“Jonathan David” is a single released by Belle & Sebastian on Jeepster in 2001. The lead track gets its name from the biblical duo of Jonathan and David, while “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” is a reference to Alan Sillitoe’s short story “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” The front cover features band members Mick Cooke and Bobby Kildea with Gill Dodds. All three tracks from the single were later collected on the Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. The title track was the band’s first single to feature lead vocals from guitarist Stevie Jackson.
The allmusic review:-
The B&S railroad rebounds from that mess of unforeseen mediocrity, the “Legal Man” EP. Perhaps it’s hard to carp at a group that’s restored the lost Brit tradition of “all exclusive tracks” EPs (making them like Buzzcocks, the Smiths, or Mega City Four in that regard), as opposed to LP singles with rip-off B-sides on two separate CDs. But “Legal Man” mixed an advanced sense of humor with… shockingly zero musical inspiration. So, hurrah, these three tunes tap back into this bunch’s pumping artery of graceful, sonorous songcraft. Perhaps “Jonathan David” should have been sung by superior talent Stuart Murdoch, but its piano-driven brooding chords (enhanced by an eerie church organ) support a sterling melody more arresting than anything off Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant. Great Zombies-inspired a cappella harmony bridge, too! Then, when Murdoch retakes the mike on the oddly titled “Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It,” he trills over deep orchestral violins, cellos, and sweet country lap steel that float like carefree balloons, making old fans swoon the world over. Finally, the similarly excellent, more bouncy/jaunty “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” wins official release at last.
Readers from last week will know that I disagree strongly with the above reviewer as I thought, and still do, that Legal Man was a tremendous single. And I disagree too with the view that Jonathan David was a return to form. And that’s primarily down to the fact that Stevie Jackson‘s attempts at lead vocal have tended to grate over all the years. Yup, its a fine tune but I don’t listen to it very often.
The other two songs though really are worth it. Carriage Clock is a lovely lament about the futility of devoting your life to the factory or office while Middle Distance Runner is something of a lost 45 in my opinion. It was a song that had been around for a while, including if my memory serves me correctly, a live performance on TV about a year or maybe as much as 18 months prior to its release.0
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Jonathan David
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner
The song reached #31 in the UK charts; not as high as Legal Man but still very respectable given there was hardly any radio play.