Whether you recognize the stage moniker of Clarence Reid or think of a disgusting carrion-inhabiting insect, you probably are in the right frame of mind here. Under his Christian name, Blowfly (nsfw) was quite a prolific songwriter of the r&b scene in the ’60’s and ’70’s for artists such as Sam & Dave and his pen even spewed some top 10 hits for the likes of Betty Wright, Gwen McCrae, and KC & The Sunshine Band. But his musical prowess goes beyond that. Known for making up raunchy parody lyrics to soul classics since his youth, Blowfly would perform these renditions at private parties for the pure entertainment of his music industry friends. Once he was convinced to take the act public, he donned the superhero disguise and nickname to protect his songwriting alter ego, and the legend was born.
Since most record labels wouldn’t dare to touch his often X-rated shtick, the Cochran, Georgia native produced a number of his dirty soul and funk albums independently and evolved to become the “original dirty rapper” just when the genre was taking off in the mid 1970’s. Often called misogynistic, lewd, and downright offensive, Blowfly’s parodies and perversions have been cited as influence for such luminaries as Kool Keith, 2 Live Crew, Weird Al Yankovic, Ice-T, and Rudy Ray Moore.
At age 73, he’s still kicking, including the release of 3 albums (2 studio, 1 live) over the past 7 years and is still travelling and performing live to date. A recent (and critically acclaimed) documentary, appropriately titled The Weird World of Blowfly (nsfw), traverses the life of Clarence/Blowfly through their early and musical history to the present day.
So, why all the hub-bub over what many consider just a dirty old man? Well, Blowfly is gracing the city of Atlanta this Saturday, July 14 at 529, and The Electric Boogaloo will be giving away a pair of passes on this Thursday’s (7/12) show. The bill also carries a couple of Atlanta acts, Noot d’ Noot and 4-IZE, which are currently pushing boundaries in the funk and hip-hop genres, respectively. So tune in, just as I know you normally would, to get a chance to see a living legend. We’ve even cobbled together a couple of radio edits of some ‘fly classics, and trust me, that was no easy task.
In the meantime, here is a sample (nsfw) of the master’s work.