Jonathan King

Sound 9418

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Quite possibly the most overtly calculated album in Jonathan King's entire catalog, Sound 9418 was conceived as a response to a quite inexplicable wave of Glenn Miller-mania sweeping the U.K. during 1976. Miller's own music was selling up a storm and King's own first tentative toe in the water, a more or less straight-faced cover of "In the Mood," only added to the barrage. This album, however, might well have been a step too far, as he reduces both his own greatest hit, and a clutch of other people's, to the same easy-swinging mode. No expense appears to have been spared on the arrangements or orchestration, and much of the material was extraordinarily well selected -- even "My Boy Lollipop" works in the context, while "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" is delightful, if you like swing.

There is a school of thought that places King alongside Frank Zappa among rock's most brilliantly innovative satirists, and a vast body of work to back that opinion up. By that token, Sound 9418 might well be his Cruising With Reuben & the Jets, a pastiche that's delivered so straight-faced that the joke itself is lost in the translation.