The key component to Hot Chocolate’s soulful pop was lead vocalist and chief songwriter Errol Brown who’s warm and emotional pvocals gave the band an intriguing dimension.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Hot Chocolate
ALBUM: Cicero Park
SERIAL: SRAK 507
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Errol Brown – vocals * Tony Connor – drums * Larry Ferguson – keyboards * Harvey Hinsley – guitar * Pat Olive – bass, percussion, vocals * Tony Wilson – bass, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Cicero Park * 02 Could Have Been Born In The Ghetto * 03 A Love Like Yours * 04 You’re A Natural High * 05 Emma * 06 Changing World * 07 Disco Queen * 08 Makin’ Music * 09 Funky Rock N Roll Music * 10 Bump And Dilly Down
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Originally The Hot Chocolate Band, this outfit’s first single released in 1969 was a cover of John Lennon‘s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ done in a misguided reggae style. Yeah, I’ve heard it and it’s not very good really, although Lennon reportedly liked it enough to put it out on Apple just before The Beatles began to implode.
With Apple souring, the band hooked up with legendary producer/record label mogul Mickie Most who lured Hot Chocolate to his RAK Records which in the early 70s would become a key player in Glam rock sound. The label included Suzi Quatro, Mud, Racey, The Arrows and Smokie finding their way under Most’s visionary tutelage to chart success.
The key component to Hot Chocolate’s soulful pop was lead vocalist and chief songwriter Errol Brown who’s warm and emotional vocals gave the band an intriguing dimension. Interracial, the band on their first long player ‘Cicero Park’ was very much a product of its time although certainly not limited to R&B with bubblegum, glam and 60’s Britpop heard throughout the albums ten cuts.
The title track and ‘Could Have Been Born in the Ghetto’ are mid-paced, orchestrated and in a word- haunting, almost psychedelic in spots taking me back to War and their 1972 masterpiece ‘The World Is A Ghetto’. The follow-up ‘A Love Like Yours’ is pure pop while ‘Emma’ as depressing as it is lyrically, became a big hit in both the UK and U.S. ‘Disco Queen’ was biggie on the charts as well and is everything you’d expect with a funky beat and hooks galore.
Finally ‘Bump And Dilly Down’ targets the then softening bubblegum market, but on Hot Chocolate’s own terms spicing things up with plenty of funk along the way and closing out an album that does sound dated from time to time, but is a fun ride worth taking every now and again.
Recently reissued by Cherry Red’s 7T’s label as a double disc set and includes the original versions of ‘You Could’ve Been A Lady’ which became the first hit single for April Wine and the evergreen ‘Brother Louie’ made famous by Stories. There is a brace of other single A & B sides and a jam packed booklet with picture sleeves and extensive liner notes.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)