Thursday, March 15, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Cliff Nobles & Co.

Artist:Cliff Nobles & Co.
Song:The Horse
Album:The Phil-L.A. of Soul Music Singles Collection 1968-1972

This 1968 Philly Soul instrumental classic reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The only problem is it wasn't supposed to be an instrumental. So singer Cliff Nobles didn't actually appear on his own hit. And then he never had another hit. He was born Aug. 4, 1941 in Grove Hill, AL and grew up in Mobile. He had a group called The Delroys in high school. Nobles moved to Philadelphia to make it in the music business. But he had a rough time and moved in with several other starving musicians in Norristown. He recorded three singles for Atlantic that went nowhere. Then he formed Cliff Nobles & Co. with bassist Benny Williams, guitarist Bobby Tucker and drummer Tommy Soul. They recorded some demos with producer Jesse James and he got them a record deal with Phil-L.A. of Soul Records. Their second single was Love Is All Right with an instrumental version on the B-side called The Horse featuring what would become known as the MFSB horns. As sometimes happens in radio, DJs flipped the record and played the B-side. The Horse reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. Another instrumental Grazing In The Grass by Hugh Masekela was number one. Apparently this was the only time in history that two instrumentals topped the Billboard chart. The Horse sold a million copies. Of course it was obviously a fluke so when Phil-L.A. released more Cliff Nobles instrumentals, they failed. You can get those recordings on this CD. Nobles almost had a top 40 hit on Roulette where he actually sang. But soon after he quit the music business and was in construction for many years. Cliff Nobles died on Oct. 12, 2008 at age 67. The Horse is a soul classic frequently sampled by hip hop guys and it's a marching band standard at colleges in the south. Here's a video for The Horse by Cliff Nobles & Co.

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