Friday, December 2, 2011

The forgotten funk of Dyke & The Blazers

I discovered Dyke & the Blazers back 1985 when I bought a Rino Records compilation of 1960s soul that had the group's small 1969 hit, "Let a Woman Be Woman (And Let a Man Be a Man").

Damn, I was blown away. Deep, entrenched funk. Closer to Stax Records' stuff, but more stripped down and dare I say funkier. Arlester "Dyke" Christian handled the vocals with a voice ragged voice with a whine like an aged jet engine after a cross-continental flight, But that voice and that music was truth.

As the above clip shows, these guys could get as funky as James Brown ensemble, although Brown was a far better vocalist than was Dyke. But still: why weren't they famous?

At the cusp of what could have been stardom, Dyke was shot to death in Phoenix in 1971 in a possible drug deal. What a loss. But Dyke & the Blazers did leave a little something behind. Christian wrote "Funky Broadway," the jam later made famous by Wilson Pickett. Dyke's version ain't bad either.

1 comment:

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