Ever Had a Masterpiece?

Clarence Reid – Masterpiece (Kenny Dope Edit) [Kay-Dee Records]

As a solo artist he has achieved a higher profile as his laughably lewd, proto-rapping sideshow Blowfly, but as a prolific songwriter, musician and producer for Henry Stone’s TK and Alston record labels Clarence Reid was a significant player in the Miami Funk sound of the 60s and 70s. With a hand in much of Betty Wright’s output, Reid wrote for Big Maybelle and Sam & Dave, can take much of the credit for Wright’s ‘Clean Up Woman’ and Gwen McCrae’s ‘Rockin’ Chair’ and was instrumental in hooking up the KC & the Sunshine Band party machine.

Mining forgotten funk gems and polishing them up for post-millenial tastes Kay Dee Records is an ongoing collaboration between Scottish Deep Funk DJ Keb Darge and Brooklyn-born Hip Hop and House DJ, producer and remixer Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, launched after Darge presented Dope with The New Mastersound’s blistering cover of NuYorican Soul’s ‘Nervous Track’.

Here the pair have turned up a typically forward and forthright Reid arrangement that pairs a tough but unhurried rhythm section and oddly nonsensical declarations on the hook with candid sincerity on the sweet but rugged refrain. Reid even channels his alter-ego in a quick dig at two popular contemporaries before the fade.

Crisp and golden Southern-fried Soul.

‘Mastepiece (Kenny Dope Edit)’ was released as a 7″ and features on label mix CD Kay Dee Volume 2 – Various Artists [Kay Dee].

Original 1970 single released as Clarence Reid – ‘Master Piece’ [Alston]. Appears as ‘Masterpiece’ on artist album Funky Party and complilation Miami Funk Volume 3 [Henry Stone Music USA]; also Zealous Records Presents: Soul Sides Volume 1 – Various Artists [Zealous Records].

Original ‘Masterpiece’ instrumental appears variously as by The Deep City Band or Clarence Reid on The Outskirts of Deep City – Various Artists [The Numero Group].

For more on Blowfly and Clarence Reid see the article ‘The Gospel According to Blowfly’ by Andy Frane in Wax Poetics 14.


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