Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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

from, posted here 5-28-08
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as it was back in the day, May 27, 2008
By R. Kyle (Knoxville, TN) -
When XM started their vintage radio programs, some of the announcers were using their old vinyl to play the original music. There were so many requests to XM to find out who Batdorf and Rodney were, they were invited into the studio to record this live CD.

"Still Burnin'" sounds like the best of the 70's, John Batdorf really could be related to Graham Nash and he admits to paying homage to Stephen Stills in his guitar arrangements.

The CD is a mix of old and new. "Summer of Love" is a great example of new, written on the 40th anniversary of the summer of love to commemorate the feeling. "Home Again" was written in 1972 and its fresh beautiful mix of vocals and orchestration would still stand up to airplay today. This CD is classic and hopefully will not be listed as an overlooked gem.

If you lived in the 70s and want to remember, if you didn't and want to hear what the music sounded like, if you just plain like great vocals and instrumentation with mostly a happy and hopeful sound, give this CD a listen. It's timeless.

Rebecca Kyle, May 2008

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from, posted here 5-7-08
5.0 out of 5 stars B & R are back and terrific!, May 7, 2008
By The Soft Needle (University Heights, Ohio) -
Their "Music's here for us to love each day..." as John & Mark sang many years ago. I'm overjoyed to report that the new CD reaffirms the high place that John Batdorf & Mark Rodney hold in the world of acoustic rock and folk music. Along with two great new songs, the CD has so many of the timeless tunes by John and Mark we first experienced as youngsters or teens in the Vinyl days. These recent versions of their classics showcase once again the beautiful, intricate guitar work and the fine voices that have mellowed but stayed true over these many years.

What's certain is that, a long time ago, when we fell in love with these songs, we were RIGHT! They WERE great!! They've stood the test of time - in fact, they resonate even more now, because we're better able to appreciate the superb musicianship and also what John was saying within the tunes. These days, with the benefit of some thirty years down the road, John and Mark have experiences to make these tunes sound and feel more real - you'll hear it in the urgency of John's vocals in many of these songs. Once you hear the disc you'll agree that the lyrics and messages of love, spirituality and the joy music can bring to us originally composed by an 18 year-old mean much more now. And here's the very best part- as good as this CD is (I'd do 6 stars out of 5), John and Mark were even better in their recent concert in Kent, OH! Their guitar playing was flawless, the voices strong and harmonious, and their humor, making fun at themselves and the time they spent together, as well as beating on Tom, their great bass player, made their show so special. Enough gushing. This CD is great. If you are a fan you'll want to have this so you know you weren't dreaming when you first heard B & R in the 70s. They're back, they're fabulous, and I hope you have a chance to see them at some point, before they choose not to hit the road again.
-Chris Abood

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from, posted here 4/19/08
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back, John and Mark!, April 19, 2008
By Michael L. Pasqua "Mike Pasqua" (Southern Cal)
I was a major fan of this duo in the 1970s and wore out the vinyl copies of the three albums released by them. Since then, John Batdorf and Mark Rodney have moved in separate directions but have, after too many years, provided us with less a return to the past but more proof that excellent singing and playing is timeless. There are live versions of old favorites and two new songs and it brings a smile to me to know that neither John or Mark have lost any skills as time passed by. Buy this and give a great listen as to what great songwriting, singing and amazing playing are all about-"Can You See Him" still gives me goosebumps to listen to the guitar interplay.

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CD Review posted on the John Batdorf Yahoo Group on April 12th, 2008 (posted with author permission):
I got the cd yesterday and listened to it never hearing any Batdorf & Rodney except for what was on Home Again. All I can say is wow. I can't wait to see this live this coming Thursday in Columbus.
-Coop (i.e. Joe Cooper)

Follow-up Concert Review posted on the John Batdorf Yahoo Group on April 18th, 2008 (review posted with author permission):

Show last night (edit: regarding the show at Spruce Street Studios in Cleveland Ohio on 17 April '08)
I can honestly say that last nights show far exceeded the expectations I had for it.

John and Marc added a bassist for the show, Tom Lightwood (edit - Leatherwood) I think, and for being his first show, well, you couldn't tell except of the mention of it. The music was on and the vocals were tremendous. I also got to meet Jackie which was a plus.

At this point, I need to brag about how tremendous of a person John is. First of all, he remembered my face from a show last year, maybe two years ago. Second, Last week, I asked him to play I Found You from his EP and never heard anything and was okay with that. After all, how many artists take requests, let alone from email? He told me he has never done that live.

To my surprise, during the show, he did play She's the One and said it was for me and of course that scored huge points with the girlfriend. Later on, he said he was chickening out if it was okay with me, who am I to disagree with him? He also said he would play it privately for Amy and I after the show, and he did!

John (and Marc) has a new fan at the very least. I owe John big time for last night. Besides the two songs, the concert was fabulous and I can't wait to see them again. If I wasn't booked up the rest of the weekend, I would definitely follow them around Ohio.

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from Scott Seavers, first posted to the John Batdorf YahooGroup 4-9-08
(used with author permission)
I received my Still Burnin' CD today and all I can say is WOW! It so amazes me how a song can freeze you in time to the moment that you first heard it. It brings back the memories and the feelings and you remember where you were and what you were doing. Like John said, these songs are so familiar but it's like hearing them for the first time. John and Mark have never been in better form. For those who do not know Batdorf & Rodney, this is a great starting point to introduce them. This CD needs to be shared. This CD needs to be listened to often. This CD captures the moment and just makes you feel good. Another masterpiece by John Batdorf & Mark Rodney. We've been patiently waiting for this to happen. It was a long time coming, but so worth the wait. Thank you once again for sharing and making it a reality.
-Scott Seavers

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from Mother Hen Promotions, posted here 4-24-08

STILL BURNIN' - still the best music ever
Jeanette A Lundgren, 4-23-08

Why is this CD my favorite? Well, everything from John Batdorf is my favorite. I have different reasons for each CD and each song. Presently, STILL BURNIN' is my favorite CD.

"The Summer of Love" sets the stage for this CD - pretty much saying: "this is where and when it all started." I was 10 years old during the summer of love. It was the very first summer I spent away from home at camp and it was traumatic in many ways; but it was also a time when I found out about music. Some of the counselors who took me under their wing played guitar and coaxed a pretty good voice out of me. It wasn't till much later on that I found out about the pheomenon that occured that summer as well as the music that emerged from it.

Unfortunately for me, I never heard of Batdorf & Rodney until I met John Batdorf just after ALL WOOD AND STONES was made a few years back. Some of his songs from the 1970s have always felt vaguely familiar and resonated with me. What I *do* know is that I have always been behind the idea that I wanted to be able to listen to the songs he created back then NOW. So, STILL BURNIN' is very special to me in that one specific regard.

I love all the songs of course -- all of the B&R tracks on this CD are the beloved signature tracks appreciated by B&R fans right from the beginning. Some of what I love about these B&R old tracks made new again is that it's relaxing to me to hear this music that I've come to love over the last few years. While listening, I wait for specific moments in each song that touch a specific chord with me. In some cases, it's the guitar I wait for; sometimes a jam, sometimes the simultaneous sound of two guitars sounding like one twelve-string, sometimes it's little subtle guitar notes sprinkled throughout, sometimes it's a difficult chord progression. At the same time, there's Johns' voice -- it's the same voice we heard on the original tracks on OFF THE SHELF and BATDORF & RODNEY and LIFE IS YOU but with the conviction of maturity. I hear the youth in his voice in the original recordings; I hear a voice I like much better on STILL BURNIN' - a voice that has learned over the years to reach and maintain and enunciate and just be a voice that gets the message across completely and convincingly.

What John does on the guitar is amazing to me because he's playing every single string with two hands rather than chording with one and strumming or picking with the other. He's not any one style but all of the styles hashed together -- but acoustic. Pure acoustic ... he doesn't need bells or whistles or electronics or anything to make that guitar sing along with his own vast vocal ranges. Hearing him sing is a pleasure in and of itself; watching him play a difficult chord progression ... watching him lose himself inside the groove of a song ... is a whole different pleasure. Every song has its own dramatic personna conveyed by Johns' voice and sort of brings a music lover closer to that music - whether we witness it live or via his recordings.

Out of all the standard B&R tracks included in STILL BURNIN', I have my top favorites (of course). "Don't You Hear Me Callin'", "Oh Can You Tell Me," "Let Me Go,"and "Can You See Him." It's restful for me to listen to these tracks - I know what to expect with each song, the subtle guitar parts and the jams, the vocals and the harmonies and some of the other recently added intricacies that fit like a glove.

My favorite song on this CD by far? "Four Days Runnin'". The first time I heard it - it just blew me away. This is the kind of song you want to sit down with and listen to over and over because you hear something different every single time. At first I heard a similarity to Van Halen but it's only just one vocal line and that's where the similarity ends. I've heard some say they hear Eagles or CSN influences. I hear nothing of the kind -- what I hear is an awesome musical talent that has taken all of the influences from the best of the best that went before and digested it and came up with an amazingly driving rock song. A song that changes the rules. A song that pushes the bar upwards another notch and asks other acoustic rockers to run to catch up. Beyond the music and guitar work, there is very viable content ... there is not one person on this planet who has not been a victim of depression - either experiencing it first-hand or via a loved one. So this song works on all levels and every time I hear it, I get a small thrill. It ends the record, and I always wind up going back to listen to "Four Days Runnin'" at least once if not twice more.

So STILL BURNIN' is currently my favorite CD to listen to -- it sort of brings it all together for me: the B&R music John introduced me to when I first became acquainted with his music together with how far he's taken his talent and the trajectory he's on.

What this CD does ultimately? STILL BURNIN' introduces us to where and when it all started in the "Summer of Love". It takes us on a tour of the heydey of B&R with all of their standards. And then it leaves us with where John Batdorf is now -- challenging acoustic music and himself to reach further and higher as composer, singer, acoustic guitarist. I can't wait to see what's next.
see the lyrics and the why's and wherefores for each song here.

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Note - if you are a Fan and own this CD and want to review it and have your review posted here and on Johns' answering blog on myspace, please send your review together with your name and any URL's you might want linked to your name to
Thank you

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