Ten Clarence "Blowfly" Reid Songs Worth Knowing
|Photo by Ladi von Jansky|
Jonathan 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 persona.
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.