R.I.P. Pioneering songwriter and parody singer Clarence "Blowfly" Reid

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    (January 16, 2016) We are saddened to report to SoulTrackers the death of Clarence Henry Reid, aka “Blowfly” from cancer at age 76. Reid had a long career writing and producing for some of the big names in Florida R&B, such as Betty Wright and KC and the Sunshine Band. He was also known to some for his alter ego, as the sexually explicit singer and rapper Blowfly.

    During the 1960s and 1970s Reid wrote for and produced artists including Betty Wright, Sam & Dave, Gwen McCrae, Jimmy "Bo" Horne, Bobby Byrd, and KC & the Sunshine Band. During this period he was also a recording artist, cutting many of his own songs, including "Nobody But You Babe"

    (January 16, 2016) We are saddened to report to SoulTrackers the death of Clarence Henry Reid, aka “Blowfly” from cancer at age 76. Reid had a long career writing and producing for some of the big names in Florida R&B, such as Betty Wright and KC and the Sunshine Band. He was also known to some for his alter ego, as the sexually explicit singer and rapper Blowfly.

    During the 1960s and 1970s Reid wrote for and produced artists including Betty Wright, Sam & Dave, Gwen McCrae, Jimmy "Bo" Horne, Bobby Byrd, and KC & the Sunshine Band. During this period he was also a recording artist, cutting many of his own songs, including "Nobody But You Babe"

    Reid wrote sexually explicit versions of hit songs for fun but only performed them for his friends at parties or in the studio. In 1971, he along with a band of studio musicians recorded a whole album of dirty songs under the name Blowfly. The album, The Weird World of Blowfly, features Reid dressed as a low-rent supervillain on its cover. He created this alter ego to protect his career as a songwriter and continued to perform in bizarre costumes as his Blowfly character and continued to record sexually explicit albums throughout the 1970s/80s. The albums were widely popular as "party records.”

    Blowfly's profane style earned Reid legal trouble. He was sued by songwriter Stanley Adams, who was ASCAP president at the time, for spoofing "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" as "What a Difference a Lay Makes". Reid's own compositions have been sampled by dozens of hip hop, R&B, and electronic artists (such as Beyonce, Wu Tang Clan, DJ Quik, DMX, Method Man & Redman, Main Source, DJ Shadow, Eazy-E, RJD2, Jurassic 5, Big Daddy Kane, Mary J. Blige, Brand Nubian, and the Avalanches) but Reid has received almost no money from sampling due to signing away most of his royalties.

    After 17 years of sporadic touring and occasional re-recording of his classic raps, Blowfly signed with Jello Biafra's independent record label Alternative Tentacles in 2005. Fahrenheit 69, the first album under the new contract, featured appearances from Slug of Atmosphere, King Coleman, Gravy Train, and Afroman.

    Blowfly's Punk Rock Party, a 2006 album release from Alternative Tentacles, features several punk rock classics given the Blowfly treatment—including a rewrite of the Dead Kennedys song "Holiday in Cambodia" recast as "R. Kelly in Cambodia", which features Biafra (the song's composer and original singer) playing a trial judge. Blowfly completed his first tour of Australia in March 2007, and toured Germany with Die Ärzte in 2008. He performed at the 2010 Big Day Out music festival, held in Australia and New Zealand.

    The Weird World of Blowfly, directed by Jonathan Furmanski, premiered at South by Southwest in 2010 and received a wider release in September 2011.

    On January 12, 2016, Blowfly drummer "Uncle" Tom Bowker announced in a statement on the Blowfly Facebook page that Reid was suffering from terminal liver cancer and had been admitted to a hospice facility in Florida, even as Reid was preparing the release of a new album entitled 77 Trombones.

    Portions of this article licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Blowfly.

    Thanks to Gary Van den Bussche of Disco, Soul, Gold for letting us know

     
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