A lot of what we find, watch and screen at The Duke comes about by pure chance and by digging constantly to find new things: case in point is our stumbling upon a little seen, and short lived, music TV show called The !!!! Beat. (Yes the !!!! are part of the title.)
I’ve been slowly working my way through every issue of Ebony magazine, as their entire back catalogue archive is available to view for free via Google, I’ve been looking for interesting adverts, pictures of anything else that could be useful to the night. Browsing through the August 1966 issue and come across the advert featured below:
It instantly looks amazing and fascinating at the same time, plus I’d never heard of it which makes me want to see it right now. Turns out to be a one series TV show that ran for 26 episodes during 1966, filmed in Dallas and presented by local celebrity DJ Bill “Hoss” Allen and all shot on one small soundstage. Shot in colour this the show itself featured an incredible list of soul, blues and R&B singers and musicians from that era, including: Otis Redding, Etta James, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge and pretty much anyone else who was singing and touring at the time.
Once finished the show was consigned to history and remained long unseen and only rumoured about for many years. That is until recently when the great, and always amazing, Bear Family records tracked down the mastertapes and actually issued all 26 episodes on DVD.
So it took a 48 year old issue of a magazine to alert me to something that only existed for a very short time, but that I can now simply go out and track down the DVD of, or even easier you can watch several clips from this incredible show online now. Take a look at a few highlights from The !!!! Beat right there!
Otis Redding Introduces An Episode
Frank Howard & the Commanders perform Shotgun
Very brief appearance of show host Bill “Hoss” Allen