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Dyke & The Blazers

Dyke & the Blazers were one of the first acts -- possibly the first notable act -- to play funk other than James Brown. Indeed, they often sounded like a sort of junior version of Brown and the JB's, playing songs in which the rhythms and riffs mattered more than the tune. Similarly, vocalist Dyke Christian sang/grunted words that mattered more for the feeling and rhythm than the content. Their best-known track, "Funky Broadway, " was covered for a bigger hit by Wilson Pickett, though Dyke & the Blazers got a few more R&B hits before Dyke was shot to death in 1971.

Arlester "Dyke" Christian was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1943, and by the mid-'60s was singing and playing bass with the O'Jays backing band, the Blazers. Dyke and some of the other Blazers were stranded in Phoenix when the O'Jays' couldn't afford to bring them back to Buffalo, and the Blazers based themselves in Phoenix, having no means to travel elsewhere. Their "Funky Broadway" was released on the Phoenix indie Artco in late 1966, and picked up for distribution by the L.A.-based Original Sound label. It became a sizable R&B hit (and a small pop one), and may have been the first record to use the word "funky" in the title.

As with James Brown, Dyke & the Blazers' records sold far better, and charted much better, with the R&B audience than the pop one, which was for the most part unaware of the band. In the late '60s and early '70s, Dyke and the band issued a series of gut-bucket funk singles with scratchy guitar riffs, greasy organ, hoarse vocals, and jazzy horns; all traits that James Brown and his band had developed, admittedly. But Dyke did the style well (right down to issuing several two-part singles), although not with a great deal of variety. For some of his sessions, Dyke recorded in Los Angeles with musicians who would later play in the Watts 103rd Street Band (guitarist Al McKay would later be in Earth, Wind & Fire). According to Original Sound producer Art Laboe, most of the singles came from 15-to-20-minute jams that were edited down to a length that could fit on the 45 RPM format.

Dyke & the Blazers had Top Ten R&B singles with "We Got More Soul" and "Let a Woman Be a Woman -- Let a Man Be a Man" in 1969, and smaller sellers with "Uhh, " "You Are My Sunshine," and "Runaway People." Dyke Christian, sadly, was fatally shot on the street in Phoenix on March 13, 1971. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Funky Broadway: The Very Best Of Dyke & The Blazers

3. Uhh

4. Broadway Combination

5. City Dump

7. So Sharp

8. Don't Bug Me

10. Shotgun Slim

11. We Got More Soul

12. Let A Woman Be A Woman - Let A Man Be A Man

13. You Are My Sunshine

15. Runaway People

16. I'm So All Alone

17. Stuff

18. The Wobble

x

Track List: So Sharp!

1. So Sharp

2. Don't Bug Me

3. Funky Broadway Part 1

4. Funky Broadway Part 2

5. Shotgun Slim

6. City Dump

12. It's Your Thing

13. You Are My Sunshine

14. Broadway Combination

15. Stuff

18. Let A Woman Be A Woman - Let A Man Be A Man

19. We Got More Soul

20. The Wobble

23. Runaway People

24. I'm So All Alone

Comments

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Smaken with soulful funk move over james
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Yeah I know Dyke. And blazer I'm from Buffalo New York where they live I grew up there and also, known the late Rick James
n the Blazer drummer my brother law I'm surprised I heard song on Pandora,,, Roy
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I can ALMOST HEAR Brutha Dyke laffin @ me......:-D. . . . .
God bless his dear soul.....:'( :-) :'(.....
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Stupid PHONE!!!!!
I tapped "CHRISTIAN", but this phone is where dead Rot-Wing pollute-tici a n s come when they're about to die, so that they can possess it. This phone HATES ME, & these evil spirits never miss the chance to use it as a portal to from the Dark Side!!!!!
That......& I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time, technologica l l y .
Phooey. :-(
Report as inappropriate
Lester Christie ian was one of a kind.
In ALL THESE YEARS, I've never met anyone quite like him......I doubt if I ever will. He will be loved, remembered, & missed, for ALL TIME.
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You can hear the Godfather in there, but Dyke did it his way too! Thank you my brother.
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Nothing but pure funk!!!
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Awesome band.
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I remember daddy listening to Duke & and The Blazers back in the day when I was a kid. He had so much soul and funk! I am here dancing up a storm to this jam! Very under-rated IMO!
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Dyke's music got me thru a lotta sxxt back in tha day......... . . . . . i ' l l ALWAYS luv u, Lester!!! RIP, n God bless u!!!
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i didn't realize the heavy's sampled this...i like both but this one is groovy
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Perfect for us bboys! Love it!
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Love it
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first to use word funk and they was raw true shout out funk get down \m/ dance now !!!!
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Just realized the sample in "The Heavy's--How you like me Now?" was Dyke & the Blazers... who knew?
Report as inappropriate
FUNKY BROADWAY!!! WTIX, New Orleans played it all summer!!!..s u m m e r 1967...MAN I LOVED IT!!! IT DON'T GET ANY BETTER!!!
Report as inappropriate
dyke got shot so did king curtis. talent wasted on a bullet
Report as inappropriate
marymac1207
I LIKE DYKE & THE BLAZERS HIT THE FUNKY BROADWAY,PLE A S E PLAY SOME OF THE ARTISTS MUSIC FOR ME. THANK YOU

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