Music Throwback Saturday: The Horse

In the heyday of AM radio as music powerhouses in the 1960s, the DJ would talk through the instrumental.

cliff nobles1My search for Soulful Strut and Grazing in the Grass led me to another horn-driven instrumental, The Horse by Cliff Nobles & Co. I remember this title and recognize the song, but I would not have been able to put them together.

Like Soulful Strut, it is derived from another song, Love Is All Right, with the vocals of Cliff Nobles stripped. In fact, the instrumental was originally the B-side, but, improbably, went to #2 on both the pop and soul charts in 1968. The “& Co.” became MFSB.

The Horse reportedly still is played in today’s school marching bands.

It occurred to me that I had trouble remembering instrumentals’ titles because, in the heyday of AM radio as music powerhouses in the 1960s, the DJ would talk through the instrumental. He’d say, “Coming up at the top of the hour, the new hit by the Beatles! Plus the Stones, Aretha, the Rascals, and much more.” But he’d not announce the wordless tracks.

Whereas the instrumental Classical Gas, written and performed by Mason Williams, I remember extremely well, because I saw this exactly three-minute song accompany a video on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which he was a comedy writer. It went to #2 on the pop charts for two weeks, #3 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, in 1968, and won a Grammy for best pop instrumental.

Listen to

Love Is All Right – Cliff Nobles HERE or HERE

The Horse – Cliff Nobles & Co. HERE or HERE

Classical Gas – Mason Williams HERE or HERE

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Music Throwback Saturday: The Horse”

  1. I feel for Cliff Nobles: his biggest hit, and he’s nowhere on the record. Almost the same thing happened to “Judge Baby, I’m Back,” the follow-up; the B-side, “Horse Fever,” was the chart hit (#68), but “Horse Fever” has a vocal track, kinda sorta: there’s a bassman riding the groove.

    Nobles had one more chart item: “Burning Desire” (with the words) and “Switch It On” (without them). However, this pair was not the same song.

    The Phil-L.A. of Soul label, home to Nobles and to the Fantastic Johnny C, was releasing new material as late as 1979.

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