Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

March 2, 2013

Billy Katt ~ Secret Smiles

(No official website.)
Style: pop rock, AOR
Label: n/a
Year: 1982
Home: Los Angeles

Members: Billy Katt ~ vocals/guitar
Sandy Berman ~ keyboards/b. vocals
Steve Thovato, Bobby Donati, John McFee, John Goux ~ guitars
Mark B. Murphy ~ bass/b. vocals
David Platshon, Chet McCracken ~ drums
Tony Papa ~ percussion
Billy Kirkland, Rosemary Butler ~ b. vocals

TV actors that make albums. Some are okay, some great, some novelty or deliberately comedic, some fade away with no regret. This particular album features both an actor that has faded away & an album that has too ... though after repeated listens it's nothing bad but quite enjoyable. Do you remember The Greatest American Hero about a clumsy superhero who saved the day from 1981 to 1986? I do fondly, because said hero didn't know how to land after flying & while the show was meant as a comedy it soared as a drama ... & since crashed into TV oblivion. Said hero was played by BK, aka William Katt when wearing his actor's hat, who put out this one album of nine songs where he sang, played guitar & wrote all the music & lyrics. I give him some kudos for doing more than just other people's stuff that shows some seriousness approaching the project. Does it show ambition? Certainly. Over-extending of his talent? Not necessarily ... when one does some research to discover that BK went to school for music & not acting. He saw himself as more than just an actor & thus one kinda sees this album as more than a publicity moment. This is not just another actor who some TV executive said had a good voice & should sing. Well, obviously he put it out while still popular & the fact that it's his only album doesn't help his music credentials, but it rates a lot above the outings of a lot of TV stars turned singers for a day. Perhaps he realized that TV actors don't make good albums or when they do nobody gives them any credit, lots of criticism & like this one outing they all fade into obscurity just like the TV shows. Flame is fleeting. Enjoy what you can. Do your best & sleep well. This album has since become a collector's item primarily for its star, but it should be hunted up for its music too, which is surprisingly enjoyable. It's basically AM radio friendly AOR melodic rock heavy on the love ballads & light on flash. Finely textured & Kenny G or Dave Koz would have made fine guests. BK is not the strongest singer, there's no real show off highs here, but has a nice warm tone & with something like the soft "China Girl" he knows how to handle vocal nuances sans autotune or a backing chorus. In many ways I'm reminded the musical world of Dan Fogelberg or Boz Skaggs. It's that straight ahead feel good music for a rainy night with your girl. Not cheesy 80's rock, though maybe some keyboards & electric drums & horn lines that date it a little bit, not Americana or bar band-ish. It's that area of music as undefinable today as AM radio is popular that lasts in movie soundtracks. Check out the funky basslines in "Sleeping Beauty" & "One Night" & then decide if this is just another throwaway gimic TV album.

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