Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hot Chocolate - Love Shot

October marked the thirtieth anniversary of Love Shot, the eighth and final studio album during the 1980’s for the UK band Hot Chocolate. The roster at the time included Errol Brown (vocals), Tony Connor (drums), Larry Ferguson (keyboards), Harvey Hensley (guitar), and Pat Olive (bass).

Side one starts with “Sexy Caribbean Girl”. This primal mid-tempo tune has a strong beat that rises like desire-filled anticipation on the chorus.

"Let's Try Again" is a mid-tempo plea for reconciliation. I like that the synths are complimentary to the piano and not overpowering.

"Secret Hideaway" has a light, fairy-tale like romantic aura to it musically while the lyrics are sensual without being offending.

“Tears on the Telephone” was the A-side to the first single; it went to number 37 in the UK, number 22 in Ireland, and number 18 in the Netherlands. It balances a breakup with a more up-beat rhythm. The song shows that even real men will cry over love lost.

The B-side to the third single was “Jeannie”. This one reminds me a little bit of the band's 1974 hit "Emma" (beyond the fact that both are songs named after women). Though their tempos vary greatly, they both have a hint of regret to them lyrically.

Side two opens with “I’m Sorry”, the second single. Apologetically, it only reached number 89 in the UK. It treads a similar thematic path as the earlier "Let's Try Again".

"Friend of Mine" tells of a guy left alone with a good buddy's partner. Which will win out: loyalty or desire?

"Touch the Night", with its allure of carnal curiosity, is next.

Sung predominantly in a falsetto, "Love Is a Good Thing" plays out like a positive mantra for commitment. I get the sense the singer is trying to convince himself of the titular statement. It was the B-side to the second single.

The album closes with “I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I)”, which was also released as the third single. It went to number 13 in the UK and number 12 in Ireland. It bounces in on a 70's sounding rhythm as the singer comes to grip with a woman how has left him because she wanted more.

I did not hear any of Love Shot back in 1983 when it was released. It was not until earlier this year when I picked up the four CD set Hot Chocolate - Box Selection, a collection of their first eight albums. The price was definitely right, and it gave me a complete look at the band's earliest releases (from 1974 to 1983). You can check it out too up on Spotify; this album is on the latter half of fourth disk. The UK R&B scene differed a good bit from what was going on here in the States, and Hot Chocolate was one of those bands that pioneered some of those sounds.

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