The Blackbyrds is a jazz-funk band formed in Washington DC in 1973. The group and it's name were inspired by trumpeter Donald Byrd, the teacher of the group of Howard University students that started the band. They released seven albums between 1973 and 1980, and had several hit songs including 1974's Grammy-nominated Walking In Rhythm. In 1975 they released their third studio album City Life, which included the song Rock Creek Park. The song was a tribute to expansive nature oasis that stretches across Washington DC, which was a popular spot amongst the band members. On the song, the female vocalist that chants "Do It" is Merry Clayton, who was not a Howard University student. She was a vocalist best known for singing on the Rolling Stones 1969 recording of Gimmee Shelter, singing duet with Mick Jagger. Then, in 1972 Clayton was the original Acid Queen in the first production of The Who's Tommy in London, and in 1974 she sang backup vocals on Lynard Skynard's hit song Sweet Home Alabama. She had started her career in 1962 singing a duet with Bobby Darrin on Who Can I Count On - when she was 14 years old. Her additional singing and acting credits are immense and impressive. In 2013 she was prominently featured in the documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom - an Oscar-winning film about the contributions of lesser-known backup singers.
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