John Batdorf One Last Wish Review

John Batdorf One Last Wish

One Last Wish

Reviewed by Art Menius, February 2, 2012, for

One Last Wish proves an uplifting, positive release from veteran John Batdorf. As he sings, it no longer bothers him that even though “in real life, sometimes the girl says ‘no’.” because “in real life, each day is a new surprise.”

John Batdorf comes out of a time and place when a singer-songwriter could become a pop star. Signed by Amhet Ertegun for Atlantic Records with Mark Rodney as an 18 year old in 1970, he soon found himself on the road opening for Bread, Poco, and the Youngbloods. He played Carnegie Hall before he turned 21. David Geffin, another industry legend, lured John away to Asylum. With the band Silver (which also included pre-Dead Brent Mydland), Batdorf even managed a forgettable summer of 1976 Billboard Top-20 pop hit, “Wham Bam.”

Forty-five years after leaving Ohio for the West Coast, One Last Wish, proves just the fourth solo release for Batdorf, recorded during 2010 and 2011. He and Michael McLean wrote the five songs in August of 2010, including the lead off “Don’t Give Up On Dreams.”

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

John even admits to getting “stupid happy” on “Life is Good.”

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

One Last Wish is by no means a stripped down guitar and vocals outing. This proves a stunning album if you like a lot of sound. It offers excellent musicianship and exquisite, but dense pop production that rings true to Batdorf’s roots. Lush, perfect west coast harmonies are featured throughout with background singing from Dan Navarro, Bill Batstone, James Lee Stanley, Brett & Mathew Batdorf, and others.

Batdorf provides a voice you either love or don’t singing well-conceived and crafted songs that are very hard not to like. This is an old pro doing his thing after four decades of practice. At its best, say on the closing “Revolution” One Last Wish compares most favorably to Gene Clark’s tour-de-force No Other. If you want teen age angst and dance beats, look elsewhere.



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