Artist: John Batdorf
Album: Beep Beep
Label: BatMac Music
Release Date: 11/13/2015
Batdorf and Rodney weren’t the best known duo, even in their heyday during the early to mid ‘70s. Never as well received as, say, Simon and Garfunkel or the Everlys, they nevertheless made several embracing albums and filled them with soothing, supple melodies. Still, success was elusive, and when Batdorf and Rodney went their separate ways, their legacy didn’t linger long.
Consequently, John Batdorf’s latest solo album, Beep Beep, could have been little more than a blip blip on the radar screen, were it not for the fact that it’s a set of songs which does resonate with heartfelt earnestness and enthusiasm. Batdorf’s voice has a dusty timbre which, on a song like the reflective “That’s What I’ll Remember,” brings to mind Don Henley in its tender trappings. Yet, Batdorf is more than merely a sensitive singer/songwriter. The title track, which opens the album and sets the tone, is a joyous ode to the impact of the Beatles, complete with the trademark “beep beep” slipped into the buoyant refrain. “Where Does All the Money Go” is a playful pastiche lamenting a negative cash flow. However, the most affecting song of the song becomes the rousing and rocking “Feels Like Home,” an effusive salute to California, the state where he and his family reside.
The song craft evident throughout the album is consistently striking, with offerings like “Imagination of the Heart,” “Dream” and “What’s a Guy to Do” providing all the evidence necessary. “Something to believe in,” Batdorf suggests on the aforementioned “Imagination of the Heart,” and indeed the sentiments ring true. Hopefully Beep Beep will inspire the believers to bring him the renewed interest he deserves.
– Lee Zimmerman