Willie “Little Beaver” Hale’s First Miami Talent Show: “I Sang “Please, Please, Please,” by James Brown”

willie little beaver hale

Willie Hale, Hialeah, 2013 – ©Jacob Katel

“I started in Miami like this. A friend of mine took me to a talent show. Benny owned a barber shop and took me under his wing. I didn’t know nobody. My girlfriend took me by the barbershop to get conked and processed and he did a job on me free. He liked the way I play guitar and sing and he came to be one of my great promoters. So we rode off in the car and drank a little booze and ended up in Miami (we had been in south Dade) and Butterball was the MC, and he was the big time DJ back then. Big DJ and well known. He was the man back then. My friend Benny took me into the club and he told Butterball that there was someone he wanted him to hear and he wanted to talk him into putting me on a talent show. Frank Duboise and the Chicken Scratchers were a very popular band back then, so Butterball put me on the show and let me do a number and I sang “Please, Please, Please,” by James Brown. We rocked the house. We rocked. They loved that song, the ladies. So I was an overnight hit. So from there, Frank Duboise offered me a job in his band. He didn’t have a guitar player. He had organ, bass, sax, and he played drums, so guitar would come in handy. A big record back then was “Honky Tonk,” and they played that but needed a guitar. So I fit right into the band. Only problem he had was I played too loud. He said, “You’re too loud.” He liked to be the one that shines.”


  • From 2014 with ©Willie Hale

©Jacob Katel all rights reserved.

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