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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Remixes & Rarities' [3CD]
Artist - Hot Chocolate

Cherry Pop (UK) will release the latest release in their Remixes & Rarities series this upcoming February 7th, 2020, from one of my all-time favorite bands of the era, Hot Chocolate.

This 3CD compilation features a wide selection of rare and hard to find extended versions, remixes and b-sides by one of the best loved, successful and enduring bands of the 1970s and 1980s.

The British soul band, formed by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson, remarkably had a big hit single at least once every year from 1970 to 1984, and their 1975 song 'You Sexy Thing' made the Top 10 in three decades!

In 1970, Hot Chocolate, with the help of record producer Mickie Most, began releasing tracks that became hits, such as 'Love Is Life', 'Emma', 'You Could Have Been a Lady' (a US and Canadian hit for April Wine), and 'I Believe in Love'.

All those releases were on the RAK record label, owned by Most. Brown and bassist Tony Wilson wrote most of their original material, and also provided hits for Herman's Hermits ('Bet Yer Life I Do'), Julie Felix ('Heaven is Here'), and Mary Hopkin ('Think About Your Children').

Gradually the band started to become UK Singles Chart regulars. One of the hits from this period, 'Brother Louie', actually featured a guest spoken vocal from Alexis Korner.

However, it was in the disco era of the mid-1970s that Hot Chocolate became a big success. A combination of high production standards, the growing confidence of the main songwriting team of Wilson and Brown, and tight vocal harmonies enabled them to secure further big hits such as 'You Sexy Thing' and 'Every 1's a Winner', which were also US hits, peaking at #3 (1976) and #6 (1979), respectively.

On a side note, in case you were interested, 'Every 1's a Winner' featured a distinctive distorted guitar riff by Harvey Hinsley using a Roland GR-500.

After Wilson's departure for a solo career, that included a 1976 album I Like Your Style, Brown assumed all songwriting duties. Wilson was initially replaced by Brian Satterwhite; before Satterwhite departed the band and Olive switched to bass as his primary instrument.

In 1977, after 15 hits, they finally reached #1 with 'So You Win Again'. It was one of the few of their recordings that was not written, at least partly, by Brown (the track was a Russ Ballard composition).

The band became the only group, and one of just three acts, that had a hit in every year of the 1970s in the UK charts (the other two being Elvis Presley and Diana Ross).

Hot Chocolate continued well into the 1980s, and clocked up another big hit record with 'It Started with a Kiss', in 1982, which reached #5 in the UK.

In all, the group charted 25 UK Top 40 hit singles and this incredible new 3CD set features 36 tracks, including extended versions and remixes of some of Hot Chocolate’s best known songs.

Along with that are many 7" single b-sides with a number of these tracks making their first ever appearance on CD here.

Disc: 1
1. 'So You Win Again (Stereo)'
2. 'So You Win Again (Mono)'
3. 'So You Win Again'
4. 'West End of Park Lane'
5. 'Every 1's a Winner' (12" Version)
6. 'Going Through the Motions' (12" Version) (2011 Remaster)
7. 'Mindless Boogie' (Extended Version)
8. 'The Girl Is a Fox'
9. 'Gimme Some of Your Lovin''
10. 'I've Got You on My Mind'
11. 'Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy?' (12" Version)

Now, as much as I'm a HUGE Fan of this band, always have been since their explosion onto the music scene (for me, at least) in the early '70s, I'm definitely not a big fan of when sets come out with the same song back-to-back-to-back (especially right out the gate).

Here that happens with three versions of 'So You Win Again' (Stereo, Mono and single mix), which, and as much as it is a great song to listen to, loses its gleam after the third spin. The smooth R&B story of a lady of the night within 'West End of Park Lane' is still lovely to hear and that's backed by a brilliant 'Every 1's a Winner' (12" Version) and then the funky soul of 'Going Through the Motions' (12" Version) (2011 Remaster).

The paranoia-filled 'Mindless Boogie' (Extended Version) has always been an interesting song to me, and then comes the rarity 'The Girl Is a Fox,' which was only ever released as a Flexi-disc 7" single back in the day. The b-side to 'No Doubt About It' is next in the form of 'Gimme Some of Your Lovin', with the first CD rounding out with 'I've Got You on My Mind' and then comes the forceful, guitar-heavy funk of 'Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy?' (12" Version).

Disc: 2
1. 'You'll Never Be So Wrong' (12" Version)
2. 'Robot Love'
3. 'A Night to Remember'
4. 'Bed Games'
5. 'Got to Get Back to Work'
6. 'It's My Birthday'
7. 'Heartache No.9' (Extended Remix)
8. 'Heartache No.9' (Dub Version)
9. 'Every 1's a Winner' (Extended Groove Mix)
10. 'Every 1's a Winner' (Groove Mix)
11. 'Every 1's a Winner'(Groove Mix Bonus Beats)
12. 'Every 1's a Winner' (Sexy Remix)
13. 'Heaven Is in the Backseat of My Cadillac' (D.D. Convertible Mix)
14. 'Heaven Is in the Backseat of My Cadillac' (D.D. Mix)

The bass guitar-led early '80s track 'You'll Never Be So Wrong' is a lush song and is backed seamlessly by both the dancefloor funk of 'Robot Love' and then the b-side to 'Chances,' the laid back soul of 'A Night to Remember.'

The b-side to their 1982 chart hit 'Girl Crazy' (a UK #7 hit), 'Bed Games' is an interesting musical direction that Hot Chocolate took, and that's backed by the b-side to the single 'What Kinda Boy You Looking For (Girl),' the beautiful 'Got to Get Back to Work.'

Next up is the b-side to 'Tears on the Telephone,' the poppy beat of 'It's My Birthday,' which is followed by the downright brilliant, feet-tappin' grooves of 'Heartache No.9' (Extended Remix and Dub Version). Then we get four (4) versions of the big hit 'Every 1's a Winner' (Extended Groove Mix, Groove Mix, Groove Mix Bonus Beats and Sexy Remix)!

This second disc rounds out with the bass and drum heavy melodic thump of 'Heaven Is in the Backseat of My Cadillac' (D.D. Convertible Mix and D.D. Mix).

Disc: 3
1. 'You Sexy Thing' (Extended Replay Mix)
2. 'You Sexy Thing' (Ben Liebrand Remix)
3. 'You Sexy Thing' (Sexy Bonus Beats)
4. 'You Sexy Thing' (Sexy Instrumental)
5. 'No Doubt About It' (Tequila Mix)
6. 'No Doubt About It' (Little Tequila Mix)
7. 'Hot Chocolate Megamix (Emma/So You Win Again/You Sexy Thing/Every 1's a Winner/You Could've Been a Lady/Heaven Is in the Back Seat of My Cadillac)'
8. 'You Sexy Thing' (Winner Mix) 12"
9. 'You Sexy Thing' (The Winner Mix) 7"
10. 'The Sexy Single Mix (You Sexy Thing/Every 1's a Winner/So You Win Again/No Doubt About It/You Sexy Thing)'
11. 'Are You Getting Enough Happiness' (12" Version) (2011 Remaster)

The third and final disc opens with four (4) versions of their massive hit 'You Sexy Thing' (Extended Replay Mix, Ben Liebrand Remix, Sexy Bonus Beats and Sexy Instrumental), and that's backed by one of my all-time HC favorites, the intergalactic 'No Doubt About It' (Tequila Mix and Little Tequila Mix).

Released on a promotional CD in the Netherlands in 1998, 'Hot Chocolate Megamix (Emma/So You Win Again/You Sexy Thing/Every 1's a Winner/You Could've Been a Lady/Heaven Is in the Back Seat of My Cadillac)' is actually a lot of fun to listen to, but then that's backed by two MORE versions of 'You Sexy Thing' (Winner Mix, 12" Mix and The Winner Mix, 7" Version).

Another track previously only released on that aforementioned promotional CD in the Netherlands in 1998 is 'The Sexy Single Mix (You Sexy Thing/Every 1's a Winner/So You Win Again/No Doubt About It/You Sexy Thing),' which much like the first one, is also a joy to behold.

'Are You Getting Enough Happiness' (12" Version) (2011 Remaster)' rounds the set off nicely, and as much as there are simply just way too many remixes of each song that sound the same each time, I can honestly say listening to this Remixes & Rarities 3CD set has floated me back to a time that was much simpler, easier on the eye and a musical joy to behold with the release of each and every glorious 7" single.