Clarence Reid remains one of the great undersung musical legends of Miami. As the lore goes, in 1952, at the age of 13, he hitched a ride to the Magic City from his native Georgia. There, he was already infamous for passing the time while working cotton fields by singing X-rated versions of then-popular songs. Its a habit that continued after he arrived here, even as his more mainstream singing career grew. Eventually, Reid would go on to pen soul rave-ups for the likes of Betty Wright, Gwen McCrae, and even KC & the Sunshine Band.
By the mid-60s, Reid began to record his raunchy ditties under a childhood nickname, Blowfly. His 1965 single Rap Dirty is credited as one of the first rap songs, and his 1971 debut album under that name also begat notorious songs such as Porno Freak and Suck It. But despite his pioneering early work, Blowfly has never really gotten his proper credit in the annals of rap and R&B history. For better or worse, his career has often languished on the fringes of the industry, and he has often been relegated to performing as a novelty act for white hipsters. Many fans have tried and struggled to get Blowfly his due, but at the same time, he is not an easily tamed creature.
The rise, fall, and underground rise again of Blowfly was chronicled last year in the Jonathan Furmanski documentary The Weird World of Blowfly, which screened at South by Southwest but has yet to play here in Reids adopted hometown. That will change at 8 p.m. this Thursday, when it finally receives its local premiere at O Cinema. Expect any number of amazing Miami characters to show up both onscreen and off.
Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 7 p.m., 2011
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