Jonathon Round sounds like The Decepticon named Starscream in his 1971 cover of “Sympathy For The Devil” by Mick Jagger, first released by The Rolling Stones. It’s uncanny. Listen to this track.
Christopher Collins was the voice actor that played Starscream on the original animated series from the 1980s. Maybe he heard this album in the 70s and then did his own take on the voice for The Transformers original animated series. It’s plausible. At times in this recording Round sounds like Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe. Collins voiced that character as well.
Some of the Mick Jagger penned lyrics are recited in a creepy somewhat Victorian style rather than sung. Sometimes the singing sounds like it belongs on a Black Sabbath track rather than an acoustic-folk number. When he belts out “Anastasia Screamed” and also when he laughs, it sounds just like that Decepticon from The Transformers.
Ever since I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, we would pull out The Jonathon Round LP around Halloween to play this cover. Not only is the song about The Devil, it has spooky sound effects.
Round (1949-2009) was apparently from the Detroit area. This would explain how my mother got a hold of his self-titled album. I still have the LP and we play it on the live stream during the Halloween season. In researching the album, I was shocked to find out that it was also released in Germany, Britain, and Spain.
Neither discogs nor allmusic have much information about this artist. It took some digging to find out anything. I discovered a few reviews of this album transcribed to a Facebook memorial group from eBay. I could not find these reviews on eBay but they seem legit.
“John was a larger-than-life man… a self-taught guitarist. His songs were a unique blend of observation, experience, fantasy, and politics. … [He was] most noted for his version of ‘Sympathy For the Devil’. Mick Jagger even mentioned this cut on-air as one of his favorite covers” (CaptainPeace, 2009)
“If you think Jonathon’s cover shots are scary, well, just wait’ll you hear this guy sing! This is the voice of a drama student on meth – overly emotive, nearly operatic grand gestures punctuated by that downright creepy maniacal laugh.” (fourthhostcelestials, 2008)
The folk-singer fad was over by the time he recorded this album.
“What you really have to wonder is how this album came out on the Westbound label. I mean, they were both from Detroit, but Westbound was known for funk and soul artists like Funkadelic, The Ohio Players and The Detroit Emeralds. Jonathan doesn’t fit into the funk category at all, but …somehow he got it done, and then got ‘em to release it in a fancy trick sleeve, all the while captivating audiences with his demonic stage show” (fourthhostcelestials, 2008)