A Word From John

They say the fastest way from point A to point B is a straight line. That fact can’t be disputed, but is fast always best? Point A for me was in late 1970 when I signed my first record deal with Atlantic Records. Mark Rodney and I auditioned at the Beverly Hills Hotel for the now late Ahmet Ertegun, president of the label. I will always be indebted to Ahmet. He was a great music man and just a cool guy to be around. He produced “Off The Shelf” in Mussel Shoals, Alabama and released the album in 1971. That was it! I was on my way…..or so I thought. We went on to make two more albums but only with moderate success. Mark and I always had a huge cult following but the sales never quite measured up. Eventually the spark was gone, and so was Batdorf and Rodney. I never stopped doing some kind of music, as my bio reads, but the Batdorf and Rodney era was clearly over with and it was time to do other things.

Home Again Cover – © 2006 Bob KiviClose to thirty years after the break-up, I got an e-mail from someone who asked me if I would do a house concert for him and some of his friends and family. Seems I played at his high school back in the seventies and must have made quite an impression. The first two Batdorf and Rodney records had just been re-released on CD and I finally got a chance to revisit that magical time. I explained that I hadn’t played those songs in close to thirty years but if he gave me a month, I would do it. As nervous as I was, I did the show and suddenly realized just how great it was to perform again. Soon after that show, I was approached by James Lee Stanley about doing a CD with him covering old Stones songs acoustically and it came out really great. The CD “All Wood and Stones” was well received and I decided to record an EP of solo songs, “Side One”, just to have something new in hand. I was excited to do something new although it was so early, I wasn’t quite sure who I was as a solo act. James and I toured the the “All Wood and Stones” CD for about a year and suddenly, new songs began to emerge. This was clearly the result of the reactions I got at shows when I played my solos on the Stones songs and played some old B&R songs. People got into it and I was inspired to do a really great new piece of work. At many of the shows, people would request “Home Again” and I just said that I couldn’t do it as a solo but I soon realized that I was wrong.

Home AgainI came up with a new arrangement and started playing it live and people loved it. I started thinking that it would be a good idea to record a few of the old songs rearranged in an interesting way and that the new songs would fit nicely between the old. I started laying down the acoustic guitar tracks and the album was being born. As I proceeded I got the idea to ask Mark if he would like to join me after thirty years and play on the new album which he did and we had a ball. After eight months, the album is done and it really feels like the Batdorf and Rodney album that was never made. This CD, “Home Again”, is loaded with great vocals and slamming acoustic guitars. I clearly have arrived at point B. It took awhile to get here and the path was anything but straight, but I would not have had it any other way.

I am finally…… “Home Again”.