While contemporary pop stars are often celebrated then quickly forgotten, Clarence “Blowfly” Reid’s colorful four-decade journey through the world of soul and hip-hop borders on the iconic.
Reid wrote, performed, and/or produced the lion’s share of Miami’s indie soul/R&B output from the late-’60s to the mid-’70s. His recordings with Benny Latimore, Gwen McCrae, Timmy Thomas, and Paulette Reaves topped Billboard’s R&B charts and remain classics of the form. He is also credited with discovering legendary singer Betty Wright in 1966. He penned much of her material, including the sassy smash hits “Clean Up Woman” and “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do.” Along the way, he assisted in the formation of KC and the Sunshine Band by introducing the group’s visionaries, Harry Wayne Casey and Rick Finch, to each other.
| Blowfly with Pong, Dj Scuba Gooding Jr, and Dj Donnie D |
Wed, Dec 21
Sam’s Burger Joint
330 E. Grayson
When Reid reinvented himself in the ’70s as the masked underground rap-master, Blowfly, the nascent hip-hop world experienced its true big bang. Blowfly’s funk-fortified, sexually explicit albums became the most entertaining and sought-after party records of the time, the musical equivalent of Redd Foxx’s underground comedy records a decade earlier. Fly’s records were just absurd enough not to be banned, but salty enough to be restricted to well-chosen company. Reid and T.K. Records owner Henry Stone teamed to release nearly a dozen Blowfly albums on the Weird World label, including Blowfly’s Party, Rappin’, Dancin’ & Laughin’, and Zodiac Blowfly.
Rap royalty from Snoop Dogg to 50 Cent to 2 Live Crew has acknowledged Blowfly as one of the godfathers of the genre, and punk luminary Jello Biafra recently showed his admiration by releasing the new Blowfly CD, Fahrenheit 69, on his Alternative Tentacles label. The album confirms that age has done nothing to soften Blowfly’s ferocious libido. •
– Jerry Clayworth