Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What the Reviewers are saying about STILL BURNIN' (an ongoing blog)


Posted Monday, June 16, 2008

CD Review: Batdorf & Rodney - Still Burnin'Batdorf & Rodney - Still Burnin'

2008, John Batdorf

Direct Link to the Review

Sometimes I hear a band and wonder how I missed out on them for so many years. Batdorf & Rodney are such a duo, with amazing guitar-oriented songs, velvet vocals, an innate sense of melody and music and great songwriting: They should be superstars. John Batdorf is a singer-songwriter unlike many others. He displays a real talent for the turn of a phrase - for storytelling that is more than just relating events. The guitar work here is intricate and beautiful and inevitably a perfect vehicle for each of the stories on Still Burnin'.

Picking song favorites on Still Burnin' is like trying to decide which Monet to hang in the living room. There really isn't any way to say "this is better". The quality and musicality of the songs here is at such a high level that distinctions lose their significance. That being said, I particularly enjoyed Summer Of Love, Home Again and One Day. The primarily acoustic-based sound is a welcome unplug from the electric and electronic ways of much of pop music, creating an aural treat nearly unaccustomed by contemporaries.

Batdorf & Rodney have been writing/performing great material for many years, whether apart {or} together. Still Burnin' is a fine example of their art, and very much worth getting to know.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
(Out of 5)

You can learn more about Batdorf & Rodney at www.myspace.com/johnbatdorf. You can purchase a copy of Still Burnin’ at www.cdbaby.com/batdorfrodney.
Posted 6-13-08

RadioIndy Review of "Still Burnin"
"Still Burnin" is an enjoyable acoustic rock album brought to you by John Batdorf and Mark Rodney. These guys have a long history in the music world and their experience is evident with this collection of upbeat tunes. John has a great rock voice, a great range and his performances are noteworthy. Mark is the ideal partner for John. He is a wonderful player, great arranger and adds dimension to the vocals. Together they give you a great bunch of catchy, acoustic songs with a timeless quality. Highlights include "Me and my Guitar," with a beautiful melody, nice guitar changes and a standout chorus. "One Day" is a jazzy little number featuring more great performances and a hopeful message. "Oh Can You Tell Me" is an intimate number with a nice guitar progression and a warm vibe. If you enjoy outstanding singer/songwriters and acoustic pop/rock, you’ll love this wonderful CD.
-William and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out John Batdorf's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

from Eartaste

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Batdorf & Rodney - Four Days Runnin'

“I don’t know what spell I’m under, feels like something’s chasing after me.” That’s actually how this fun new album ends, and exactly how I feel as it fades out. Batdorf & Rodney were some of the albums I digitized myself back in the 90’s when it felt like there were some albums that would never come out on CD. These are guys who had a bright light shining on them for awhile, but 30 years go by and I only hear them when I pull my “old records off the shelf”. That’s actually the title of the first Batdorf & Rodney album – from 1971. A wonderfully mixed up time for me, with Vietnam looming over society as cities were burning (I lived in Asbury Park in this era, which burned due to lots of anxiety over racism). I understand the place I’m living now was even worse because they were quietly hanging blacks and Jewish people in the name of freedom. The hangings made the front pages of the local weekly, but never made the news outside of the area. A sad era that has never been publically talked about. Where some of the cities were pushing for integration, the countryside was killing people making sure segregation was permanent. Why do I bring this up? Nothing really to do with Batdorf & Rodney, except that one of my favorite jams of theirs was simply called Farm. Their albums were pleasant acoustic jams, with the flavors of America and Seals and Crofts. Not political in the least, but they were definitely acres removed from the inner-city plights. “From the dark side of the great divide where hope is buried with dreams that died, there’s no escaping from the mountainside.”

This album starts with the wonderfully sunny Summer Of Love, performed in a much different manner than Fogerty’s song of the same name; but recalling the innocence with the same emotion. “It was a time of change, and it was so beautiful and strange. And nothing’s been quite the same since the summer of love.” I still live there, in many ways, mostly musically.”You can never forget that sound that moves you still, it was state of the art. And it beats in your heart, and it always will. It was a time to sing. It was a time we began to dream. And music meant everything in the summer of love.” John Batdorf has lyrically caught my inner being fully.

The rest of the new album is a collection of some of their best songs re-recorded in the studio sounding just great. The digital recordings I made were off records that were 25 years old when I was making the transition, so I am very glad to hear them this clear. Not sure I ever heard them this clear – ever. You’ll know several of these songs because they were played on what we used to call “underground radio”. Weird, that thought. Everyone was listening to underground radio, so what made it underground? No commercials, and super-cool music. One Day recalls the emotions going through all of us during those days of turmoil and hoping for a peace none of us felt but wanted to feel really bad. “One day I’m sure we’ll all be happy. Peace will soon find every one. One day we’ll wake up in the morning, all our troubles will be gone.” Explains why there’s so much censorship today – people really have no sense that a war is killing off young Americans until a family member or immediate neighbor comes home. We don’t see the thousands, just the few. The government and large businesses running the war have learned how to control our emotions so people don’t have the same anger over what the government is doing to all the innocents overseas. But this album reminds me deeply of all those emotions. “Today should be my best day, all my best days are burning” is a brilliant line that cuts deeper in me today than it did 30 years ago, from the jam song Let Me Go.

Home Again bursts with the same power of joy it always had, with guitar interplays that inspire thoughts of deep understanding of why we are even here. “The daylight found me sitting underneath an oak tree clearing up what once was cloudy, knowing most of all I’m happy.” And alive, feeling alive, truly alive. A quick shoutout for a dear old friends, Where Were You And I, and Can You See Him? I hope it does not take 33 years for another album from these guys. The two new songs create an anticipation that these guys still have many eartastable moments left to share.


from Midwest Record, published 4/20/08
BATDORF & RODNEY/Still Burnin’: And we see once again that the deconstruction of everything does have it’s advantages. Spurred by Collectors Choice reissues of the original sessions, John Batdorf came out of behind the scenes hiding and made a from the heart set that really touched the nerves of old fans that missed the sound. So this led to the group reuniting to record the old songs live at XM with a few new ones tossed in. And now, you have access to a live greatest hits journey though the past that makes the lived in aspect of these songs welcoming and comforting. A delightful new look at great stuff that flew a little too low under the radar originally but obviously had legs that kept it from ever being held down.


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