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Hotgun - 1977 Hotgun

ARTIST: Hotgun
ALBUM: Hotgun
LABEL: Guinness
YEAR: 1977


LINEUP: Personnel unknown

TRACK LISTING: 01 Joe Pepitone * 02 Show Business * 03 Whatever Gets You Through The Night * 04 Nashville Bats * 05 My Fathers Son * 06 Love Graph * 07 Silly Love Songs * 08 Afternoon Delight * 09 Fallin' In Love * 10 Straight Shootin' Woman

Guinness Records was a subsidiary of the Dellwood label and both were big players in the world of 'Tax Scam' imprints that worked the seedy underbelly of the music business during the 1970's. The idea behind the scam was to set up a label using already recorded material such as demos, recording projects already in the can-sometimes stolen and other sources including swapping with other labels in many cases without the artis's knowledge. The label could then claim large recording expenses without having put a dime into the project and claim a tax loss at the end of the year for whoever the parent company was. Artwork for these releases was always minimal, rarely with credit information and almost never promoted as a normal release which of course would be defeating the purpose. Guinness was the biggest purveyor of the tax scam ideal with almost 70 releases under their hat and many of these albums are now highly collectable. I have a handful of the Guinness albums in my collection that range from good to fair, Hotgun being one of the better of the lot. As usual there is no personnel information other than five tracks written by 'Victor' and production credits are non-existent. The pop art cover is generic at best in keeping with the label's reputation.

The Songs
More than likely, Hotgun were a demonstration project that found its way into Guinness' lap, but we'll never know. It's definitely a mid-70's project, not earlier and the five cover tunes are a dead give away. With the band name Hotgun opening with the laid back 'Joe Pepitone' is a bit of a surprise as I expected something a little more rocking if you know what I mean and we get there with the second track 'Show Business'. Featuring vocals very much reminiscent of Paul McCartney, 'Red Rose Speedway' comes to mind almost immediately with a noticeable nod to Wings. The albums first cover - John Lennon's Whatever Gets You Through The Night' is nice enough and 'Nashville Bats' is more of the same McCartney vibe found earlier while 'My Father's Son' is largely forgettable. Side two's only original 'Love Graph' is a glam rock mess and I'm not quite sure what they were going for here, nor do I understand the almost note perfect cover of Wings 'Silly Love Songs'. Of course I am a big fan of the tune, but this adds nothing to the original which brings us to Hotgun's version of the Starland Vocal Band's love-or-hate hit 'Afternoon Delight'. Again, I'm left scratching my head and while I don't mind the cavity inducing original, this cover like the earlier Wings tune brings nothing new to the table and I wonder if Hotgun or whoever they were really thought this would impress a record label? Closing out with the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band classic 'Fallin' in Love' and Steppenwolf's 'Straight Shootin' Woman' are both nice choices with varying degrees of success making for a very uneven release that probably was never meant to be in the first place.

In Summary
Collecting tax scam releases is increasing in popularity, but it's an expensive proposition and many of these albums are of very poor quality musically so buyers beware. Still, there are treasures to be found for those willing to explore this still relatively uncharted world of '70s music. Happy hunting!

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