ALL WOOD AND STONES
Acoustic Guitars and Rolling Stones Songs
John Batdorf & James Lee Stanley
What folks are saying about All Wood and Stones:
Music News Nashville by Dan Harr:
The third in the celebrated All Wood and... series, this time out James Lee Stanley rejoined forces with the estimable John Batdorf (of Batdorf & Rodney fame) to create All Wood and Stones II... Ten more classic songs from the remarkable Rolling Stones catalog.
The Corner News writes:
"Batdorf and Stanley have a true gift in their ability to arrange a song in such a way that they make it their own. Listen to their complex and moving arrangement of "Miss You," or their playful and exciting version of "Tumbling Dice" and tell me otherwise. Hear the Beatle-ish references in the driving guitar riff on "Honky Tonk Women," or the call-and-response fun in "Get Off My Cloud," and tell me these versions aren't at minimum equally as moving and substantial as the original Stones versions.
The guitar work is superb, rife with counterpoint and unique harmonic structure, and the vocal arrangements are similarly astounding, marked by lush harmonies and powerful performances. The duo tackle hit songs like "Jumping Jack Flash," "Sympathy For The Devil," and "Wild Horses," while also digging deep into the catalog for gems like "Before They Make Me Run," "Play With Fire," and the always classic "Time Is On My Side."
It isn't easy to eclipse a work beloved by so many, but in "All Wood and Stones II," Batdorf and Stanley have taken a great concept to a new level of excellence."
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark S. Tucker:
I've long been a fan of the old Batdorf & Rodney duet, which issued an absolute gem, a CSNY-styled debut, and later a very good sophomore effort before fading forever. I've also, from his very first release, been enamored of the work of James Lee Stanley, one of this country's most undersung folk musicians, a baffling condition despite a very long list of excellent solo and collaboration releases (not to mention session sit-ins). Therefore, it was with a bit of shock that, while attending one of Bernie Pearl's gigs at Boulevard Music in Culver City (Calif.), I saw this CD in the store's bins. Lacking the bread to grab it, I rushed back a week later, once again in the area, to pick it up, but some damned eagle-eyed aficionado had beaten me to the punch. The idea of Batdorf & Stanley covering the Stones was just too cool for words, so I cursed and fumed, but now all is set to right.
The idea's a great one: early Stones classics in an all-acoustic environment, heavily accenting just the two players, their voices, and their guitars. Then throw in a musician or two on auxiliary guitars here and there Laurence Juber, the Monkee's Peter Tork, and Little Feat's Paul Barrere with Timothy B. Schmitt (Eagles) on some backing vox, Laura Hall in an accordion one-spot, and lastly a bit of bass and low-level percussion. Therein, sports fan, you have all the makings of a treat. More than once, the renditions come off as if Donovan or John Sebastian were arranging them, though both Batdorf's and Stanley's individual trademarks are quite clear as well. Everything's recorded in an intimate living room atmosphere, the sort of item to listen to on a cold winter's night with a mug of mulled cider, low lights, and an enthusiastic someone else.
These cuts aren't apings or rave-ups but rather a collection of sensitive covers from Woodstock Nation, not the London Bowery with Springheel Jack prowling and Mick following behind for the panther's feast. Some swing crops up (Let's Spend the Night Together) as well as a wistfully propulsive rhythm or two (a killer version of Mother's Little Helper, f'rinstance) while others are outright folky (Last Time). All are interpretations and enough outside the originals to seduce the extravagant, but sufficiently faithful to put the lock on Stoners and the entire audience &though I have to say that Standing in the Shadows becomes a completely different song, one imbued with a lot more magic than Jagger & Richards achieved. In point of fact, the liner notes note that London's second-most-famous lads have never been captured quite like this, and that's entirely correct.
Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY, writes (excerpted from the article "Tributes can be the sincerest form of flattery"):
Singer/guitarist/composers John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley stripped down Have You Seen
Your Mother, Baby?, Under My Thumb and nine other Rolling Stones tunes into acoustic
skeletons, confounding logic by rendering a subdued version of Let's Spend the Night
Together with former Monkee Peter Tork on guitar into a stirring affair. Batdorf and Stanley
have turned the rock grooves inside out, adopted stylish arrangements and made no attempt to
ape the originals, unveiling the elegance of the melodies and allowing radically new
interpretations of songs long tattooed in boomer DNA. Paint it fresh.
Bobby Kimmel writes:
I sat down the other day, popped on my brand new Sony earphones and listened through the CD again. Here's what I think: I had 2 overriding reactions. First, I thought it was one of richest and fullest sounding acoustic records I've ever heard. Ever. Second, I thought the production was impeccable. And finally, I thought the harmony singing was about as tight as it could ever be. Congratulations to both of you. This is something your should be really proud of.
I thought the arrangement of Satisfaction was really clever (in a good, musical way). But my favorite song was Let's Spend the Night Together. I guess because of the balls out singing on the chorus and because of that driving 4-to-the-bar beat. It reminded me of Boz Scaggs Lido Shuffle, one of my all time favorites. But you guys got that feel with a lot less horses than Boz had to work with. Anyway, great work guys. I say again that you should be really proud of this.
I'm jealous. I'd love to have an acoustic CD that sounds this rich and good, but alas, 4 Corners seems to be clearly headed the opposite way, down the road of recording pretty much live, just the way we play. I guess we'll have to leave the gorgeous, full sounding records to you guys.
Andy Robinson, in the "On Review" section of the Taylor Guitar Magazine "Wood&Steel" writes :
How would it sound if Crosby, Stills, and Nash recorded an album of their favorite Rolling Stones songs? All Wood and Stones comes close to providing an answer.
For this project, John Batdorf (remember Batdorf and Rodney?) and James Lee Stanley temporarily set aside their original songwriting muses to reinvent a number of Stones tunes, transforming even hard-core classics with sensitive, soulful lead vocals, sweet multi-layered harmonies, imaginative arrangements, and sparkling, beautifully recorded acoustic guitars. They altered a lyrical phrase here, re-harmonized a vocal line there, and added their own exquisite instrumental touches.
Some de rigueur hits are here ("Ruby Tuesday", "As Tears Go By", "Paint it Black", and several others), but the duo also plumbs more obscure depths. For example, whereas the original version of "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" is cloaked in sheets of raging distortion, it resurfaces in Batdorf and Stanley's hands as a dark and moody gem.
Batdorf has an appealing voice, sweet and slightly gruff, Stanley has a sensitive, warm, mellow tenor, and there is immediate appeal in the two men trading lead vocals throughout the album. But some of the new vocal arrangements also work a special magic on Jagger's lyrics. Stanley's super-delicate reading of "Backstreet Girl" draws one's attention more to the plight of the female subject than does the original version.
Stanley even puts a great, fresh spin on "Satisfaction" (probably the most overworked Stones song of all time)! His bluesy take, featuring the sensual slide-guitar playing of Little Feat's Paul Barrere, is so hypnotic that after the first few seconds you might not even notice the absence of Keith Richards' famous riff.
A floating cast of talent backs up the two men: in addition to Barrere, former Eagles and Poco associate Timothy B. Schmit lends his trademark high tenor on two songs; Laurence Juber weaves a modal lead through the latter half of "Paint it Black", and former Monkee Peter Tork sits in on a shuffling good-time version of "Let's Spend the Night Together". Percussionist Scott Breadman supplies a rock-steady groove as well as colorative, tasteful accents to every cut on the album.
If you're not a Stones fan, the performances on All Wood and Stones cleverly frame the songs of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and draw you into them in a way that the original recordings might not. (Apparently, the folks at XM Satellite radio agree; in November 2004, they featured cuts from All Wood and Stones on four different programs.) My hat is off to John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley; this is one very cool album.
Excerpt from a review by Bob Lefsetz:
All art is conception. "The Last Time" is not the BEST song ever written.
It's just that it was DIFFERENT!
And what makes Batdorf and Stanley's "All Wood And Stones" great is the
conception. This is not Michael McDonald doing straight ahead covers of Motown
tracks. This is a REWORKING! Akin to what Joe Cocker used to do. Strangely,
even though we've heard these songs a zillion times before, on "All Wood And
Stones" they sound different. Read the whole article ...
Mike Marrone, Host and Musical Director of The Loft on XM Radio, writes:
Forget any preconceptions, just listen to this album. Our audiences are going crazy for "All Wood and Stones." It
is already in contention for our favorite recording of the year.
Jim Carnes, Bee Staff Writer, Sacramento Bee (Week of December 16, 2004), writes:
Recent release: 'All Wood and Stones' John Batdorf & James Lee Stanley
3 1/2 stars
The Rolling Stones...in a mellow mood? Incongruous as that may sound, that's what you get with this recording, a remarkable collaboration by guitarists Batdorf and Stanley. The two have recorded 11
of their favorite early Stones songs - from "Satisfaction" to "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby?" - in tight harmonies set to exquisite acoustic accompaniment. The arrangements were worked out in the studio as recording took place, this past March to August. Except for five singular guest appearances, a little bass and percussion are the only additions to Batdorf's and Stanley's guitars and voices. The Eagles' Timothy B. Schmitt adds background vocals to "As Tears Go By" and "Last Time"; Laurence Juber plays lead guitar on "Paint It Black"; Little Feat's Paul Barrere adds some slide guitar to "Satisfaction"; Laura Hall plays accordion on "Back Street Girl"; and The Monkees' Peter Tork (with whom Stanley collaborated in the Two Man Band) plays lead guitar on "Let's Spend the Night Together." This project radiates warmth and genuine affection. The simple musical settings allow the lyrics (all by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) to take precedence. It's old-school songwriting, and you may be surprised what slice-of-life stories they tell. Does the world need another Rolling Stones tribute album? Well, why not? Especially when it sounds this good.
Barnes Newberry, DJ, WUMB.org [Highway 61 Revisited],writes:
Boy, what a fine album you and John did! It is excellent. I love it and can't get it off the cd player. When I aired Paint It Black this Saturday, the phones lit up. I think you've landed a winner here, brother!
I will continue to air songs from it...
Best...and thanks! I am honored to be playing the cd.
Robin and Linda Williams write:
Thanks for the CD. We're amazed that you did this in your own studio. I can't imagine having that kind of knowledge. And the arrangements are wonderful. It really is enjoyable.
Eric Wrisley, contributing writer at BluesWax, a weekly Blues music e-zine writes:
Rolling Stones Tribute, (11/17/04)
Imagine sitting around with a few friends and a few acoustic guitars ... OK, I stole that from the liner notes, but, hey, I've been in that room with a few friends and their guitars and it rarely sounds this good. All Wood and Stones is an acoustic tribute to Rolling Stones songs. James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf bring their guitars, their impressive guitar and vocal abilities, and a few friends along to reinterpret eleven classic Stones tunes.
At first blush, this disc might seem like a curiosity or novelty item for Stones fans, but a closer listen reveals a fresh perspective of well-known classics. Think Simon & Garfunkel more than Blues-influenced Rock. It's this stripped down reading that highlights the songwriting talents of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. It's possible that "Mother's Little Helper" is more relevant today than when it was first released in 1966. How is it that Mick and Keith are so forward thinking that they understand the plight of the modern soccer mom? Or perhaps that plight is timeless. There's a wide range of themes, but there's a remarkable tenderness in a lot of the songs that might not normally be associated with the Rolling Stones. The all-acoustic format takes these songs out of the jurisdiction of the jukebox at the corner bar.
The failures on the disc are minimal and easily forgivable: bland intros that border on new age dinner music, and the slowed-down vocal arrangements that sometimes stray too far from the original melody. In a collection that showcases such excellent musicianship, some of these songs run the risk of turning it into a "dull, dismal affair." "Paint It Black" probably suffers from most of the disc's shortcomings, so it's too bad they chose it as the leadoff track, but it only gets better from here.
While the duo purports to be "all wood," that's really only the beginning. Most of the tracks have additional players that do an excellent job of complementing and not overpowering the guitar/vocal concept. Mandolin and accordion create a subtle texture that lifts "Back Street Girl" to one of the brightest spots on the album. On "Satisfaction," Stanley and Batdorf's slowed-down approach works beautifully, while Paul Barrere's deft slide work pulls the song into the scope of the Blues where it belongs.
Highlights: "Ruby Tuesday" hits everything that's great about this disc. The song lends itself to the up-tempo acoustic rendition, Batdorf stays close to the melody, and the harmonies are spot on. As the verses build to the chorus, the song seems to accomplish what the disc sets out to do. The bouncy "Let's Spend the Night Together" isn't exactly kick ass Rock 'n' Roll, but comes pretty close for an all-acoustic set.
All Wood and Stones is probably more appealing to fans of acoustic music than to die hard Rolling Stones fans. The Stones themselves have refused to grow old gracefully, so it's an interesting contrast that the songs have.
Robert A. Lindquist, Publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Singer Magazine: The Voice of the Independent Musician and Songwriter, writes:
In August of 2003, the idea of recording an acoustic collection of
Jagger/Richard classics was a mere flicker in James Lee Stanley's mind.
One year (and a string of very serendipitous things) later, he was in
the studio with John Batdorf (Batdorf & Rodney) working out the
acoustic arrangements for such classics as: "As Tears Go By;" "Ruby
Tuesday;" "Satisfaction;" and my two personal favorites; "Under My
Thumb;" and "Paint It Black." You won't find anything here released by
the Stones later than '72 or '73. These are the songs they built their
career on, done by musicians who had been hearing these acoustic
versions play 'round and 'round in their heads for years. Both Batdorf
& Stanley are steeped in acoustic rock and the sounds CS&N, Buffalo
Springfield and The Eagles. Indeed, had Jagger and Richards been a
couple of California boys back in the '60s, this may have been their
sound. To get the arrangements this right and this tight, Batdorf and
Stanley took each song apart and basically started from scratch. The
lyrics and melody lines are still very recognizable, but it's almost as
if the songs were written for them in the first place. It's
unpretentious and very genuine. If there's ever an award for "Cover
Song Collection of the Year," this would be a shoo-in. The supporting
cast includes Timothy B. Schmidt, Laura Hall, Peter Tork and others.
Stonesdoug, from Shidoobeeland, writes:
Has anyone else checked out the cd yet? I found it very mellow but pleasing and very comforting to listen to.
Charlotte, from Rolling Stones Fan Club Office, writes:
For a month or so ago, Blue Lena and I had the first contact with James Lee Stanley about All Wood And Stones album.
Last Saturday the website were launched. The last couple of weeks I have listened to these numbers - and I really like the way it is done.
It is incredible only with these acoustic guitars to enjoy some of the greatest Rolling Stones songs ever.
On the website there are several soundclips - which I hope you all will enjoy. Songs include "Paint It Black," "Ruby Tuesday," "Satisfaction," "Under My Thumb," "Let's Spend The Night Together," "Mothers Little Helper," "Backstreet Girl," "The Last Time," "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby," "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "As Tears Go By."
Read more about the team behind and their background on the website.
Just Plain Folk Award:
The 2006 Just Plain Folks Music Awards have been announced!
"Paint It Black" takes FIRST place in Cover Song category!
All Wood and Stones takes FOURTH place in Cover/Tribute Album category!
Skippy, from the Sticky Fingers Journal, writes:
I listened to the latest tribute album to the Rolling Stones "All Wood and Stones." This Stones tribute is much better than most tribute albums.
Unlike many tribute albums where it's often hard to find a song that is likeable, "All Wood and Stones" had every song enjoyable. This album is
more like an album than most albums by anybody. The songs fit together perfectly with formulas that reinvent the songs as if they were written by
this band of accomplished musicians who performed them.
Each song was transcribed to fit an acoustic rearrangement. Mixed-matched Stones songs that sound very different by the Rolling Stones now fit
together as if they were written for the same album; essentially because they were rewritten for the same album.
This album was an enjoyable work for many reason from the interesting interpretations to the fact that it's an excellent album.
On October 3, westcoastmusic, the French west
coast music group on Yahoo Groups, announced All
Wood and Stones on
The fans are talking about All Wood and Stones:
Robert Couch, in a review posted on CD Baby, writes:
Stunning to discover how good these songs really were/still are.
Not only do Batdorf & Stanley give great performances on these 11 early Stones tunes, but the sound of the recording is impeccable. They also give these tunes a whole new life, inasmuch as you can now understand the words that Mr. Jagger once garbled. And you know what? These songs are damn good...and so is this CD.
Charlie Sutton writes:
Jim, received your album yesterday and I've played it over and over ever since. Congratulations on creating a genuine classic out of classics. I love it and wish I could afford to send a copy to all my friends. You and John have a beautiful, sensitive interpretation of a great slice of our musical era. It's great! What's next? Beatles from the Barracks?
Jim F. writes:
The one that damn near moved me to tears was "Ruby Tuesday"! I've heard
several cuts off of the All Wood and Stones CD but, "Ruby Tuesday" topped
them all. Mr. Jagger should be jealous! Thanks again for making great
Ilene Rubin writes:
I had the pleasure of the maiden run of All Wood & Stones at a private concert in my home last night. For any of you wondering what the buzz is, this is what it's all about! Even if you felt luke warm at best on the Stones' originals you will gain not only a new appreciation but you will come to the huge realization that it takes the creative genius of James Lee Stanely, John Batdorf et al to offer it so it sounds not only fresh as a daisy but impressive enough to stand alone-- again and again. Wow doesn't cover the talent for this ear candy! Do not hesitate to flock at any opportunity, either to the CD's or a live performance.
Melissa Bason writes:
I do believe you have a winner here. Declan and I love the cd..great work!
Alice Crawford, in a review posted on CD Baby, writes:
This cd is like re-reading a book and finding a different message.
Paint It Black illustrates grief and James Lee Stanley calls
that forth with subtle and powerful intonations. Batdorf puts soul
and angst into Ruby Tuesday. Let's Spend the Night Together is a
song about casual sex and this rendition gives a bouncy, flower-power,
allmost innocent flavor to that theme. Under My Thumb has creepy,
obsessive overtones that give the song a whole new meaning relevant
to the times. This cd is a palatable,lesson about how every picture
tells more than just one story.
Marissa "Con Gusto," in a review posted on CD Baby, writes:
A brilliant re-thinking of Rolling Stones tunes...
As short as I could keep it: In an era where Britney Spears covers 'Satisfaction' and there overdone is never enough, this album is a stroke of pure genius, sensuality, and class on a street littered with overproduction and image. This album is generation-less. I would even suggest it as an introduction for post-boomers who may only be familiar with the Rolling Stone's heavy image. All Wood and Stones does the rarest of things of all cover albums, it simultaneously highlights the amazing gifts of the two lead performers (John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley) while shedding light on the talents of the original. In fact, I wouldn't really call it a "cover album" with the brilliant new arrangements, it is basically a re-interpretation of the Stones tunes. You really must sample for yourself, they will give you a whole new perspective. To mention just a few "Paint It Black" is breathtaking with flamenco flavor, "Ruby Tuesday" is moving, "Lets Spend The Night Together" is a cheery, toe-taping flashback, "Satisfaction"'s slow delivery is sensual and inspired, "Last Time" grabs the listener from the first pounding note and does not let go... and these are just a few tracks. I would point out a favorite track, but I adore them all. John's vocals are delicately plucked and well-thought while James' never ceases to amaze with inspired choices on delivery and vocal gymnastics. For two performers with voices on such opposite ends of the spectrum they harmonize beautifully. The guest spots are inspired choices, Laurence Juber's fingerwork on "Paint It Black" is sheer perfection, haunting slide by Paul Barrere on "Satisfaction", a wonderful solo by Peter Tork on "Mothers Little Helper", accordion on "Back Street Girl" by Laura Hall, Timothy B. Schmidt lends his pipes on ("Last Time" and "As Tears Go By"), and what really wraps up this package are some of the finest percussion works I have heard by Scott Breadman. Bottom line: As said earlier, this album is genius. If you still haven't picked up this album now, you better do so soon so you can retain bragging rights before this album skyrockets.
Nancy Godfrey-Kozoriz, in a review posted on CD Baby, writes:
Stones re-invention is an eye-opening encounter
Hearing "All Wood And Stones" may change the way you think about the Rolling Stones forever. I'd always enjoyed the early songs by Jagger & Richards as an earthier, more sexually-connected realm of Sixties rock, but never fully appreciated the lyrical depth of the music. "All Wood And Stones" has changed that view completely, bringing an all-new regard for these early tunes. John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley tread easily into the musical stomping ground normally reserved for the original artists with this set of re-invented Jagger & Richards tunes. I say "normally" because it's generally the province of the original artist, this kind of re-working of earlier music. Think of Clapton's acoustic version of the rock classic "Layla" as an example. Most "cover" versions stray very little from the originals. With "All Wood And Stones", however, Batdorf & Stanley set a new bar for artistic interpretation of other artists' work. Not content with simply re-recording, they elicit new meaning and emotion from music long considered fully explored. From the opening chord of "Paint It Black" to the final note of "As Tears Go By", this album inspires and invigorates, making the listener yearn for Batdorf & Stanley's skills as musicians and interpreters. "If only I'd kept playing that old guitar, then I could make music like this," runs through your head as you listen. "If only..." By then end, you realize that even though your life has taken a different path, the musical one is in good hands with Batdorf & Stanley. You still yearn, but it's for more than the musical skills - it's for this kind of connection with music, that can take the familiar and create the eye-opening unexpected rush. Kudos to James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf for a job very well done.
George Bryant writes:
Gotta tell ya--this recording turned me around. I was expecting simple redux stones and instead I have received a symphony for my generation. WOW! One of your best and the addition of John Batdorf ( I always enjoyed Batdorf and Rodney during my KLRB days) is a genius of a pairing.
A question----how did you pick my favorite Stones songs to cover?? I thought that I was the only one that adored "Backstreet Girl" and "As Tears Go By."
No matter---thank you for giving me a new soundtrack for my days and nights! Again--you are brilliant!! I will proudly turn the next 1000 people I meet onto this recording and insist that they place their order with Beachwood!
T.J. Knowles, President, Like Dat Music, writes:
Along with the outstanding musicianship and vocals, the clarity of sound and the chance to really focus on the lyrics is a treat.
Cassidy Fontana, in a review posted on CD Baby, writes:
Warm, acoustic Rolling Stones melodies served with a twist!
This recognizable Stones music is explored in a totally new way, but
with an edge of familiarity that makes it resonate with the listener.
It's both fresh and authentic, with a degree of quality that many
well-meaning tribute albums don't have. Stanley and Batdorf reinvent
these songs and make them their own, but with respect towards the
original artists and a key balance between interpretation and
maintaining the famous melodies in an acoustic medium. The opening of
"Paint It Black" is haunting, while "Ruby Tuesday" is full and resonant,
Batdorf's vocals and pronunciations of words reminding me of Roger
McGuinn. His voice fits the song well. "Let's Spend the Night Together"
has great harmonies and a perfect tempo. Backup vocals can help or hurt
a song, and these are clear, pristine, and spot on. Mandolin and
accordion add to "Back Street Girl", complementing Stanley's pure and
strong voice. The closing track, "As Tears Go By", is one of the best on
the album and a great way to end this new CD.
Mark Payne writes:
Wow! I heard Standing in the Shadow on XM Radio and just had to have it. I hope there is a mailing list you can put me on! Thank you for the wonderful music.
David Upright writes:
respect and admiration:
On a Retreat I went to a few years back, I learned that a perfect prayer of adoration
was "Wow"! 'Nuff said. What sweet sounds these be!
Brooke Halpin, composer, writes:
"Paint it Black," "Satisfaction," "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby?" are outstanding arrangements. The entire CD has great performances, but the way you arranged the above is simply brilliant.