Sunday, June 02, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dyke & The Blazers

Artist:Dyke & The Blazers
Song:You Are My Sunshine
Album:The Funky Broadway: The Very Best of Dyke & The Blazers

Funk pioneers Dyke & The Blazers never achieved the mainstream success of James Brown. But today they are acclaimed as heavily influential on funk of the 70s and hip hop. They recorded the original version of Funky Broadway that would be a hit for Wilson Pickett. The end for Dyke & The Blazers came when lead singer Arlester "Dyke" Christian was killed in 1971. He was born June 13, 1943 in Buffalo. In 1960 he played bass in local clubs with Carl Larue and his Crew. They moved to Phoenix in 1964 to back up The O'Jays but when they were left stranded, they decided to stay in Phoenix. They joined forces with a local group The Three Blazers to become Dyke & The Blazers. The band was Christian, guitarist Alvester "Pig" Jacobs, sax player JV Hunt, sax player Bernard Williams, organist Rich Cason and drummer Rodney Brown. Art Barrett became their manager and he released Funky Broadway on his Artco label. It was picked up for national distribution by Original Sound and reached #17 on the R & B Singles chart in 1967. Of course Wilson Pickett's cover of Funky Broadway was a much bigger hit. But the song got Dyke & The Blazers enough attention so they could tour nationally. Bassist Alvin Battle was hired so Christian could concentrate on vocals. Christian moved back to Buffalo and formed a new Dyke & The Blazers. When that band didn't work out, he moved to Los Angeles and worked with studio musicians like drummer James Gadsen and guitarist Al McKay who would go on to Earth, Wind & Fire. Dyke & The Blazers had some R & B hits including this crazy cover of the Jimmie Davis chestnut You Are My Sunshine in 1970. Christian was planning to tour England and record with Barry White when he was shot dead in Phoenix on Mar. 13, 1971 at age 27. Reports at the time suggest the killing may have been related to drug dealing. The man who killed Christian was not charged as there was evidence of self defense. This Collectables comp is a good intro to the music of Dyke & The Blazers. Today Dyke & The Blazers are respected as unsung pioneers of funk. Their number one disciple was Buffalo native Rick James. So if you like dirty, skunky, greasy funk, check out Dyke & The Blazers. Here is Dyke & The Blazers performing You Are My Sunshine on Soul Time USA 1970.

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