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Keith Christopher

'Naked Truth'

CD Review By Jack Nichols

keithchristopher.gif - 45.65 KWhat can be said about the late Keith Christopher's new CD, Naked Truth? Initially, the naked truth—for this reviewer—seemed to be that Keith's hauntingly handsome face looked sexier than his singing voice sounded. But his voice is just different, that's all. It grew on me quickly.

Taste's a matter of taste, right? Now, when I hear Keith Christopher, testosterone levels rise.

D.J.'s ought to like his Dance/Don't Dance—the good beat and the lyrical wit. The Keith Christopher sound somehow induces a deeper kind of pleasure in listeners. Some listeners might even feel a keen kind of kinship-pleasure, a rush that can—in a larger sense—outshine momentary testosterone rushes, if you will.

As I longer doted on Keith's unique voice and noted the visceral, haunting lyrics he'd composed, this is how I felt: There just ain't nutt'in that sounds prettier than a handsome poet.

Outmusic called him "an exceptionally talented vocalist who (produced) music that is melodic, endearing and just plain thrilling to hear."

Christopher's voice does reach many startling heights. I began noticing this early on in the album.

The conservative tabloid, the New York Post, says he showed a "spectacular, wide-range…a personal, embraceable quality."

One who has drooled understandably over Keith's countenance could, say some, be so profoundly affected by what they've seen that—hypnotized by those Keith Christopher eyes-- they'd buy up every copy of Naked Truth just to share Keith's spirited compositions with all the world at Christmas.

Plus--and this is the naked truth too-- there are some really fine cuts on this album whether sexy-sounding or no. Keith Christopher wasn't just another pretty face—he was an accomplished actor, probably best known for his portrayals of Wyatt Sanders, and openly gay/HIV counselor on TV's soap, The Guiding Light.

He'd done exceptionally well as a songwriter. Billboard Magazine awarded him its Certificate of Achievement for his song (cut number 9) Smiling in the Dark. The United Nations commissioned his joyous piece One People (cut number 11) for their Environmental Program. Keith's Pieces of Lives was written and performed for the Names Project's first display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in New York City.

Keith lived creatively with AIDS for 16 years. He was an AIDS awareness advocate and served as the voice of the new treatment options campaign sponsored by Glaxo Wellcome in association with the National Minority AIDS Council and the National Lesbian/Gay Health Association. He was keynote speaker at the 1997 GMHC/AIDS Walk and has performed in many Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS shows.

Note: All profits for his Naked Truth album will go to this last-named organization.

Because he was an effective pioneer-actor-activist for AIDS causes, Keith was profiled by Tom Brokaw on NBC News in addition to being featured on Entertainment Tonight, News at Noon, on both CBS and NBC, UPN Channel 9, PBS' In the Life.

Rolanda, The Charles Perez Show, The Carnie Wilson Show and Michael Moore's TV Nation interviewed him as did many radio talk show hosts. The New York Times, Soap Opera Digest, Variety, The New York Daily News, Soap Opera Weekly, The New York Post, The Advocate and POZ rightly spotlighted this beautiful man.

Keith was quoted in Out Front magazine, telling how his singing career got its start:

"After some heavy soul-searching about how to proceed, I realized that I originally began writing songs to speak about what's important to me—whether its commercially successful or not….My homosexuality is an integral part of how I relate to the world and now I'm free to write about whatever I want and to bring all of who I am to my work."

He continued:

"A tall friend of mine recently said that being tall and being gay are very similar. He bumps his head a lot but sees things other people don't see….We as gay people have a broader venue to draw from. How often do you get to hear gay love songs on the radio?"

Keith's lover/comrade died in 1994 and after that, according to a June,1995 report, the singer himself took a turn for the worse. Even so he showed us what only real troopers can show. The show must go on, he knew, and he walked repeatedly to center stage, no matter what, performing.

nakedtruth.gif - 12.36 KAs I sit in a comfortable ringside seat in what appears to be my living room, I listen to Naked Truth—as everything else melts away. I'm staring at Keith's very pretty and somewhat hypnotic face—it's his eyes. Yup. Those eyes. Piercing, Direct. Honest. Wide.

The golden lyrics are laid out inside the CD album's cover. The producers have posthumously placed quotes from Keith as intros to the songs. The first song—which is a great one—is prefaced by a wisdom rare except in those who face life's hardest truths with both eyes open, who can say, "If all there is is naught but dross, we want to know and bear our loss."

I was fortunate," Keith says, "to be surrounded mostly by friends and family who encouraged me to live and to make the most of my life, no matter how short or long." His passionate living lyrics are a hymn to life, both instrumentally and vocally.

Favorites? Cuts 6 and 7, All that Your Heart Can Hold and Secret Dreamer.

This second song, written for snoozing felines, contains—if beauty is truth-- a singular verse of stellar beauty:

Soon all the sleepy shadows fade from the sky
But what you dream with your heart can never die.

Information about Purchase:

$15 per CD and $2 shipping and handling check or money order only

Significant Other Records
P.O. Box 1341
Old Chelsea Station
New York, New York 10113

© 1997-98 BEI