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Or Then Again...

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Album Review

Jonathan King's debut album, released almost two years after his initial hit single, was compiled from the string of 45's he released in both the U.S. and U.K. thereafter — of which just one, 1966's "Where the Sun Has Never Shone," proved even halfway successful. But each of the remaining numbers, the A-sides "Green Is the Grass," "Just Like a Woman," "Icicles," "Seagulls," and their corresponding flips, have a charm that is at least comparable to the hits, with King revealing himself as precisely the kind of witty, smart, and ever-so-slightly smarmy singer/songwriter one would expect from a man with his subsequent pedigree. That said, little here reveals the almost scientific understanding of pop that King would subsequently turn into such devastating value. Quite plausibly the most honest of King's many albums, the majority of the songs are performed as straight-faced as their lyrics are strait-laced, with only the aforementioned "Where the Sun Has Never Shone," and the futility-of-life shaped "Seagulls" truly hinting towards any kind of alternate subtext. "Passions of Ancient Egypt," meanwhile, could have sprung from any Cat Stevens-shaped pen of the age, suggesting that King could easily have carved himself a career in modern troubadouring, had he not veered off on so many other courses.


Born: 06 December 1944 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Jonathan King is the sort of figure who is unique to British pop music of the 1960s and 1970s. He could have no equivalent in America because of the sheer breadth of his talent and its relative superficiality. His music intersects commercial pop and comedy at several points, like a cross between Herman's Hermits, the Bee Gees, and Randy Newman, without ever getting more profound or complex than the first people on that list. He'd last about ten weeks in the American consciousness before being forgotten,...
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Or Then Again..., Jonathan King
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: 1967

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