Blowfly (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
On stage at Bottom of the Hill, circa 2005
On stage at Bottom of the Hill, circa 2005
Background information
Birth nameClarence Henry Reid
Born(1939-02-14)February 14, 1939
Cochran, Georgia, U.S.
DiedJanuary 17, 2016(2016-01-17) (aged 76)
Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, U.S.
GenresParody, punk rock, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, hip hop, comedy
Occupation(s)Vocalist, songwriter, producer, comedian, rapper
Years active1963–2016
LabelsTK Records, Alternative Tentacles
Associated actsWillie Clarke

Clarence Henry Reid (February 14, 1939 – January 17, 2016) was an American musician, songwriter and producer, also known by the stage name and alternate persona Blowfly.[1][2][3]

Early life and career[edit]

Reid was born in Cochran, Georgia, in 1939 and moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in his adolescence (c. 1949).[4][5] His stage name was given to him by his grandmother who he would visit in Georgia occasionally. During this time, Reid would make explicit parodies of the country music that was popular on the airwaves in Cochran then, prompting his grandmother to brand him a "blowfly".[5]

"In hillbilly, you'll find some of the best lyrics and morals. I used to listen to Homer and Jethro, and they would rap most of the time, only they didn't call it rap then. They used to call it soul talkin'. As a form of revenge, I would take songs like "The Twist," and I would change it from (sings) "Come on baby, let's do the twist" to "Come on baby, and suck my d-!" My grandma would say that's terrible, you're a poor excuse for a human being. Child, you're nastier than a blowfly." [5]

During the 1960s and 1970s he 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" and his first XXX record, "Oddballs" which was reworked into "Rapp Dirty" several years later.[5][6]

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 these 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,[clarification needed] and continued to perform in bizarre costumes as his Blowfly character and record sexually explicit albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Reid claimed to be one of the first artists to perform in a mask, and transitioned from a "tuxedo like Dracula" or a "buttless" Clint Eastwood inspired outfit, to the spandex suits that he is now known for in response to public demand.[5] The albums were widely popular as "party records". The explicit version of his song "Rapp Dirty" (a.k.a. "Blowfly's Rapp") helped the album Blowfly's Party reach No. 26 on Billboard Magazine's black albums chart and No. 82 on the Billboard Top 200 in 1980.[citation needed]

This veteran writer-producer has his soul in the right place—Miami, as far south as he can get it. And though he's a/k/a Blow Fly, purveyor of parody porn, the true Reid is as unyielding a moralist as Porter Wagoner or Ernest Tubb. He cheats a lot, just like his daddy, but he also pays—in one song, his 'real woman' goes off to find 'a real man,' while in another she simply kills herself and is he sorry. The only drawback is that Reid is a writer-producer for a reason—vocals.

–Review of Running Water in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)[7]

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 received almost no money from sampling due to signing away most of his royalties.

Blowfly's Zodiac Blowfly LP (also released on CD in 1996 on Weird World Records) includes the songs "If Eating You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right", "The First Time Ever You Sucked My Dick", and "Ain't No Head Like My Woman's Head", as well as a version of "Clean Up Woman", which he co-wrote. Another album of this period is The Weird World of Blowfly.


In 2003, Blowfly sold the rights to his entire catalog after years of debt. The catalog was said to be worth millions of unpaid royalties.[citation needed]

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. The album also includes "I Wanna Be Fellated", "Gotta Keep Her Penetrated", "I Wanna Fuck Your Dog" and "Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho?". 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[1] and received a wider release in September 2011.[8]

Illness and death[edit]

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. According to Bowker, the singer would release his final LP – entitled 77 Rusty Trombones – in February 2016.[9] Reid died on January 17, 2016, from cancer and multiple organ failure at the hospice facility in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, aged 76.[10][11]


Reid's daughter is former WNBA player Tracy Reid.


Albums as Clarence Reid[edit]

  • Dancin' with Nobody But You Babe (1969)
  • Running Water (1973)
  • On the Job (1976)

Albums as Blowfly[edit]

  • The Weird World of Blowfly (1971 or 1973)
  • Blow Fly on TV (1974)
  • Zodiac Blowfly (1975)
  • Oldies But Goodies (1976)
  • Blowfly's Disco Party (1977)
  • At the Movies (1977)
  • Porno Freak (1978)
  • Zodiac Party (1978)
  • Blowfly's Party (1980) #82 US,[12] #26 Black Albums[13]
  • Rappin' Dancing & Laughin (1981)
  • Butterfly (1981)
  • Fresh Juice (1983)
  • Electronic Banana (1985)
  • On Tour 1986 (1986)
  • Blowfly and the Temple of Doom (1987)
  • Blowfly for President (1988)
  • Freak Party (1989)
  • Twisted World of Blowfly (1991)
  • 2001: A Sex Odyssey (1996)
  • Analthology: The Best of Blowfly (1996)
  • Blowfly Does XXX-Mas (1999)
  • Fahrenheit 69 (2005)
  • Blowfly's Punk Rock Party (2006)
  • Superblowfly (2007)
  • Live At the Platypussery (2008)
  • Black in the Sack (2012) - PATAC records
  • 77 Rusty Trombones (2016)

7" Singles as Clarence Reid[edit]

  • "Push A Little Harder"/"Like White On Rice" (1963)
  • "There'll Come A Day"/"I Got My Share" (1964)
  • "I'm Your Yes Man"/"Your Love Is All The Help I Need"
  • "I Refuse To Give Up"/"Somebody Will" (1965)
  • "Gimmie A Try"/"Part Of Your Love" (1966)
  • "I'm Sorry Baby"/"Let Those Soul Sounds Play" (1967)
  • "Along Came A Woman"/"Something Special About My Baby" (1968)
  • "Nobody But You Babe"/"Send Me Back My Money" (1969)
  • "Part Time Lover"/"Fools Are Not Born (They Are Made)" (1969)
  • "Master Piece"/"Down The Road Of Love" (1970)
  • "Chicken Hawk"/"That's How It Is" (1970)
  • "I'm Gonna Tear You A New Heart"/"I'm A Man Of My Word" (1970)
  • "Miss Hot Stuff"/"Mr. Hot Stuff" (1971)
  • "Direct Me"/"You Knock Me Out" (1971)
  • "I Get My Kicks"/"Gotta Take It Home To Mother" (1971)
  • "You Got To Fight"/"Three Is A Crowd" (1971)
  • "Good Old Days"/"Ten Tons Of Dynamite" (1971)
  • "I'm Gonna Do Something Good To You"/"A Real Woman" (1972)
  • "Till I Get My Share"/"With Friends Like These (Who Needs Enemies)" (1973)
  • "Funky Party"/"Winter Man" (1974)
  • "When My Daddy Rode The West"/"Rockin Chair" (1974)
  • "See Through" (1975)
  • "Baptize Me In Your Love"/"Whatever It Takes" (1975)
  • "Shake Your Butt" (1976)
  • "I'm Excited"/"Just Another Guy In The Band" (1977)
  • "You Get Me Up" (1979)
  • "Funny Money"/"Little Girl Rap"
  • "Primetime"/"Gas Guzzler" (2007)

Singles as Blowfly[edit]

  • "Rapp Dirty" 12"/7" (1980)
  • "Disco Party" 7" (1980)
  • "Christmas Party"/"New Year's Party" 12" (1980)
  • "Incredible Fulk" (1980)
  • "Electronic Pussy Sucker" 12" (1983)
  • "Funk You" 12" (1984)
  • "Butt Pirate Luv" b/w "F U In The A" (2006)
  • "Burning Pussy" b/w "Destructo Cock" – Split single with ANTiSEEN (2008)
  • "Hole Man/Hold On It's Running"/"Movie Maniac Medley" (2008)

Selected songwriting credits[edit]

  • "Chills and Fever" performed by Paul Kelly, 1965
  • "Clean Up Woman" performed by Betty Wright, 1971
  • "Rockin' Chair" performed by Gwen McCrae, 1975
  • "It's Worth The Hurt" performed by Gwen McCrae.
  • "90% Of Me Is You" performed by Gwen McCrae.
  • "It Keeps On Raining" performed by Gwen McCrae.
  • "Let Your Love Do The Talkin'" performed by Gwen McCrae
  • "You And I Were Made For Each Other" performed by Gwen McCrae
  • "Damn Right It's Good" performed by Gwen McCrae
  • "Love Without Sex" performed by Gwen McCrae
  • "Love Insurance" performed by Gwen McCrae
  • "Cradle Of Love" performed by Gwen McCrae[14][15]


  1. ^ a b "The Weird World of Blowfly". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  2. ^ "'The Weird World of Blowfly': Movie review - latimes". 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  3. ^ "Weekend preview: Garnet and gold, burlesque and Blowfly, panthers and downward dogs | The Go Guide | Sun Sentinel blogs". 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  4. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 314. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  5. ^ a b c d e -, Unattributed (Fall 1992). "Absolute Blowfly: Explicit Lyrics". Motorbooty (Zine). 6 – via Online Archive of California; University of California, Los Angeles Library Special Collections.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Clarence Reid Discography at Discogs: Writing-Arrangement - Credits". Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "September opening in New York for Blowfly music film | MFBlog". 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  9. ^ Kreps, Daniel (2016-01-13). "Blowfly in Hospice Care With Terminal Liver Cancer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  10. ^ Caramanica, Jon (January 22, 2016). "Clarence Reid, Singer and Songwriter Also Known as Blowfly, Dies at 76".
  11. ^ "Clarence Reid, R&B Singer Known as Blowfly, Dead at 76". Rolling Stone.
  12. ^ "Billboard". 65. August 2, 1980.
  13. ^ "Billboard". 18. August 9, 1980.
  14. ^ Richie Unterberger * No Way Out” performed by FranCina Jones * I Am Controlled By Your Love” performed by FranCina Jones (2012-01-31). "Hot Runnin' Soul: The Singles 1965–71 - Paul Kelly | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  15. ^ "Gwen McCrae | Songs". AllMusic. 1943-12-21. Retrieved 2016-01-18.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]