One Last Wish

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Liner Notes by John Batdorf:
Back in 1967, I left Beavercreek, Ohio with a band on a quest to become rock stars. I was 15 years old but already knew what my life plan was. I could do one thing better than anybody else my age and it was the one thing I loved to do most; sing, play and later, write music. The band didn’t make it but that didn’t discourage me in the least! Three years later, while living with my girlfriend’s parents in Las Vegas, I met Mark Rodney. We got so stinkin’ good I knew it was time to go back to LA and take another shot at stardom. We got our record deal with Atlantic and we were off! Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that at age 59, I’d still be at it with the same enthusiasm I had as a kid. One Last Wish began last August when a few new songs appeared in my head, and the birth of the album was beginning. I wrote five new songs with Michael McLean, my songwriting partner of 20 years. The mini flurry had come and gone but I knew it would be back! Two months later, I damaged my vocal chords and had to stop performing for three months. I had nothing else to do but write, and write I did. I wrote seven or eight songs in that time period and One Last Wish was written. Well, at least I thought so. Very late in the game, as I was recording, an inspiration came and the final song for the CD was written. “Don’t Give Up On Dreams” is a song that had to be on the CD; it just took it’s time getting here! I am humbled and honored to have been inspired to do this project. I believe it may be my best work as a songwriter and I hope you agree. Thank you all for the four decades of support!

Additional Liner Notes by Michael McLean:
All songs on this album began with John discovering a melody he’d had locked inside that finally DEMANDED getting out. The tunes and rhythms were not calculated, analyzed or edited before they arrived. They just gushed out like the waters of a dam breaking. Some of them showed up with a concept or theme that simply needed to be shaped and polished. Others required collaboration as to what the song wanted to be about. We’d like to share with you a bit of the background to the songs on this album; what we were thinking about that influenced what these songs eventually became. We both know that the real gift of music is how it lets the listener find their own meaning and relevance in the songs… but we wanted you to know their original meaning for us.

I’ve been looking for a reason to rise each day
Something worth believin’ to get me on my way
Try to find some inspiration day and night
Tryin’ so hard to keep from waistin’
This part of my life

Then a momentary but extraordinary
thought came oh so very strong to me that I might try
Diggin up some dreams that I had buried
When I gave up on dreams
When I gave up on dreams

Spent a lot of time chasin’ that elusive dream career
I was always racin’ to get richer every year
Dreams about the legacy I’d leave this world
Were right beside the dream about
A true and perfect girl

She’d be luminary and some day we would marry
And her light would carry me for years and that
Dream came true until the day she slipped away then
I gave up on dreams

The only dreams I had worth dreaming
Were with that woman by my side
I thought if I gave up on dreams my heart could run
Run away and hide

I’ve been looking for a reason to rise up each day
Something worth believin’ to get me on my way
Funny that it shined a light subconsciously
She appeared in a dream last night and said to me

Oh my love, don’t give up on dreams
Just because it seems you’re all alone
And I’m not there
Since our only time together’s when
You’re dreaming
Don’t give up on dreams
Don’t give up on dreams
Don’t give up on dreams

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

Everyone who has ever written a song has probably dreamed of all it could be. Whether it’s hitting the top of the charts, or winning over the love of your life or just expressing a deeply held feeling in a way that connects with other people. Songwriters are dreamers from the get-go, but as we get older, sometimes life beats us up to the point that we just give up on dreams. When two songwriters who’ve been beaten up by life more than once talk about re-kindling dreams, a song is destined to be born… and, if they’re lucky, it reminds them, as this opening track on the album does: Don’t give up on dreams.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars and Vocals
Michael Dowdle : Mandolin and Acoustic Guitar
Tom Walsh : Drums and Percussion
Chad Watson : Bass

In the movie I have written
That plays inside my head
I have scripted all the action
And every word that’s said
It’s all carefully designed
To be perfect in my mind

But things don’t happen in real life the way I fantasize
‘cos I know in real life each day’s a new surprise
I can’t control in real life the way the story goes
Cause in real life sometimes the girl says no

In my movies whenever the slightest thing goes wrong
I can reload the camera and re-shoot all night long
If a scene has lost its heart I can edit out that part

But things don’t happen in real life the way I fantasize
‘cos every day in real life each day’s a new surprise
I can’t control my real life, have no control at all
Cause in real life sometimes the hero falls

I have tried with all my might
To get my script just right
So the hero prevails forever

But things don’t happen in real life the way I fantasize
‘cos everyday in real life each day’s a new surprise
I’m finding out in real life with every twist and turn
In real life sometimes
Yes in real life I find
This real life of mine is how I learn
In this real life It’s how I learn
‘cos this is real life

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

Living in LA where movies are made, every day you meet people in the business that live, eat and breathe filmmaking. It’s only natural that you talk about movies and think about the contrast between what happens on screen and what happens in real life. As songwriters who have written the music for several hours of film and living on the edges of that world it was probably inevitable that Michael and I would write this song. It comes, ultimately, with the “true confession” that our greatest lessons learned in life are not from the cinema, but from REAL LIFE.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars and Vocals
Bill Batstone : Background Vocals / Bass
Brett Batdorf : Background Vocals
Tom Walsh : Drums and Percussion

Make your beds and I’ll take out the trash
Find that disc of Crosby, Stills and Nash
Put the flowers in the vase
Get those books back in the case
Clean this place up, Mama’s comin’ home tonight

Feed the cat and give the dog a bath
What’s that joke that always made her laugh?
Put on your Sunday best,
I’ll get my best blue jeans pressed
Gotta look fine cause Mama’s comin’ home tonight

Bet she’s been wond’ring if we’ve been all right
While she’s been recov’ring she might be scared to reunite
Your Mama’s comin’ home tonight

She may be a little hard to read
So let her know that one thing’s guaranteed
We’re gonna love her more
Than we ever did before
We’re so glad, ’cause Mama’s comin’ home tonight

Well, she’s been working and she’s had to fight and
She’s been searching for ways to hang on to the light
Your Mama’s comin’ home tonight

There may be times when you should sit and hold her hand
Don’t have to say a single word
She needs to rediscover
Just how much we all love her
Always, forever

If you need to know I’ll make it clear
I’m not goin’ anywhere but here
I only want one life, with my kids and with my wife
We’ll be fine, cause Mama’s comin’ home tonight

Yeah she’s my hero ’cause she won’t lose this fight
For me and our family… I’m sure we’re gonna be all right
Your mama’s comin’ home tonight
Mama’s comin’ home tonight

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

Talk about a conceptual turn around. When I first wrote this tune it was about a woman who wasn’t going home because she was fed up with the abuse that awaited her there. Then Michael says, “What do you think about changing the idea to something a little less….what’s the word…. DEPRESSING!!!!” I countered: “Okay, Michael, what do you have in mind?” And Michael says, “What if it’s about a woman coming home to her family after several weeks in an addiction recovery program?” I said, “Go for it…we certainly don’t want to deal with a subject that people might think is…what’s the word…. DEPRESSING!” So here’s a peppy little tune that caught us both by surprise. What could have been a real downer turned out to be surprisingly up beat and hopeful. Who knew?

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Percussion and Vocals
Dan Navarro: Background Vocals
Steve Smith : Mandolin

Heaven help me
I’m so sorry
How can I make it up to you
Heaven help me
Cos’ this ain’t easy
And I’ll do all that I have to do

And I know
It may take a lifetime
And I know
It will take all my might
And I know, oh Heaven help me
I’m gonna make this right
I promise you
I’m gonna make this right

If you won’t see me
That’s okay now
After all that I’ve put you through
Cause trust is precious
I have to earn this
You need to witness me being true

Cause I know
It may take a lifetime
And I know
It will take all my might
And I know, oh Heaven help me
I’m gonna make this right
I promise you
I’m gonna make it right

And I know
It may take a lifetime
And I know
It will take all my might
And I know, oh Heaven help me
I’m gonna make this right
You know I promise you
I’m gonna make it right

Heaven help me
I’m so sorry

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

Last year Michael and I did a concert for seven hundred recovering addicts and called our concert “12 songs for 12 steps.” The focus was on tunes that tied in to the 12-step program used by AA and other addiction recovery groups. We were interested to see if our songs could be helpful to people in a recovery program. This song was our attempt to musicalize Step 9 “Restitution and Reconciliation.” My new Martin baritone guitar should get credit as the third member of this songwriting team.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars and Vocals
Bill Batstone : Background Vocals
Dan Navarro : Background Vocals
Tom Corbett : Mandolin
Tom Walsh : Drums and Percussion
Chad Watson : Bass

Went to work and did the best I could
Comin’ home I met this dog and I pet her
Got a feelin’ baby, life is good
And today life got a little better

Said the perfect words a husband should
Then she kissed me once or twice and I let her
I’ve been thinking, baby, life is good
And today life got a little better

Don’t need to win the lottery,
I’m feelin’ happy and it all came free
Keep hearing this melody, that sings to me
In two part harmony

Took a walk around the neighborhood
Saw a little kid and I’m glad I met her
Bought her lemonade, yeah, life is good
And today life got a little better

Don’t need to win the lottery,
I’m feelin’ happy and it all came free
Keep hearing this same melody, it sings to me
In three part harmony

I’m so glad about my livelihood
I’ve been doin’ what I love now forever
Simply singin’ now how life is good
And today life got a little better

I don’t want this to end
Don’t ever want to say goodbye
I’m tellin’ you my friend
This could be heaven if it got this high

If you join me like I know you could
We can celebrate with one voice together
Sing it louder children, life is good
And today life got a little better
Yeah today life got a little better
Yes today my life just got, a little better

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

This is a happy tune. Stupid happy. Crazy happy. Tap your toe and do a silly dance happy. Infectious to a fault, on purpose, unabashedly up beat and positive happy. Did we mention we were trying to write a happy song? Well, this one is it. Although it’s the 5th song on the album, we usually open with this when we’re performing as the hot new band: THE WALMART GREETERS!

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars, Percussion and Vocals
Michael Dowdle : Electric Guitars
Steve Smith : Mandolin
Mark Browne : Bass
Stephen Smith : Hand Claps

You find the ways to show me
All of the ways you know me
Though I’ve been hiding all this time
And I see what I’ve been missin’
And I feel loved

You find the ways to hold me
When all the rest have told me
That I’ve been wasting too much time
And you tell me not to listen
And I feel loved

Standing here beside you
I know what’s inside you
You’ve learned to ride every wave
With every beat of my heart

When you say “Keep your eyes on
The distant blue horizon
On and on and on
Cause we’ll always be together”
Then I feel loved

And when I feel I’m falling
That’s when I hear you calling
Hold on now baby you’ll be fine
And it’s not that far to shore now
And I feel loved

And in my heart I’m knowing
That it is you that’s throwing
The one and only rescue line
And it feels so secure now
And I feel loved

Standing here beside you
I still feel tied to
The only anchor I need to keep me safe in the storm

And there are words to say how
Your love just grows each day now
On and on and on
It’s the truth that I rely on
And I feel loved

And if my life has meant anything
It’s been because of you
Oh. How is it you can know everything
That’s in my heart, that’s true

I know how much I owe you
So let me try to show you
On and on and on
I’m becoming what you need now
Cause I feel loved
I’ve become a better me now
Cause I feel loved

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

An occupational hazard for songwriters is trying to find unique ways to say in a love song what’s already been said a million times before (and will be said a million times in the future). We’ve been writing songs together for over twenty years and it hasn’t gotten any easier for us… but the message of this love song is as true as any we’ve written when it comes to defining what it means to be truly loved.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars / Keyboards / Percussion and Vocals
Arlene and Bill Kole : Background Vocals
Michael Dowdle : Electric Guitars
Chad Watson : Bass

If you didn’t know, I’ll try to make it clear
Open up your heart ‘cos love is spoken here, right here,

Can You Hear Me Now, Can You Hear Me Now
Can You Hear Me Now

Every word I’m sayin’, and prayer I’m prayin’
Is meant to let you know
I’ll be there when there is nowhere else to go
Can You Hear Me Now, Can You Hear Me
I’m the one who cares

It’s never been my way, to claim I know it all
I’m tellin’ you today, even though you’ve had a fall, stand tall

Can You Hear Me Now, Can You Hear Me Now
Can You Hear Me Now

I’m the one you’ll find, who will stand behind you
’til you stand on your own
I’ll be by your side and you’ll never be alone
Can you hear me now, Can you hear me
I’m the one who cares

That inner voice keeps callin’, it’s callin’ out your name
It’s from the heart, it’s time to start
A life you can reclaim

As long as I am breathing, I’ll keep repeating
I know you’ll make it through
You’re the one that I love and I believe in you

Can you hear me now…. Can you hear me now
Can you hear me now…. Can you hear me
I’m the one who cares, so much
I’m the one who cares
Can you hear me now

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

How many times do we cry out to those we love, (those we know may be struggling and feel alone) that we believe they’re going to make it through and we’re here to help in any way we can. And then, how often do we wonder if our love is falling on deaf ears and hardened hearts? Rather than criticize those who can’t or won’t listen, we tried to frame the discussion differently and with greater musical intensity to match the passionate desires of the sincerely helpful heart. The result is CAN YOU HEAR ME, I’M THE ONE WHO CARES.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars, Percussion and Vocals
Matthew Batdorf : Background Vocals
Dan Navarro : Background Vocals
Mike Hays : Background Vocals
Richard Curiel : Background Vocals
Michael Dowdle : Electric Guitars
Mark Browne : Bass

Like the first.. breath of spring… shouldn’t be forgotten
Like the warmth summer brings… shouldn’t be forgotten
Like the best… of anything… should not be forgotten
Don’t know why
(I’m) Not sure I
Remember you

Like the first… time a child… crawls to one who’s calling
Like the first… time she smiles… walking without falling
Like those sweet …memories… should not be dissolving
Don’t know why
(I’m) not sure I
Remember you

But there’s something familiar I feel in your touch
There is something uncommonly kind
In the way you keep saying you love me so much
It seems strange but I really don’t mind

Like the last time you say, say you’ll be back Sunday
Like the last time I say which day is Sunday
Like the last time you prayed I’d be here someway
Don’t know why
I’m not sure I
Remember you

No I don’t know why,
Say should I remember you?

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

If you write songs long enough you’re bound to get extremely personal with some of them. None is more personal than this one. An eighty-six year old father struggling with dementia gave this heartbreaking melody its lyric.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards and Vocals
Bill Batstone : Bass

How could, you believe that I would
Ever really make it through the night
Darkness, followed every heartless
Disregard of what was wrong and what was right
And even though you’re gone I finally rose above
The self destruction that I conquered with your love

If you could see me now, would it make you proud
Would you be amazed or would you still have doubt,
Or would you tell me that it comes as no surprise
That I made it through somehow…If you could see me now

Voices, telling me the choices
Didn’t really matter I was lost
I see I was being crazy
Trying to pretend I could ignore the cost
And then I found a way to finally rise above
The self-destruction that I conquered with your love

If you could see me now, would it make you proud
Would you be amazed or would you still have doubt,
Or would you tell me that it comes as no surprise
That I made it through somehow…Oh if you could see me now

Oh how I’ve missed you, day after day
There were so many times I wanted you to know
That the memory of your love showed me the way

If you could see me now, would it make you proud
Would you be amazed or would you still have doubt,
Or would you tell me that it comes as no surprise
That I made it through somehow…

If you could see me now, would it make you proud
Would you be amazed or would you still have doubt,
I feel sure you’d say it came as no surprise
That I made it through somehow….Oh if you could see me now

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

For every soul who has ever messed up, broken down, fallen into an abyss or sabotaged the future with mindless stupidity or malice, comes the song IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW. We love this song because it once again confirms our joint conviction that there’s hope for us all, and something worth celebrating when the proverbial screw-up makes good.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars, Percussion and Vocals
Dan Navarro: Background Vocals
Chad Watson : Bass
Steve Smith : Mandolin

Didn’t I leave you with my number
Didn’t I leave my photograph
Didn’t I leave you with a promise
I’d be comin’ back real fast

Didn’t I leave you safe and sound now
Didn’t I leave you warm and dry
Didn’t I tell you not to worry
Things were gonna be all right

So tell me baby, why’d you slip away?
So tell me baby, tell me why you didn’t stay

Didn’t I treat you like an angel
Didn’t I give you what you need
Didn’t you know that it was painful
When I said I had to leave

So tell me baby, why’d you slip away?
So tell me baby, tell me why you didn’t stay

Didn’t I leave you with sweet memories
Didn’t I make it very clear
Didn’t you hear me as I said, “Please
Never leave I want you here”

Didn’t I love you
Didn’t I show you
Didn’t I want you

So tell me baby, why’d you slip away?
Oh tell me baby, tell me why you didn’t stay

Didn’t I leave you knowin’ you had
Played me like a violin
I know I should but I don’t feel bad
You just left me smilin’
How’d you leave me smilin’
You just left me… smilin’

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

One of the joys of songwriting is when you happen to crack yourself up. When a song is headed one direction and then, near the end of the journey takes a sudden turn that rolls the piece over and sets it on its head. YOU JUST LEFT ME did that to us. We didn’t see the end coming AND WE WROTE IT. Hope the song leaves you smilin’.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars / Keyboards / Bass / Percussion and Vocals
James Lee Stanley : Background Vocals

If I was granted one last wish I’d travel back in time
And try to fix all that I could
And I would replay everyday to change the bottom line
Take away the bad and make it good
So many lives and tragedies could magically be spared
One last wish to put my mind at ease
So all the love lost could be shared with friends and family
When they come home

Gotta feelin’ my “one last wish” is only in my dreams
And I’ve been dreamin’ more these days
And though I know my fantasy’s impossible it seems
Before I’m gone I’m gonna find a way
To track my brother down so I can try to make amends
I’ll call my son and finally clear the air
And then I’ll pay back all my friends and promise to be there
When they come home

(Instrumental)

So many lives and tragedies could magically be spared
My one last wish is let there now be peace
And now it’s time to share the love with friends and family
‘cos they’ve come home
This is home

Come on ride with me
When your body sets you free
Ride this way with me we’re goin’ home
So come on ride with me
When you set your body free
Ride this way with me we’re goin’ home

Ride this way with me we’re goin’ home
Let’s go home, we’re goin’ home
This is home

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

There’s something about growing older that brings with it the “woulda shoulda coulda” moments of reflection. But fortunately for us, (or should we say, from our perspective) our last wishes rock. One of our favorite moments on the record is how the ride out of this song kicks into a whole new gear.

Credits:
John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars, Percussion and Vocals
Michael Dowdle : Electric Guitars
Dan Navarro: Background Vocals
Mark Browne : Bass

Back to top…

Heard the news … yesterday … Revolution is on it’s way
There’s a nation that’s stirred ….. millions of voices are finally heard

Will it go where it’s meant to go?
Will it be what it’s meant to be?
Will that great uprisin’ on the far horizon
Do it peacefully? All the world will see

Let it rain, let it shine……do those voices echo mine
Where they stand… is where they’ll fall
And they are willing to risk it all

May they change what they need to change
May they say what they have to say
At that great uprisin’ on the far horizon
Going on today… May the world pray
May they find their way
To that brave new day

Song by John Batdorf, BatMac Music / BMI
Michael McLean, Shining Star Music / ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved

Inspired by the news coverage of the Arab spring, and the feelings we both had back in the late sixties when we were embarking on a revolution of our own. What we felt, and how we sounded back then feels more universal than we knew.

John Batdorf : Acoustic Guitars / Keyboards / Percussion and Vocals
Chad Watson : Bass

All Songs: John Batdorf / Michael McLean
BATMAC MUSIC BMI / Shining Star Music ASCAP
©2011 All Rights Reserved
Produced, Arranged and Engineered By John Batdorf
Mixed by David Appelt
Mastered at Capitol Records by Ron McMaster

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