William D. "Smitty" Smith provides a distinctive touch and sound on electric keyboards in the days prior to digital sampling. Perhaps befitting a session guy, this artist's nickname is frankly the dullest among the monikers acquired by performers named Willie Smith, the redundant Smitty sounding weak compared to Big Eyes, the Lion, or the obscure Long Time.
Smith plays on many hit records including tracks by Tracy Chapman, Billy Joel, and the James Gang, to pick a small and not exactly compatible mix from his lengthy discography. One of his earliest appearances was on a heartfelt cover version of the pretentious "When I Die" from Blood, Sweat & Tears, Smith singing as well as covering multiple keyboards including harpsichord with a combo hoping to strike the Motherlode. Blood, Sweat & Tears frontman David Clayton-Thomas liked what he heard enough to enlist Smith for a solo project a few years later and by 1977 he was an ad hoc member of the group itself.
The gospel atmosphere found in much of his playing appealed to producers in a variety of genres including folk-rock, the stylistic mishmash of Ry Cooder projects, and the jazzy virtuosity of the Pointer Sisters. Smitty got to make his own Smitty LP for A&M circa 1978, his one apparent effort as a solo artist featuring a great deal of wistful romantic material. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi