During the late 60s and through the 70s, Clarence Reid, singer, songwriter, talent scout, and producer for Henry Stone’s labels, was involved in just about every recording that came out of Stone’s Hialeah-based Upstairs studio. When the book is written, there will be many chapters about this gifted artist’s contribution to the Miami soul and dance scene.
Reid teamed up with Willie Clarke, a fellow Miami songwriter and producer. They decided to pay legendary South Florida record producer Henry Stone a visit. Stone, who had been turning out hits for years, decided to take Reid and Clarke under his wing and show them how to make hit records. He compared their records with the hottest soul single out at the time and stated, “If you can’t come close to that or do better, then you have to get out of the business!”
Reid and Clarke, determined to make hit records, spent hours learning the ropes from Stone, which paid off for everybody concerned. As talent scouts, it was Reid and Clarke who first discovered a 12-year-old singer named Betty Wright in a Liberty City record store in 1966. As first-time producers, Reid and Clarke turned out Betty Wright’s first hit with the 1968 single “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.”
During the summer of 1969, Reid finally cracked the national charts with the Reid- and Clarke-penned “Nobody But You Babe,” which climbed all the way to No. 7 on the Billboard R&B charts. During the next 10 years, Reid released countless singles for Stone’s Alston label, several of which are on this CD.
It was Reid and Clarke who penned Betty Wright’s 1971 No. 1 R&B gold single “Clean Up Woman,” as well as “What Can I Tell Her,” a hit for both Miami soul singers J. P. Robinson and Timmy Thomas. In 1975, Reid and Clarke wrote Gwen McCrae’s No. 1 R&B gold single “Rockin’ Chair.”
One of Reid’s finest compositions was “Jazz Freak” recorded by Paulette Reaves in 1977. Near the end of the song, Reaves gives special thanks to producer and writer Clarence Reid, as well as other recording artists and studio musicians who played on this great recording. The musicians and artists mentioned include Little Beaver (guitar), Benny Latimore & Timmy Thomas (keyboards), George “Chocolate” Perry & Ron Bogdan (bass), Robert Fergeson (drummer) and Wildflower (backing vocal group).
During the 70s Reid went underground, only to resurface as masked recording artist Blowfly, writer and producer of highly X-rated party albums released on Stone’s Weird World label.