Saturday, August 9, 2014

Batdorf & Rodney: Home Again

Although John Batdorf and Mark Rodney went to the same Los Angeles high school, they didn’t meet until they were both living in Las Vegas. Mark’s brother Jeff happened upon John playing at the UNLV coffee house and reported back to his brother that Batdorf “sings really high like a girl and plays really cool original music.” Mark dropped by the next evening and after listening to a set asked to sit in on guitar. Thus began the relationship known as Batdorf & Rodney.

Moving back to LA, they began playing and touring together and had an opportunity record their first of their three albums. None of these albums set the world on fire, and they never received more than one deal with each of the three companies: Atlantic, Asylum, and Arista. Batdorf & Rodney had the opportunity, however, to work for some of the movers and shakers of the music business such as Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic, David Geffen of Asylum, and Clive Davis of Arista.

While two live albums and a compilation CD were released since Batdorf & Rodney called it quits in 1976, the three studio albums represent the totality of their output while they were officially performing as a duo that, by the second album, became a full-fledged band. Batdorf & Rodney morphed into the band “Silver,” but without Mark Rodney as a member.

“Home Again” from their 1972 self-titled second album is our “Bubbling Under Selection” for this Saturday. I have to give Greg Rector credit for reintroducing me to this little known folk-rock duo from the early and mid 70s. Although “Home Again” was released as a single, it failed to chart.

John Batdorf’s voice reminds me of Graham Nash – which is probably why Ahmet Ertegun was drawn to their sound. The CSNY connection is made stronger on the second album, as Batdorf & Rodney used Bill Halverson as the producer. Halverson engineered many of the collective and solo albums by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Good stuff. Thanks Greg for the suggestion.


  1. Great song! I heard it on Sirius a few years back, and now it's a favorite!


  2. I couldn't put their Atlantic release down during my high school years. Wore out "Can You See Him?". Lots of tuneful melodies, rich harmonies and brittle acoustic guitar. Revisiting them today is a lovely time warp!

    1. Glad to provide that trip down memory lane.