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Combined with the planet's leading Afrocentric confectionary and it's derivative beverage, more than a few light bulbs were set to go off in newly christened practice spaces globally upon Hot Chocolate's inevitable suggestion. Little did Ragland know, an interracial band of musical Englishmen were eyeballing the same nom de chanson in their native Brixton. They approached John Lennon for clearance for their reggae cover of "Give Peace a Chance," but the powerful Beatle liked their interpretation so much, he added them to the band's Apple Records roster, thrusting the Brits ahead in the race to make Hot Chocolate a household name for something other than dark, sweet beverages. 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.
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*SEALED* Jacket still sealed in shrink original wrap; disc sold ungraded or "as is."
NM (Near Mint) Appears unplayed and will bear no marks, sleeve scuffs, or scratches.
EX+ (Excellent) May have one or two visible imperfections (i.e. sleeve scuffs, faint scratches, or other superficial marks) that will not affect playback.
VG+ (Very Good+) A few visible imperfections. These may include sleeve scuffs, light scratches, or other superficial marks.
VG (Very Good) Similar imperfections found on VG+ records but in slightly greater numbers. Records graded VG and above will typically not have any scratches that are deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
VG- (Very Good-) A number of visible imperfections; the presence of a considerable number of light scratches will force a VG- grade, as will the presence of significant isolated defects such as scratches deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
G (Good) Record can be played without skipping, but will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. G+ and G- are used to indicate stronger and weaker copies within this range.
*SW/DNAP* Slight warp, does not affect playback
*QUAD* Quadraphonic Sound, similar to today’s surround sound
All records are visually graded by our experienced staff, using a bright lamp and an Audio-Technica ATLP-120 turntable.