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JD Meatyard
JD Meatyard
CD on Probe Plus
Cat No: PROBE66 , Stk Ref 78924

Released on: 30 November 2011

Magazine Review
An exile in Rotterdam now, former Levellers and Calvin Party head John Donaldson goes unplugged, well almost, and becomes a protest singer, a singer-songwriter if you like.

Stripping one or two songs from Calvin Party's albums down to the core message and with the lyrics left in, JD soon starts to become unsettling. Crude, honest and direct, the CD deals with love and tenderness as well as with political issues, all in a similar vein. The basic orchestration of these songs, which are of varied content, makes for a consistent set.

Borrowing from Hank Williams the line "I am so lonesome I could cry", JD goes full cycle, expressing both a loss of love and his losing faith in the political system. I was reminded of the Pogues towards their greatest heights. The odd turn that JD took, moving to Holland and going Americana, ultimately makes sense.

Beneath the surface, guitar play like that of Leo Kottke builds the right atmosphere for reflection on 'Some Small Tragedy'. Followed immediately by 'Saint Peter At The Gate', private and public touches meet neatly together in tranquil juxtaposition. In terms of music, the mood throughout remains quiet and calm, yet JD Meatyard's use and abuse of the snares is at times breathtaking. Check the latter stage of 'Marianne' for proof of this.

This eponymous album, had the working title of 'Make My Life Better'. This has very much serves as a guideline. It should tickle the fancy of Bob Dylan fans.

Maarten Schiethart


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Visitor Reviews

Rating: 4 - jd meatyard top songs
Reviewed By: Pat. D
From: blackburn england

I have followed Donaldsons career from back in the lev's 5 days.
He's not always been easy listening at all, with some great songs mixed with a few that are more than jarring to the ear and questionable production.
But he's always been a protest singer! His Calvin Party album - Lies Lies and Government - nuff said!

This latest album is a surprise and a real cracker. A bit of Wainwright (the original one), a bit of Elliot Smith with a touch of Mark E Smith - perfect!

Real heartfelt songs and a political edge that is absolutely right for these times.
I only hope that this album gets the airing that it deserves.

'No Place Like Home', 'Myspace Star, 'Take it All Back' and 'Olive Tree' are fine songs.

Anyone that was consistently backed by the great Peelie is ok in my book.


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