So, Is It Arlester or Dyke?
Happily the answer is both. When he was born in Buffalo,NY in ’43, it seems like Arlester Christian’s parents had him pegged as a future British bon vivant and chat show presenter,not a funk originator. Luckily the toddler had other ideas.
By the early 60’s he was in Buffalo’s baddest band, The Blazers, and his childhood nickname (received for the way he pronounced dice when he was a pup) Dyke, was firmly ensconced.
The Blazers were tapped to be the back up band for the O’Jays and Dyke hit the road. Unfortunetly, by the time the tour reached Phoenix the O’Jays were out of dough and The Blazers had to leave the bus. Resorceful as ever, Dyke and the boys stayed in the desert and made history. They cut one of Dyke’s tunes for a local label, a little thing called Funky Broadway, that was the first ever record with funk on the label. JB might have found the funk sound, but Dyke named it. Dyke was cut down by street fight gun fire in ’71, but his hard funk will live on.
For another take on the origin of funk see Smokey Johnson