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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Billy Satellite - 2016 Billy Satellite II
Billy Satellite - 2016 Billy Satellite II

ARTIST: Billy Satellite
ALBUM: Billy Satellite II
YEAR: 2016


LINEUP: Monty Byrom - vocals, guitars * Danny Chauncey - guitars * Ira Walker - bass * Tom Falletti - drums * Bill Cuomo - guest keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 You And Me Tonight * 02 Honesty * 03 Slippin' Away * 04 Fantasy Girl * 05 Secrets In Her Heart * 06 Sorry * 07 You Got Nothing On Me * 08 Girls Like You * 09 Turnin' Pages * 10 Final Stand


The debut Billy Satellite album remains a permanent fixture in my CD collection. No doubt others too. Nothing more needs to be said on that LP/CD. A top tenner for mine. Of course the band stored up a bunch of demos for a possible 1985 sophomore release. This unfortunately didn't happen with Capitol Records, and the members eventually went their separate ways. Nearly thirty years later, these demos finally get an official release from AOR Heaven, but truth be told, I wish they hadn't, because the quality of the output is pretty poor. If the quality couldn't be given a pristine mix, then they should've left the songs alone. There's nothing worse than mutton dressed up as lamb, as the saying goes. By the time this album was ready to be recorded in 1985, Monty and the BS team were up against it. New producer Keith Olsen wanted to ring in the changes, including the idea of bringing in session bassist Randy Jackson. Creative differences had arrived in town early it would seem. Only keyboardist Bill Cuomo was added to the project, but Ira Walker was retained. Also gone was Capitol's A&R 'go-to' guy John Carter. Once replacement Jimmy Iovine came in, Billy Satellite were out. The album was shelved for decades.

The Songs
The opener 'You And Me And The Night' is a fantastic song, and showcases the band's harder approach second time in. But it's also here that the fidelity issues are apparent. It's beyond shoddy to be honest. In fact, the quality of the songs overall are superb, and one only wishes that the original takes could've been preserved for posterity's sake, and for proper future restoration. The change in fidelity is obvious once we transition to the second track 'Sorry'. Just imagine if this was on the debut album? it would've made an outrageous companion to 'Satisfy Me'. 'You Got Nothing On Me' is the album's slo-mo moment, and an ideal contender for an MTV video I reckon. 'Girls Like You' is another track suffering in the fidelity stakes, a bit of a wobbly entrance coming in, it manages to balance up eventually. 'Fantasy Girl' to this album is what 'The Lonely One' was to the debut. A fun filled romp, with a southern tinge. 'Secrets In Her Heart' is a real undercover lover tune, long trench coat and hat are the order of the day for this one. 'Slippin' Away' is my pick as the album's best track. Billy Satellite had this knack of wrapping heartfelt vocals around superb arrangements, and this one was no exception. I'm sorry but the background noise on 'Final Stand' was just too audible to ignore. The dynamics of this mostly laid back track made it impossible to ignore the hiss on the quieter passages. Someone forgot to use the compressor on this track.

In Summary
Still, being a huge fan of this band, I'll just have to blink and ignore what's going on with this CD and accept it for what it is. I'm not quite sure what materials Chris Lyne (responsible for the remaster), had to work with. It's not as bad as those RPM and Refugee efforts from MTM Music a decade ago, and don't get my started on those Renaissance reissues, plus the Majestic Rock and Kreshendo releases out of the UK. If there is any justice in this world, AOR Heaven or Frontiers should throw some money at Monty and Danny and get Billy Satellite back in the public eye once again.

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#1 | gdazegod on June 12 2016 01:44:03
My physical CD of this album turns up next week courtesy of Mike over at NEH Records, so I'll be able to verify the fidelity once I apply the Spectral Analyzer to it. But I'm guessing the 320kbps rips that are out there already are generated from the same source. I'll be eating humble pie otherwise.
#2 | Nick C on June 12 2016 19:12:40
Cool G -, this one is on my 'one to get' list so I'll be interested how the end product compares. But if as above the quality is a bit dodgy I'll probably wait about until the price drops....at least as you say it's not as bad as the Refugee releases.
#3 | gdazegod on July 01 2016 06:34:52
Well, sorry to say, the quality of the physical CD fidelity is - as I feared. Very bad. My CD turned up last week from NEH (thanks Mike), and all the versions you hear out there on the Net confirm that this a poor quality CD. Unfortunate but true.
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