Clarence Reid – 1969 – Dancin’ With Nobody But You Babe
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Most of you are aware of Mr.Moo – I think he explained himself clearly on his blog.
So let’s enjoy his latest contribution, Clarence Reid’s debut (and best) LP, “Dancin’ With Nobody But You Babe”, recorded for Alston Records and distributed by
Atlantic subsidiary Atco in ’69. The album is a rarity for the time: an almost completely solid slab of lean, no-filler soul, back when even the greatest R&B; stars made stellar singles but middling albums. The clunky party vibe wasn’t too far off from that of Reid’s Texas labelmates, Archie Bell & The Drells–that is, if The Drells’ “Tighten Up”-strength hyperkinesis had been rendered slower, somewhat sultry, and super f***ing stoned. Keep an ear out for a couple of surprisingly excellent covers of Edwin Starr’s “25 Miles” and (believe it or not) a cringe-free version of The Beatles’ “Get Back.”
A1 Nobody But You Babe (2:46)
A2 Twenty Five Miles (3:46)
A3 Doggone It (2:51)
A4 Get Back (3:54)
A5 Don’t Look Too Hard (2:20)
A6 I’ve Been Trying (2:26)
B1 Tear You A New Heart (2:55)
B2 Part Time Lover (1:57 )
B3 Shop Aroud (3:05 )
B4 Fools Are Not Born (2:09)
B5 Polk Salad Annie (3:55)
B6 Send Me Back My Money (2:21)
Singer/songwriter/producer Clarence Reid, like David Bowie and P-Funk’s George Clinton, had multiple musical personalities. One was of an earnest Southern soul singer, born February 14, 1945, in Cochran, GA, and recorded for TK Records president Henry Stone’s Alston imprint. His Billboard-charting singles were “Nobody but You Babe” (number seven R&B summer 1969, on the Atlantic LP), “Good Old Days” (early 1972), and “Funky Party” (summer 1974). He co-wrote hits for Betty Wright (“Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do”), the million-selling “Clean Up Woman,” “Baby Sitter,” and “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker.” For Gwen McCrae, Reid co-wrote and co-produced “Rockin’ Chair,” which reached the pop Top Ten in 1975,
In his other persona, he performed X-rated material under the pseudonym Blowfly. This was his biggest innovation, though–and one that would change the course of his life. His first recording as Blowfly, a 1965 song titled “Rap Dirty”, is considered by some to be the first rap song. But it wasn’t until 1971 that Reid got a band together, donned the mask, and laid down a whole album of the smutty stuff–which often times would parody hits of the day, only slathered with XXX-rated puns. Reid also helped Richard Finch get a job with TK Records and introduced Harry Wayne “K.C.” Casey to junkanoo, the festive party music that would be the core sound of Casey and Finch’s ’70s super group KC and the Sunshine Band.
This Henry Stone master (Alston Records) was handled by Atco Records for mass distribution and promotion, which didn’t happen to any great extent.. If you found this album in a record store north of the Mason-Dixon Line it was because of a shipping foul-up — unfortunate, because it’s one of Reid’s better endeavors. Recorded at the Zoo Recording Studio in Miami, FL, like most records under Stone’s family of labels, the recording was primitive, but in this case appealing. Reid updates “25 Miles,” “Shop Around,” and “I’ve Been Trying,” and adds some gritty Southern soul via “Nobody but You Baby,” “Send Me Back My Money,” and “Polk Salad Annie.” A prolific writer, Reid never really found his niche as a singer until he ventured into the novelty/party record scene as the outrageous Blowfly.
The above info’s taken mainly from All Music Guide with some additional ‘first hand’ info (which in itself is quite an interesting read) here. The album is easily available on CD and (if you are lucky under 50 USD) on LP here
Check out a new documentary film, “The Weird World of Blowfly,” about Clarence Reid, a soul/funk/R&B singer and songwriter, and his alter ego Blowfly, the original dirty rapper. The film is currently making the rounds of the festival circuit with an anticipated public release in Spring, 2011.
Now, for those who’ve never seen live Clarence Reid as his beloved persona Blowfly, enjoy one of the first rap songs ever: “Rap Dirty”