Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Cliff Nobles: My Love Is Getting Stronger (Atlantic 45-2352)
Poor Cliff Nobles. His only hit was "The Horse" and he wasn't even on it. Well, we won't reiterate that tale here. This effort goes back to 1966 and was one of two Nobles recorded for Atlantic. And once you've heard it, you'll realize how sad it was that Atlantic couldn't have pushed this a little harder because it's a true groover and Nobles shows himself to be a really on fire vocalist.
If I may interject a little commentary here, I'd like to say that I HATE the term "Northern Soul." It isn't even a genre, fercryin'outloud! It's just something a bunch of bored Brits came up with for a bunch of records that they thought sounded alike. Whenever I see a record described as "Northern Soul," a stigma is immediately attached to that record. I expect it to be some kind of twee, sugar-coated thing, when it could really be a soul monster. I like my soul records as much as the next guy, but leave the "Northern Soul" label behind, okay? It's really a meaningless label. This is just my opinion and my opinion only.
Now, back to this 45. It opens with a thumpin' bass, steady drums and a slight hint of bongos. Then, the horns kick in along with Cliff shoutin' for all the world "My love is gettin' stronger day by day." The horn riff is completely infectious and Cliff's rough vocals only add fuel to the fire. He even says so himself: "Like a fire....it keeps burnin'." The sound is loud and propulsive and if it doesn't lead you to the dance floor, you must be crawlin' over with rigor mortis!
I know, I know, it wasn't a hit. But, dad-burn-it, it shoulda been! This is a smokin' soul record no matter how you cut it. And Cliff's got other smokers, too, like "Judge, Baby, I'm Back" and "Burning Desire." You might give his "Love Is All Right" a try, too. I'm not sayin' you can't go wrong playing "The Horse" a few more times, but give Mr. Nobles' vocal sides a day in court. That's what he was trying to do anyway...before fate sort of silenced him.