The legendary Blowfly, aka Clarence Reid, released his last record, 77 Rusty Trombones, on February 19th. Although this was slated to be the end of the musical entity Blowfly, the Miami singer, songwriter, and nasty rapper, it was not supposed to be the end of Clarence Reid. However, Reid tragically died of terminal cancer earlier this year, on January 17th.
Those familiar with Reid's alter ego Blowfly, the "original nasty rapper," will appreciate the X-rated parodies that appear on his final record, such as "If You Don't Blow Me By Now" and "I Still Believe My Dick Can Fly." The record is available on CD and LP here. Blowfly was a creative outlet that emerged as early as Reid's childhood, when his grandmother heard him singing some Grand Ole Opry songs with substituted dirty lyrics and declared he was "no better than a blowfly." However, in 1971, when Henry Stone heard Reid's demented take on an Otis Redding track on the piano, he saw great potential. With X-rated "party records" by artists such as Rudy Ray Moore and Redd Foxx catching on, the naughty LP The Weird World Of Blowfly caught on and became extraordinarily popular, launching a hit career.
However, when Reid wasn't playing his Blowfly character, he had a whole other musical career as a staff songwriter for Henry Stone and Steve Alaimo's TK label. After a modest start releasing straight R & B 45s under his own name, he came to Stone and Alaimo's attention after he put Betty Wright on their radar and wrote, along with Willie Clarke, her smash hit "Girls Can't Do What The Boys Do." While Reid worked for Stone and Alaimo's TK label, he wrote several hits that topped the Billboard charts, including Gwen McCrae's "Rocking Chair" and his own "Nobody But You Babe." During his work for the label, he penned songs for almost every artist they represented, including KC And The Sunshine Band. As Reid worked for the label through the 1970s, his signature style, which seemed to combine soul, funk, and Caribbean music, became known as "The Miami Sound."
Tom Bowker of Blowfly Music Inc. recently thanked those who celebrated Reid's legacy during his service, citing that "Betty Wright, Timmy Thomas and Overtown Soul Revue performed at his beautiful, over-capacity homecoming service." He also decried the Toronto Star for labeling Reid a "violent misogynist" among other things, when he was known for writing such classic female empowerment anthems as "Clean Up Woman" for Betty Wright. Finally, he spoke to a lack of recognition at the Grammys, especially since so much of the ceremony revolved around hip-hop, including the closing act of Miami rap, which would not be possible without the inspiration of Clarence Reid.