Thanks to everyone who has been throwing the funk and soul love my way, from Georgia to Sweden and the West Coast of the U.S. I never realize here on the web how many people check out what I do here at Flea Market Funk, and am always amazed when I check out a comment from Italy or some other country. I honestly do this for the love of music, and I appreciate people taking the time to read my reviews, listen to my music, and give me feedback. I’d once again like to thank Dr. Bobby Fulton for contributing the Continental Four photos and giving his personal take on the band. I’m hoping that in future blogs I can revisit some other Soulville/ Jaywalking artists for review.
This time we’re gonna visit Phoenix, Arizona via Buffao, NY. The band I’m speaking of is none other than Dyke and the Blazers. I believe I got introduced to these guys sometime in the late 90’s while I was scouring around for funk and soul records, just before or around the time of the Brainfreeze craze that shot the price of this record and other commons like it off the charts. I stumbled on a “Funky Broadway” on Original Sound, the same label this track is off of, at my local digging spot. I was rather naive, but excited none the less about the track. I am a little bit more excited and a lot less naive in regards to this track, however, “We Got More Soul”.
Arlester “Dyke” Christian, from Buffalo, NY, was singing a bit and playing the bass for the band that backed the O’Jays during the 1960’s. Here’s where the Phoenix part comes in. The O’Jays can’t afford to fly Dyke and the some of the Blazers home to Buffalo (or maybe they don’t feel like going home, the story is not crystal clear). They decide to stay, and viola! Dyke and the Blazers are a Phoenix band, release “Funky Broadway” on Artco in ’66, distributed then by Art Laboe’s Original Sound out of LA, it gets covered by lots, but best by Wilson Pickett, and the band (and man) who just wanted to play music for music has a hit. It’s true that DATB were a cheap imitation of one James Brown. The point people miss is that they were a good imitation of the Godfather of Soul. They even give a nod to Mr. Dynamite as in this song. They were calling music funk before it was called funk. One could debate that Brown did it first, and that is true. Either way, both were churning out music that was indeed funk at around the same time. Imitation is the best form of flattery.
“We Got More Soul” tells the world just that. We have James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Taylor, Ray Charles, and damn if they all didn’t have Soul and were doin’ their thing. Who’s gonna listen? Dyke preached on vinyl and at clubs to the common man, Mr. Everyday, not to the masses in radio land (he never thought “Funky Broadway” would hit), but the people who went and listened to this kind of a record on a juke box in a sweaty juke joint in the wrong part of town. These were his congregation, and IMO, I think this was him staying true to that form of thinking, letting people know in not so many words, this is who our people have, and they all have Soul. The signature DATB gritty funk sound is present throughout this track. Dyke and The Blazers often recorded with members of The Watts 103rd Street Band, and included, surprise, surprise, Mr. James Gadson on drums, and guitarist Al Mackay, who later went on with Earth, Wind, and Fire. With veteran studio and club cats like that on their tracks, their sound remained raw. DATB disbanded in 1971, and after that Dyke was shot and killed in Phoenix. Although their career was not filled with hits, Dyke and the Blazers left an indelible mark in Funk and Soul music. Keep Diggin’!