Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate Vinyl LP
Despite the potential confusion – and perhaps in hope of capitalizing on it – Lou Ragland began filling his mug with a host of recordings that would make up his Hot Chocolate's eponymous debut. The album would be released on the oh-so-cleverly-named Co-Co label in 1971 and bankrolled by a five-pointed council that included Ragland, Lyman Moffat, Loretta Walker, Tom Threat, and Leonard Jackson.
Executed at Agency Recording and engineered by longtime Ragland associate Don White, the seven-song affair is a team of vocal numbers and instrumentals in search of a leader. Volcanic Eruption's James McClain showed up to provide vocals for the chorus to "Ain't That A Groove," but the rest of the record is all Hot Chocolate.
After a solid year on stage, the group had many originals in their repertoire, but they chose to mint songs that Trina's patrons had indicated, by ballot, they'd like to hear on the LP. Designed to capture the impulsive nature of the live show, most of the material ignores the industry-standard three-minute mark, a feature that might've appealed to disc jockeys craving a cigarette or sandwich – had the record been serviced to anyone outside of Cleveland.
Dick Dugan, the Cleveland Plain Dealer sports illustrator who'd later conceive iconic mascots for the pro baseball Indians and pro football Browns during his career, was commissioned to sketch out the Hot Chocolate cover for a paltry $100.
Working from a photograph, Dugan penned an imaginative rendering of the group, performing in a mugfull of their namesake dessert drink. The album was intended primarily as a keepsake for Trina's patrons, who scooped up the 1000-copy pressing before slamming down another round.
Hot Chocolate Hot Chocolate Track Listing:
1. Ain't That A Groove
2. So Dam Funky
3. Sexy Moods of Your Mind
4. Messin With Sly
5. We Had True Love (LP Version)
6. What You Want To Do
7. What Should I Do
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