Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Men Behind the Bluesmen: Bill "Hoss" Allen

Today I want to introduce you to another one of "The Men Behind the Bluesmen" Bill "Hoss" Allen. Because of his work in radio he is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee.

According to Wikipedia;

Bill Allen (aka "Hossman" or "Hoss"; born William Trousdale Allen III, December 3, 1922, Gallatin, Tennessee; died February 25, 1997, Nashville, Tennessee) was an American radio disc jockey who attained fame from the 1950s through the 1990s for playing rhythm and blues and black gospel music on Nashville radio station WLAC.

Allen was the youngest of a quartet of disc jockeys known as "The 50,000 Watt Quartet." It included Gene Nobles, "John R." (Richbourg), and Herman Grizzard. Allen had the longest career of any. He worked for radio stations for 45 years before his 1993 retirement. Like Richbourg, from the 1960s through the 1980s, Allen was involved with Nashville's small but vibrant blues and gospel music scenes.

On Air Famous phrases

"All around, down for Royal Crown"--said during commercials for the hair-care product, used by some African-American youngsters in the 1950s and 1960s; product is still sold as of 2007
"Bless your heart"--Allen used this phrase constantly; derived from a traditional Southern religious greeting
"Camelot time"--informal name for his nightly shows
"Git down time"--phrase originally referred, in the mid 20th-century, to the beginning of prostitution activities at nightfall in places like Gallatin and Nashville; later became a teenage/African-American slang term for dancing, thanks to Allen's frequent use
"Just a touch ... means so DOG-GONE much!"--slogan for Royal Crown Hair Dressing and Pomade
"Well, hello, darlin', hello, darlin'"--Allen's standard greeting to begin his shows
"That's Randy, R-A-N-D-Y, Gallatin, G-A-L-L-A-T-I-N ... Gallatin, Tennessee!"--the closing catch phrase used on 60-second commercials for Randy's Record Shop, a sponsor of "The Hossman"'s (and also Gene Nobles') program for many years on WLAC
"...then YOU have a DISEASED SCALP! And now it's time to CURE UP that diseased scalp...you don't want no itchy head!"--another catch phrase used in the middle of a 60-second spot for a certain mail-order product used to treat psoriasis voiced by Hoss Allen. Commercials for mail-order products and services such as these were a frequent mainstay during his overnight gospel program.

The !!!! Beat: Legendary R&B and Soul Shows from 1966, Vol. 1There is a series of DVDs of Allen's 1966 TV show "The!!!Beat."
A fan at Amazon.com stated; "The !!!! Beat, which followed hot on the heels of The Night Train, the first all-black music television show, began production in January 1966, and was the brain-child of famed radio disc-jockey William "Hoss" Allen. The !!!! Beat did The Night Train one better; it was produced in full-color, and guest-starred a who's-who of national and regional stars from the world of Blues and R & B. The six-volume DVD series contains all 26 episodes, and was shot at WFAA in Dallas Texas, one of the few Southern stations to have color facilities at the time. Interestingly, all of the performers were recruited from one of four cities; Nashville, Dallas, Chicago or New Orleans. Most of the performers were managed by "Hoss" Allen or his associates."

Please click the above image for info on the six-volume DVD series

WLAC Radio: The Unofficial Webpage - station history

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