Music TV Art Books Fashion Interview A to Z Film Politics Calendar Gift Shop Motherlode.TV Home Page


BLOWFLY (1939 – 2016)

When mild mannered soul singer Clarence Reid emerged from the telephone booth - bedazzled mask to cape, a BF emblazoned across his chest - he wasn't readying to fight crime, he was warming up to perform as music superhero, Blowfly.

Do you remember shredding lyrics to your favorite song as a kid and replacing the chorus with dirty words? Perhaps you even do it as an adult. Blowfly got paid to do such a thing.

Reid grew up picking cotton for his sharecropper parents in Georgia. By the age of seven, he had already given up the schoolhouse to help in the field. As he ventured into showbiz as a young performer, he improvised lewd and lacivious lyrical interpretations of the hits of the day as a yuck but soon ended up making money from the schtick. When his grandmother learned where his money was coming from, she called him out as a "blow fly.

A blow fly is a black and red and green insect, they lay eggs on dead things, they turn into maggots," she is said to have explained.

When you ripped the mask of the 'ol Blowfly, it revealed a much different story.

Clarence eventually settled in Miami during the golden age of soul when Motown and Stax ruled supreme. Reid was part of a quartet that composed of Deep City Records, the first black label in Miami celebrating the sounds eminating from the black neighborhoods of Liberty City and Overtown. Miami Beach had nightclubs galore where there was the confluence of Cuba, the Bahamas, white garage bands, and Jamaica. The seed had been sewn for the Miami Sound and Reid's DNA was all over everything from songwriting, arrangements, production and performance.

Clarence Reid himself was an extraordinarily gifted singer and in 1969 his R&B gem, Nobody But You Babe, breached the Top 40.

Bad habits die hard and in the middle of the success of hits he penned - Clean Up Woman for Betty Wright and Gwen McCrae's Rocking Chair - the childhood antics of Blowfly reemerged. He began moonlighting in the studio to create what by many is considered to be the birth of rap music, The Weird World of Blowfly. Every major rappers Mom or Dad seemed to have Blowfly's party records in their collection. Iconic rappers Snoop Dogg and Chuck D. cite Blowfly as leaving an indelible influence on their songwriting and careers. The release featured the re-creation of a nightclub atmosphere with call and response and intermittent audience pattering. The debut featured crude funk ditties Shake Your Ass and Rap Dirty and included Miami legends Little Beaver and Timmy Thomas (Why Can't We Live Together.)

Behind every great label lies a great radio promotions and distributor and the person behind the curtain was one Henry Stone who hustled Deep River throughout the southeast. At Deep River's peak, the label splintered and Stone got his hooks into half the ownership and TK Records was born - Clarence Reid came with it. This second generation of the Miami Sound would enjoy its greatest success with KC & The Sunshine Band. By the early nineteen eighties, the glorious run was over and TK went belly up. Reid however continued to release material as Blowfly.

After two decades of sporadic touring and recording, Blowfly began resonating with a new generation of music freaks and found himself on Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedy's Alternative Tentacles label. Fahrenheit 69 (2005) and Punk Rock Party (2007) marked the resurrection of his career.

On January 17, 2016, Clarence Reed succumbed to terminal liver cancer while in hospice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the age of 76. He had sold off most of his royalties throughout the later years of his life.

Blowfly has been sampled by eveyone from the Wu Tang Clan, DJ Shadow, Eazy-E and RJD2 to Mary J. Blige.



Betty Wright


Jello Biafra


Gwen McCrae


The Motherlode Directory From A to Z Motherlode Music Motherlode Art Motherlode Books Motherlode Politics Motherlode Politics
Motherlode Films  Motherlode Fashions Motherlode Interview ../Motherlode Television 

Searching For The Motherlode
(c) 2016 Motherlode.TV