather

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Another Jonathan King creation, of course. 100 Ton & a Feather was the alias that he created in 1976, to fire a dramatically fiddle-fired version of Tavares' "It Only Takes a Minute" up the U.K. chart and, of course, that foot-tapping jewel opens the "group"'s one-and-only album. It is not, however, their one-and-only trick. Although a follow-up single, "Do You Want to Know a Secret," went nowhere, 100 Ton & a Feather is classic King, buoyant, brutal, and unerringly accurate with every barb it fires at pop's body politick. The heart of the album lies in the handful of cover versions that litter the landscape -- a beautifully MOR rendition of Elton John's "Skyline Pigeon" restates the melodic majesty of the song before Elton himself began throwing orchestras at it, while Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy" might not be the most logical candidate for wobble-board accompaniment, but King's feather light arrangement demands little else. Eternally upbeat, from the shoo-be-doo-bedecked take on "Rag Doll," through to the sarcastically-slinky disco of "Sweet Surrender," and on to a chillingly sweet rendition of the Christmas song "When a Child Is Born," 100 Ton & a Feather is one of King's greatest albums -- and is also, trivia fans, only the second full-length LP he ever turned over to one of his pseudonyms.