Year of Release: 1981
Since the success of Mud's "Lonely This Christmas", a number of artists have realised that you can cash in on the festive season even if your output is melancholy. It's almost astonishing to think that it took a family-friendly glam rock band to realise that besides being a time of tinsel, booze, gifts and glee, the season has an unforgiving bleakness for those who have recently experienced romantic disappointment (or worse still, death). While everyone else is lounging around with their loved ones, there are plenty of others enjoying a succulent Findus Turkey Meal for One. Spare them a thought and ask them out for a drink, readers (but don't worry, I'm not talking about myself here. Well, at least not yet. But my wife has warned me that if I don't clear some of those wooden boxes of records out soon...)
The mysterious one-single wonders Clockwork take on the melancholy theme with soulful determination on the A-side "Don't Leave Me Lonely at Christmas", which is such a longing plea for a lover to return that you're almost tempted to telephone him to play it down the wires. The singer, whoever she is, walks the tight line between convincing yearning and OTT melodrama very well, but unfortunately the song is possibly too slight to have ever stood a chance of being a smash.
Much better is the Chic-inspired B-side "Count To Four" which, to be honest, has bugger all to do with Christmas but at least sounds like a serious party is going on somewhere. I'm slightly surprised this wasn't held back for use as another A-side by the group in the future, especially as two B-sides were offered to the public on the flip here. As things stood, the band were never heard from again.
As for who they were, search me. I suspect that as the Liverpudlian songwriter Norman Smeddles penned all the tracks on this record, they may have been a studio group created by him with the aim of getting a Christmas hit, but if so, that extra B-side track on the flip seems mightily decadent and wasteful. If anyone knows more, please share some information.