Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The past week has seen the progrock world moaning about The Thin White Duke, Smiley the "Breathlessly Beautiful," and the drummer from "Mott the Hoople." I think you knew better than to anticipate a tribute on this blog to them. They have more than enough fans. So the salute here is to BLOWFLY, and I have more albums by him than the other three put together. Which isn't to say that any of 'em even contain a song at the same level as "Space Oddity" or "Putting Out Fire (the theme for Cat People)". But hey, weren't the BLOWFLY album covers a lot less pretentious than the BOWIE album covers?

In the world of Blowfly, you wouldn't waste your time on Mott the Hoople when there was a chance to Suck the Nipple. You wouldn't be squealing "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am" to a suffragette while secretly dreaming of being in bed with Mick Jagger. And your re-write on The Shirelles would go like this:

"Tonight your head is mine completely. As you jerk it in my cunt so freely…but will you still eat me when my period comes on?"

OK, I didn't say the guy's lyrics scanned that well. There was a decent, or rather, indecent shock laugh to some of what was on those old Blowfly records. A main problem with him, over 4 decades and spanning oldies parodies and funk porn, is that he was not on a major label and was elbowed aside by others. Early in his career, the stuff from Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts was much more accessible, and later, his funk was fairly mild and inept compared with the much more offensive and angry rap material out there from Ol' Dirty Bastard, 2 Live Crew or Li'l Kim.

Back in the early 70's, it wasn't easy to find Blowfly albums, which were on the obscure "Weird World" label. Record stores were afraid to put the records on the shelf, since they usually had the skankiest topless women on them, and Blowfly in his ridiculous superhero outfit. Much of what was on the black vinyl was, frankly, aimed at blacks only…and ones with a nasty sense of humor.

Blowfly was Clarence Reid (February 14, 1939-January 17, 2016). and as Clarence, he had some success in the "clean" music world. His legit songs turned up on albums by K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Betty Wright, and Sam and Dave. K.C.'s label, TKO, released "Rap Dirty" back in 1980, which Blowfly would later insist made him "the first rapper," and a true pioneer. What he definitely was, in his Blowfly guise, was a crapper. This included his parody, "Shittin' on the Dock of the Bay." Like most parodists, he ran afoul of copyright holders. The courts were on his side, though, since parody was, and is, considered "fair use," as long as the profits are split. After all, if you change the lyrics but keep the music, the original composer should still be paid. Too bad if the lyricist who wrote "What A Difference a Day Makes" doesn't find it funny to hear "What a Difference a Lay Makes."

Reid's rather stupid comedy name was something he received as a child. Foul-mouthed almost from the time he could talk, Clarence liked to jerk around with whatever he heard on the radio. Singing along to Chubby Checker's "Do The Twist," Clarence changed the words to "Suck My Dick!" His grandmother declared, with awe if not enthusiasm, "You is nastier than a blowfly." Well, it could've been chigger, which would've been worse.

With his legit songwriting and his underground fame as Blowfly, Clarence managed to stay in showbiz year after year, and by the 1990's, the world had somewhat caught up with him, and he was getting better gigs and less hassles. Record stores that had been busted just for selling his "Porno Freak" album now stocked all his stuff. He toured with his sex songs and often was welcomed on the bill with other established acts, like Flea and the Fishbone, or colleague in dirty vinyl, Rudy Ray Moore. Jello Biafra was a fan, too.

But...Blowfly wasn't exactly going to sell out big venues, and it's no surprise that as he struggled into his 70's, his bookings were less frequent. That he was seeing little royalties from airplay or record sales in the age of Spotify and piracy, meant that he had to keep pushing to do live shows, even if his health and stamina wasn't what it once was. His website, not updated often, didn't list any dates after the summer of 2014 when he managed to book a few shows.

He probably sold t-shirts at his gigs. He had one as part of his infamous CD box set. The 3-CD set "Blowfly X-Rated" includes a t-shirt AND a membership card. Just who'd be impressed if you flash it, I don't know. I've never flashed it, and I've never taken the t-shirt out of the plastic bag it's in.

Blowfly was popular enough to even grant interviews with such prestigious publications as SCREW. I dug up some Q&A from a slowly tanning few pages from a 1991 issue of SCREW. It's Blowfly talkin' with Al Goldstein:

AL: "You are not on everyone's list because your message and your songs have not reachd the public. How do you view your career? "

BLOWFLY: "Most ofthe other guys just be plain nasty. Anybody can be nasty…it takes blues like "When somebody fucks you, it's no good unless he fucks you all the way…" You can't help but laugh. It's the combination of nasty and funny."

AL: "Is a black woman offended by being told hey, you're my bitch? "

BLOWFLY: "No, because they're used to hearing it. They know the definition of what it means….Bitch is just like calling a man he's a motherfucker. Bad means, like, good." AL: "It used to be when I was in school the black guys would say "My Bitch will suck my dick but I don't eat her pussy…" Has that changed?

BLOWFLY: "Oh, that has changed now. It's like the opposite way. We got it from you Jewish guys."

AL: "Have you had any relationships with Jewish women?"

BLOWFLY: "A couple."

AL: "They like to be in charge. They want you to be submissive. Do you enjoy that?"

BLOWFLY: "Well, his particular chick wanted me to get into a sexual thing with her and she wanted to play the dominating role. The least I can do is obey her, because one favor deserves another."

AL: So you're saying she made you do it…and you put the dildo up your ass for her sake. Is that what you're telling us?"

BLOWFLY: "Shut this guy's mouth!"

And now, Blowfly's mouth is shut. However, like a corpse in a badly constructed casket, the smell lingers on. Below are two examples of the Blowfly's nasty sting.

ROTTEN FISH, a Jamaican novelty, channels Benny Hill, turning an old joke into a rhyme: "…I can always tell when a chick is a nasty whore. When she's dancing and doin' the splits and her ass sticks to the floor."

SHE'S BAD, something Michael Jackson might've done had he been heterosexual, is really no different from a lot of rap and R&B from the late 80's and early 90's. Reid's vocals don't add much to the predictable melody and sass: "The bitch is built to the hilt, she keep her pussy wrapped in silk…she will make you come in yo pants until there's nothin' left. Her pussy's so motherfuckin' good that she wanna fuck herself!"

ROTTEN FISH Blowfly tries some raunchy reggae

SHE'S BAD How bad, Blowfly? Less feminine-looking than Michael Jackson?

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