Blowfly's Punk Rock Party

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Blowfly (aka Clarence Reid) has been the undisputed master of filthy party R&B since the late '60s, so you can't blame the guy for deciding it was time to conquer some new creative territory after all these years. Still, was anybody really expecting the guy to make a punk rock record? Perhaps emboldened by his recent presence on Alternative Tentacles Records, Blowfly and his new band dive head first into the fast and loud thing on Blowfly's Punk Rock Party. While the old-school funk grooves that have previously dominated Blowfly's music have been replaced by growling downstroked guitars and crashing drums, lyrically this finds the master of dirty rappin' in classically freaky form as he transforms the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" into "I Wanna Be Fellated," Black Flag's "TV Party" becomes "V.D. Party," and "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash is mutated into "Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho?" Just for old times' sake, Blowfly and company attack the O'Jays' "Love Train" with a punk rock slant as "Suck and Fuck Train," and they manage to find a funky undertow in "Holiday in Cambodia" (here called "R. Kelly in Cambodia" and featuring a guest vocal appearance from Jello Biafra), though a more faithful cover also appears. While punk may not be Blowfly's usual stock in trade, Reid actually proves to be a commendable rock & roll howler on these sides and he seems to be reveling in the spirit of the material, while the bandmembers sound as if they actually practiced these songs before recording them (not always the case on a Blowfly album). While the harder edge of the music tends to make Blowfly's songs sound noticeably harsher and less forgiving than usual, this isn't any more "offensive" than what Blowfly has been doing for the past three decades, and it's amusing to discover Blowfly can actually make the work of Turbonegro and Antiseen sound even sleazier than it did in its original form, no small accomplishment. But the funniest thing on Punk Rock Party is the presence of six "All Ages Radio Edits" that close the album and reduce the tunes from XXX to PG-13 status -- does anyone really want a radio-friendly version of Blowfly?

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