Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Cliff Nobles
The Horse/Love is Alright


Released 1968 on Phil-L.A.-of Soul
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 11/02/2001ce


I started buying records in late 1967 and by summer 1968 I was hooked on AM radio stations out of New York City like WABC and WMCA not to mention the ultra cool Connecticut stations like WADS and WDRC in Hartford. It was really a magical time to be a kid and radio proved to be my lifeline to the real world, radio was all over the place in those days and would give every type of music a chance, one minute you would get the Rolling Stones the next minute something like Sergio Mendes then back to Big Brother and the Holding Company. I clearly remember buying "Summertime Blues" by Blue Cheer and "This Guy's In Love With You" by Herb Alpert on the same day. This was just before music critics were in full swing with their bullshit snobish attitudes, in those days you just bought a record because you dug it and didn't worry if it was hip or not.
During the summer of '68 WABC used 2 instrumental records that were big hits as lead in music to the nightly news, one was "Grazing in the Grass" by Hugh Masakela and "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles. Both records were brilliant but "The Horse" really stood out. It starts at breakneck speed with a punchy brass section, funky guitar and hooks galore, to me it sounds like members of Booker T and the MG's and The Electric Flag playing the "Hawaii 5-O" theme. The record is short and sweet and will really get you moving. The flipside "Love Is Alright" is a less successful vocal version of "The Horse". Who is Cliif Nobles? I'm afraid I don't have a clue, but he did try to capitalize on the success of "The Horse" in 1969 with the less than thrilling "Horse Fever" and later that year gave us "Pony The Horse" but I have not yet heard that one, shades of Carl Douglas with his followup to "Kung Fu Fighting" the less than inspired "Dance the Kung Fu" or whatever it was called.
When I first heard the Teardrop Explodes brilliant 45 "Reward" I instantly thought of Cliff Nobles' 1968 hit "The Horse" it has the same driving runaway train-like groove, I wonder if the Teardrops had been digging that record during the sessions for "Reward"?


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