December 18, 1976: Henhouse Five Plus Too, Van McCoy, Bobby Pickett & Peter Ferrara, Wild Cherry, Undisputed Truth

Imports

HENHOUSE FIVE PLUS TOO: ‘In The Mood’ (US Warner Bros. WBS 8301)
Oh dear, not again!  Yes, one year later it’s back with a bang, but sounding like Glenn Miller could never have imagined it.  This time, Ray Stevens has clucked along to it so that it sounds as if it’s done by a lot of chickens!  Great short-term novelty, no trends forecast.

VAN MCCOY: ‘Soul Cha Cha’ (from LP ‘Rhythms Of The World, US H&L HL 69014) (Billboard chart debut 10/9/76)
Terrifically zestful Latin salsa rhythms and some Spanish chat help to spark this happy bouncer that’ll be huge here too.

BOBBY PICKETT & PETER FERRARA: ‘King Kong (Your Song)’ (US Polydor PD 14361)
Telling the story of the blockbusting film that opens here on Boxing Day, the ‘Monster Mash’ guy returns with a good chugging disco beat, sound effects, funny voices and some amusing gags among all the noise. 

WILD CHERRY: ‘Baby Don’t You Know’ (US Epic 8-50306)
Overly similar story-line and sound make for an obvious but less good follow-up.

UNDISPUTED TRUTH: ‘Let’s Go Down To The Disco’ (US Whitfield WHI 8295) (Billboard chart debut 12/11/76)
Despite the promising title, it’s a murky and disappointing muddle, not even saved by some ‘Car Wash’ clapping.


New Spins

As we threatened, here’s a complete run-down on all the Christmas records that make sense for disco use.  Amid a flurry of sleigh bells, those currently available are headed by:

VARIOUS: ‘Phil Spector’s Christmas Album’ (Phil Spector Int’l 2307005)
The radio DJs’ fave – the best disco cuts are ‘Sleigh Ride’, ‘Rudolph’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’.

ELVIS PRESLEY: ‘Elvis’s Christmas Album’ (RCA Camden CDS 1155)
Best are ‘Blue Christmas’, ‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town’, ‘Santa Bring My Baby Back’ and ‘White Christmas’.

BING CROSBY: ‘White Christmas’ (MCA 111)
Grand-daddy of ’em all!

PASADENA ROOF ORCHESTRA: ‘White Christmas’ (Transatlantic TEP 1)
Sophisticated ’30s styling, great MoR.

WOMBLES: ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’ (CBS 2842)
Jolly romper, still works well.

SLADE: ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ (Polydor 2058422)
Stomping memories.

DANA: ‘It’s Gonna Be A Cold Cold Christmas’ (GTO GT 45)
Last year’s MoR hit.

JOHN INMAN: ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ (DJM DJS 10728)
Punchily-recorded simple singalong, sadly superior to Gene Autry’s lo-fi original (CBS 4739), which rumbles badly.

SALSOUL ORCHESTRA: ‘Little Drummer Boy’ (Salsoul SZ 2015) (mentioned in Billboard column 10/23/76)
Harry Simeone does the double bump to a trendy beat.  Apart from the hustling rhythm, their ‘Christmas Jollies’ album (SZS 5507) is just like – but less fun – than the Black & White Minstrels!

MEMPHIS SOUNDS ORCHESTRA: ‘Sleigh Ride’ (RSO 2090212)
Brassily hustling with drunken synthesizer break.

BAND OF THE BLACK WATCH: ‘White Christmas’ (Spark SRL 1147)
Dire and largely unrecognisable hustle instrumental, evidently delighting some DJs.

JOHN CHRISTIE: ‘Here’s To Love’ (EMI 2554)
Gilbert O’Sullivan-style smoocher with ‘Auld Lang Syne’ bits.

BILL FREDERICKS: ‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?’ (Polydor 2058817)
Rap intro and a good souling of the lovely slow oldie.

RICHARD HENRY DEE: ‘It’s Christmas Time’ (Feelgood FLG 105)
The Decoys’ great ’72 soul slowie, slightly rearranged.

LENE LOVICH: ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ (Polydor 2058812)
Tiny-voiced Diversions chick coos it as a coy slowie.

JAMIE KENT: ‘A Child’s Prayer’ (Sonet SON 2099)
Slushy sincere slowie.

GABLE HALL SCHOOL CHOIR: ‘Reggae Christmas’ (Trojan TR 7943)
Every year since ’72 these kids have done it in reggae.


Deletions and oldies that are well worth finding must include:

PLASTIC ONO BAND: ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ (Apple)
A modern classic.

PADDY ROBERTS: ‘Merry Christmas You Suckers’ (Decca)
Cynicism from ’62.

WIZZARD: ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ (Harvest)
Superb mixer with the Spector album.

THE GOODIES: ‘Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me’ (Bradleys)
Bawdy ’74 singalong.

MUD: ‘Lonely This Christmas’ (Rak)
Slow ’74 chart-topper and a bit dull.


And a vintage Christmas segue to bow out on:

LIONEL BART ‘Give Us A Kiss For Christmas’ (Decca) / DORA BRYAN ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle’ (Fontana) / BRENDA LEE ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ (Brunswick) / MAX BYGRAVES ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ (Decca) / LITTLE BOBBY REY ‘Rockin’ “J” Bells’ (Top Rank) / RUSS CONWAY ‘Snow Coach’ (Columbia)


UK Disco Top 20 – December 18, 1976

01 01 Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – Chrysalis
02 04 Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely – Motown
03 03 Showaddywaddy – Under The Moon Of Love – Bell
04 05 Tavares – Don’t Take Away The Music – Capitol
05 02 Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music – Epic
06 20 Rose Royce – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – MCA
07 07 ABBA – Money, Money, Money – Epic
08 14 KC & The Sunshine Band – Keep It Comin’ Love – Jay Boy
09 06 Rod Stewart – Get Back – Riva
10 12 Billy Ocean – Stop Me – GTO
11 11 Barry White – Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long – 20th Century
12 NE Electric Light Orchestra – Livin’ Thing – Jet
13 NE Mud – Lean On Me – Private Stock
14 10 Steve Miller Band – Rock ‘N Me – Mercury
15 NE 10cc – The Things We Do For Love – Mercury
16 NE Yvonne Elliman – Love Me – RSO
17 18 Boney M. – Daddy Cool – Atlantic
18 08 Chicago – If You Leave Me Now – CBS
19 17 Chris Hill – Bionic Santa – Philips
20 15 Barbara Pennington – 24 Hours A Day – UA
NE = new entry; RE = re-entry

Appeared in Billboard:
#1 (Billboard chart debut 12/18/76)
#2 (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
#4 (mentioned in Billboard column 6/5/76, Billboard chart debut 6/19/76)
#5 (Billboard chart debut 9/4/76)
#6 (Billboard chart debut 12/25/76)
#8 (Billboard chart debut 10/30/76)
#11 (Billboard chart debut 11/13/76)
#17 (mentioned in Billboard column 9/25/76, Billboard chart debut 11/20/76)
#20 (Billboard chart debut 1/15/77)


No “DJ Hotline” this week.

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