Ten Clarence "Blowfly" Reid Songs Worth Knowing
takes viewers on a fascinating, often uncomfortable journey inside the
perverted mind of faded novelty-record legend Blowfly.
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Furmanski's documentary could have used some more insight, though, into
Clarence Reid, the enigmatic real-life figure behind Blowfly's villain
mask. One of the primary songwriters for 1970s Miami soul powerhouse TK
Records, Reid wrote and produced key songs for KC & the Sunshine Band,
Betty Wright, Gwen McRae, and Jimmy Bo Horne in the '70s -- and also
briefly enjoyed a successful solo career under his own name -- before
spending the past three-plus decades fully immersed in his Blowfly
In an effort to paint a complete picture of the South Florida
legend behind such songs as "My Baby Keeps Farting in My Face" and
"Should I Fuck That Big Ho," here's an overview of Reid/Blowfly's most
seminal work, from the sublimely soulful to the downright disgusting.
10. Clarence Reid/Blowfly, "Funky Party"
Having spent the bulk of his career recording below-the-radar cult records for independent labels, Blowfly/Reid hasn't had the opportunity to release too many videos. This one, shot in 1993 with Blowfly as its star but featuring audio from his final single as Clarence Reid in 1974, certainly makes up for it, though. Cameos in the blaxploitation-themed clip included Isaac Hayes (whose "Shaft Theme" is heavily jacked in the song), '70s actors Rudy Ray Moore, Jim Kelly and Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, Fishbone, and, appropriately enough, one of the earliest appearances by video vixen Karrine "Superhead" Steffens.
9. KC & the Sunshine Band, "Sound Your Funky Horn"
While Blowfly's campaign for credit as the true pioneer of rap lacks hard evidence, Clarence Reid's role in the birth of disco is more clear cut. TK Records released some of the earliest true disco singles, and Reid's name is on a number of them, including this one by KC & the Sunshine Band, a group he helped assemble by pairing TK Records stock boy Harry Casey with members of a local Bahamian act known as the Miami Junkanoo Band.
8. Blowfly, "I Don't Want No Woman to Give Me Nothing"
Mixed in with the parodies on The Weird World of Blowfly ("Hole Man," "Shitting on the Dock of the Bay") was this funky original, the breakdown of which was sampled by L.A. rap quartet Jurassic 5 for its best-known song, "Quality Control."
7. Gwen McCrae, "90% of Me Is You"
A minor hit at the time of its release in 1975, this soulful slow burner penned by Reid and Inez Kitts has been featured on countless rare-groove compilations and was sampled by Mobb Deep, Common, and Main Source. And it might just be the richest vocal performance from McCrae, a singer who has always sounded spectacular.
6 Clarence Reid, "Nobody but You Babe"
Bearing a resemblance to the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" (there's some dispute over which was recorded first), "Nobody but You Babe" was Reid's highest-charting song as an artist, reaching number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. More recently, the track, which features playing from Stax Records' legendary Memphis Horns, was sampled by producer Madlib on Erkyah Badu's "Real Thing."
5. Blowfly, "Sesame Street"
Although Blowfly's '70s party records featured some original compositions, more typical were X-rated parodies of popular songs from the day. On 1974's Blowfly on TV, he satirized the Batman and Ed Sullivan Show themes and also put this X-rated twist on a Sesame Street-style alphabet lesson. In the weird world of Blowfly, A stands for ass, I equals intercourse, and Z means zombie pussy. The track's funky instrumentation has been sampled by hip-hop artists such as Masta Ace and the Beatnuts.
4. Betty Wright, "Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do"
This 1968 single from Wright's debut album, My First Time Around, was rediscovered in 2006 when it was sampled by Swizz Beats as the basis for Beyoncé's "Upgrade U." Having sold off his publishing to pay off debts in 2003, Reid was unable to benefit financially from the song's appearance on the triple-platinum B'Day album.
3. Gwen McCrae "Rockin' Chair"
Before reemerging as a club queen with 1981's "Funky Sensation," the onetime wife of disco pioneer George McRae ("Rock Your Baby," "I Get Lifted") had her biggest hit with this soulful Reid composition, which reached number one on the R&B charts in 1975. Reid had earlier recorded the song himself as the B-side to the little-known single "When My Daddy Rode the West." (Unfortunately, the original has been taken down from YouTube due to copyright claims, so this 2006 version will have to suffice).
2. Betty Wright, "Clean Up Woman"
In 1971, the same year Reid first donned his pervy alter ego for the album The Weird World of Blowfly, he cowrote this seminal Miami soul record with Willie Clark. Recorded when Betty Wright was just 17, it remains one of the best-known songs of the R&B diva's four-decade-long career. Samples have turned up in numerous rap and R&B songs including, most notably, Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" remix featuring the Notorious B.I.G.
1. Blowfly "Rapp Dirty" (AKA "Blowfly's Rap")
Reid, who began his music career while living in West Palm Beach in the '60s, claims to have originally made "Rapp Dirty" in 1965. Which would make it the earliest known rap record, except that no version from that year has ever publicly emerged. That discrepancy doesn't make this 1980 recording, likely the earliest X-rated rap song and an obvious inspiration for 2 Live Crew, Too Short, and other porno-rap pioneers, any less historic. With lines like, "One, two, I said fuck you/Three, four, your mammy's a whore/Five, six, check out this dick," this tale of a black truck driver's travels through the Confederate South belongs in any discussion of all-time great novelty records. Chuck D. even credits "Rapp Dirty" (in an interview shown in The Weird World of Blowfly) with inspiring his infamous "Motherfuck him and John Wayne" line from Public Enemy's "Fight the Power."
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