By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon
One of these days we’ll get around to telling the story of Buffalo’s second-best-known Funksters (behind Mr. Rick James), the fantastic Dyke & The Blazers.
That story has been told before: in a Friday 45 post on pre-Dyke & The Blazers band Carl LaRue & His Crew by Elmer Ploetz, and in greater depth in a Buffalo Magazine (Buffalo News) story by Elmer. You can find that story here: http://www.wnywebshop.com/ploetz/dyke.html
Maybe when we get around to taking another look at them we can find some new angles of interest.
The quick story is that Arlester “Dyke” Christian joined Carl LaRue’s Buffalo band as he was learning to play the bass. That band put out records and achieved moderate success playing live, but eventually most of them found themselves stranded in Arizona after a stint playing backup for The O’Jays. While playing the clubs of Phoenix they tightened up their act and wrote some original material. A customer heard them playing their new “Funky Broadway” and becoming their manager got them into a studio.
“Funky Broadway” went from 1966 local hit to national after L.A.’s Original Sound Records bought it out from their original small indie label. And the rest is history. They had quite a string of singles, and eventually albums. Over the years, some of the original Buffalo musicians left though Dyke of course was always there. But some of the Buffalo guys came back and Dyke hired some new ones, as he knew he could count on their musicianship.
Unfortunately hard drugs had entered the picture and Dyke enjoyed the street life. At one time he had been a master of the Funk idiom of Soul – which he helped create – to the point that his music approached that of the acknowledged master James Brown. In the end (1971) he unfortunately died in the street, shot down, in some kind of street business.
Today’s tune is the very very funky “Let A Woman Be A Woman, Let A Man Be A Man”. There is absolutely NO relation between this song and any recent controversies involving former Olympic decathlon atheletes. So DON’T EVEN…..!