Sunday, March 30, 2008

How's it goin' cats n' kittens?! Just a heads-up about my dear friend Naomi Caryl and one of her songs from 1956- "No other love can ever do" on the 'Cambria' label- which can now be heard on my "Butchie Boys Doo Wop Diner" show on "Rock-it Radio"! Its an internet broadcast... so you and friends can link to the "Rock-it" playlist at:

or from the "Rock-it Radio" home/front page:

('ll find me in the "DJ's @" section on the left-column of home-page )

Once there just left-click the audio play button to the left of my show title. If you or anyone have trouble getting the show to play just scroll-down and there is a link for help.

This one is a special "All Girls" show... so its appropo that my 1st offering of one of Naomi's tunes is among the 4 "opener" songs at the top of the show! Naomi's song is 4th... but remember- in the 45rpm world that means she's at the " of the stack"!!

Enjoy everyone!... and thank you Naomi for allowing me the opportunities to play your songs!!

Lord hug you tight... - Butchie

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We're #29 in "Our Stage March 08 Blues Competition"

Not so long ago I was blessed with the opportunity to record with Canadian blues artist, Michael Coleman on his new CD/Album "Harmony Mill"... on track #8- "Nothing we cant do". Michael heard me play and wanted my blues-harp ( harmonica ) for accompanyment in "Nothing We Cant Do". Michaels own soulful voice seemed a bluesy cry-in-the-night to me... and what I offered up was what I described "...a lost cat, up some dark and lonely street." It seemed to shake-out pretty well. Well, just on no more than a whim I placed our collaborative "Nothing We Cant Do" in the "Our Stage March '08 Blues Competition"... and was shook to find we've already climbed to #29th ( at this writing ) out of 324 other blues competitors- and believe me, some hot blues bands and artists all! Anyhow, talk about some good mojo baby!! Even if we dont go to #1 its been cool enough getting this far in 2 weeks!! My thanks to Michael Coleman who let me be part of his soul and art!!

Check us out at this link:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Buddy Miles, drummer with Jimi Hendrix, Electric Flag dead at 60...

Buddy Miles, drummer with Jimi Hendrix, Electric Flag dead at 60...

Buddy Miles, 60; drummer with Hendrix, The Electric Flag and an American blues & rock icon of the 60's and 70's has passed away, Tuesday February 28th.Buddy Miles, the rock and R&B drummer, singer and songwriter whose eclectic career included stints playing with Jimi Hendrix has died. Buddy was only 60 when he died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his home in Austin, Texas, according to an announcement on his website. A massive man with a distinctive, sculpted afro, Miles hit his peak of popularity when he joined Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox to form Hendrix's Band of Gypsys, which the New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll called "the first black rock group." Miles had played with Hendrix on the guitarist's influential "Electric Ladyland" album released in 1968. The Band of Gypsys made just one album, a live set recorded on New Year's Eve in 1969-70, and two of Miles' songs, "Them Changes" and "We Got to Live Together," were included on the album. He gave the recording a memorable drum riff on one of Hendrix's signature songs, "Machine Gun."But, according to Miles, the Band of Gypsys association was brief and stormy. He told The Times in 1988 that Hendrix's management, not the guitarist himself, fired him within a month of the concert. He thought Hendrix's managers were leery of continuing with an all-black group."It had to be a racial thing," Miles told The Times. "I think it had to scare them because of the political aspect at the time."Miles was born Sept. 5, 1947, in Omaha. He developed an interest in drums at an early age and by 12 was playing in his father's jazz combo. Within a couple of years he was in demand as a session player and a sideman, working with top-name R&B groups, including Ruby and the Romantics and the Delfonics. According to the Rolling Stone encyclopedia, he played on the session that produced the Jaynetts' 1963 hit "Sally Go Round the Roses."While playing with Wilson Pickett in 1967, he was approached by guitarist Mike Bloomfield, who asked him to join the blues, rock and soul group Electric Flag. Miles played on three of the band's albums before forming his own group, the Buddy Miles Express, in 1968. Next came his association with Hendrix.Over the years, Miles recorded two albums with Carlos Santana, one of which went platinum, and worked with other leading music figures, including Muddy Waters and John McLaughlin. He re-formed the Buddy Miles Express in the mid-1970s and had a hit with his song "Them Changes".

The Rock & Blues Music world has lost an iconic legend in the inimitable Buddy Miles.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Well the following memory-telling was prompted from a reply to Linda ( "Girl About Town" ) . . . about writing. I started this 'blog' ( ...I'm still trying to get used to that... word? ) intending a prow by which we might sail the music seas! Especially the blues & oldies music waters... but begining to see now how the nature of ( shudder ) 'blogging' necessitates much more yielding to.... well, whatever! I'll tell myself that no matter what- I can write a blues tune about it!!

As to writing: It's my inescapable passion to tell a good story... and Naomi's life provides no seeming end of chapters! There may be no inkwell deep enough!!

I began "writing" in 1970. It was that year when "Rolling Stone Magazine" launched their "...Experiment in participitory journalism", wherein readers and subscribers were invited to submit short autobiographical stories. The "Stone" intended to publish what they deemed the best 10 of submissions they recieved. As I mulled it about I ventured that I might have a story or two to tell about my tour-of-duty in Vietnam... but moreso about my homecoming after I had been wounded there on July 21st 1967.

Like Naomi who is sometimes not certain of exact years, I may have forgotten the exact title of my piece!... tho' I think it was likely "...The Helmets Head" ( from a line by Jim Morrison of the "Doors" ). Some weeks after submission I was contacted by "Rolling Stone" that my piece had been selected with 9 others for publication. I was #4, and my story appeared in August ( I think? ) of 1970. As I recall there had been nearly 12,000 submissions! After that I thought- "...well heck! Maybe I'm a real honest-to-God 'writer' now!"... so I continued to write- and then after awhile it just became necessary.

The wild part of this story is that 7 yrs later "Rolling Stone" was about to celebrate it's 10th Anniversary- and CBS was producing a 2 hour "10th Anniversary" TV special for them. I recieved a call from R.S. & CBS telling me they wanted to do a segment based on my 1970 magazine piece- and that they wanted to fly me down to Los Angeles to help in the re-writing of my story into a one-person monolog... and would I mind very much if Martin Sheen portrayed me! Me!! Me...?

Though I thought to hold-out for Robert Redford I settled for Mr. Sheen. ( jus' funnin'! ) I told them I was married (then)- and we also had 2 friends visiting. No problema. They flew the lot of us down!

As Naomi felt by her opportunity to share creative space with such as Buster Newman and Sid Wyche- it was quite the scene spending 3 days with Sheen re-writing my piece into monolog! He had come fresh from "Apocolypse Now" and his heart-attack in the Philipines... so there was much talk of war, mortality, fear of death, fear of God, faith and hope to find love in our world.

A funny memory is how when lunch was ordered-in Martin would always only have bowls filled with fresh fruit along with bottles of mineral water in the wake of his recent heart-attack. I ate burritos, burgers, pizza & felafels... and Martin would discuss my own cardio-vascular risks while he still chain-smoked Kents!! ( Then again- many Dr's smoked, and smoking was still allowed in hospitals!)

It was a great ride! Despite my fears the monolog re-write played-out wonderfully... Martin, sitting on a hi-leg stool- all dark except for one light upon him as he "told-out" what goes on inside a "...helmets head". He even read a poem I had written ( long after my homecoming actually... but an idea he felt insistant about. ) If I may, that poem:

Where Each Fell -

All to here each step obtaining
of this moment drear, this blooded raining
ne'er could boys heart when once dreaming
see such life vital streaming-
hope with breath, now here should fly away

All to there and rise as lifting egret white
now tether lost this slipping kite
to go where hand nor finger guides
a final breath, then closed eye hides
in prayer for light of day.

( Charles William Olmstead- 1973 )

Prol'y the strangest part of the whole thing was the day Sissy Spacek came to shoot her "intro" to the segment- and with mentions to the "turbulent times" of the Vietnam era. Afterward we were all asked to gather-up ( Spacek, Sheen & I ) for the TV Guide photo. We had not even yet been introduced when they began "arranging" us for the pic... with Spacek & Sheen standing behind me- and each with a hand on my shoulders. Snap, snap, snap & wrap! I turned to say hello to Ms. Spacek... but she turned as well and was already walking away. Very awkward. She hung around in the studio a bit, got coffee, talked to several people but never came over to introduce herself... and by then I was feeling far too self-conscious to be forward myself!

Ahhh well... cant mingle with ALL those "stars"! The next morning a limo dopped us at the airport in L.A. and after hauling out our bags left us like bags ourselves, leaning there on a curb. Our friend John looked at me, shrugged and said- "...Welp! We're 'nobody' again!!"


Hey kids- a Life Lesson! -

"...And it was this slaves appointment: to lean forward in the Emporers chariot at varied points in the victors parade and whisper in his majesty's ear- 'Glory is fleeting my king... Glory is fleeting!'"

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"IF": Hot Rods, Cool Tunes & The Naomi Caryl Confluence

Well... where to begin in explaining this mysterious, unforseen but happy confluence!?

My name is Charles William ("Butchie Boy") Olmstead. I'm a "laid off" combat veteran (Vietnam ) via injuries resulting in paraplegia. But with full use of arms and "upper body" (including a head filled with love of music - especially blues & 50's era pop & Doo Wop!)- I have been a blues musician (blues-harp.. aka harmonica ) and blues & oldies Doo Wop DJ intermitently these last 37 years. If you've not already popped-in; links to my 'Myspace' joint & "Rock-it Radio" are below. My shows ( "The Cotton Sturdy Blues Hour" & "Butchie Boys Doo Wop Diner" ) can be heard over the internet. Just click on the "playlist"... you'll find me listed! More too in the "DJ's @ Rock-it Radio" section over on the left column. ( ) Enough of shameless self promotion!

I also would happen to make a teenage dream come true in 2004 when I purchasded a beautifully restored and customized 1949 Mercury from a collector in Pheonix, AZ! The car I knew I had to have since seeing my first Mercury in "Rebel Without a Cause" as a kid! I'll try to pop a pic or two of her ( "Lil' Sugar" ) somewhere here soon! I show her off at carshows here locally on the Central Coast ( & my hometown here in Lompoc, CA ) thru the Spring & Summer months.

My car was featured in the Feb/March 08 issue of "Rod & Custom" magazine... and not long thereafter I was contacted by the very gentlman who did all the original customization of the car in 1984 ( 24 yrs before I would become her 4th owner in '04!)... named Donn Lowe.

As we became friends and he learned of my music & DJ gigs he one day popped this seemingly inconsequential question : "...Hey man... do you remember a tune by this chick, Naomi Caryl, entitled "If"?" As it would be- Donn ( also a Vietnam vet by-the-way )- was among the kids out on the dance-floor when Naomi appeared at a "Bandstand" style venue in Connecticut; sometime in the 50's! Donn never forgot the song... nor Naomi whom he described as quite the "kitten" up there on that stage!

Well... Donn is also a "caveman" and ( use the Saturday Night Live "Unfrozen Caveman" line ) "...our modern world frightens and confuses him!" Hence... he does not utilize computers. Not that I am a computer "wiz" myself... I do own one, know how to turn it on and negotiate the net with some low degree of acumen- especially if it should come to finding music... and the more obscure the better. There are treasures to be found! At that, Donn asked me if I could locate "If" by Ms. Naomi Caryl... and having once long ago bought it as a kid in Connecticut ( " 1950 sump'm!" ) he even remembered that it was on the "Ember" label... #1006!!

It took me a few days or so but found an oldies "vinyl cat" in Maryland who had a well used but perfectly playable 45rpm pressing of Naomi's record "IF" on 'Ember' #1006! Bought it... got it... and sent it to Donn by certified USPS. Talked with Donn by phone ( he now lives and still restores & customizes cars in Oregon City, Oregon... even for such clients as Jimmy Vaughan... Bluesman & brother of the late, great blues guitar-slinger, Stevie Ray Vaughan!! ) . . . and its an understatement that he was crazy-ecstatic with anticipation of "...Naomi's arrival"!!

As we spoke he ruminated and wondered where Naomi was today... and with all hope of her happiness and wellness wherever she happened to be. Alas, another internet search one night- and ( possibly? ) locating Naomi Caryl among the members of Theatre West in Los Angeles! I took a shot and wrote "Ms. Naomi Caryl" c/o 'Theatre West'. . . and was slack-jawwed to find her reply the very next morning! Naomi wrote:

"...Hi Butchie....

Well, this is simply amazing!!!

That "Jim Gallant" American Bandstand type show in New Haven had to be 1955- or 1956...1957....? It is terrible but I don't remember what year it was.....! And the reason I did that show was that Jim Gallant called the record company and said he had played the song and had a huge response to it....So they sent me up there and I did the show...(I think I did it at least twice....) And I cannot believe that Donn Lowe was actually one of the kids dancing on that show.....! That is simply Amazing!!! You have no idea what a lift this gives me, to know that something I did back over 50 years ago is remembered by anyone!!! And that you actually got a copy and will be playing it....! You must tell me when that will be, if you can....I would love to hear it over the Internet.....!

And by the way, based on the popularity in Connecticut, they sent me on a Publicity tour---back then the important cities were, Boston, Philadelphia..(I actually was on American Bandstand in Philly...Dick Clark had just taken it over a few months before my appearance...) Cleveland....I appeared on a lot of radio shows in these cities....And the side that was the "A" side of the record was "IF"....! I think the Ember thought we were on our way.....But....the same thing did NOT happen in those other cities....It did okay, but not like it had in New Haven....I got to know Jim Gallant and his then wife, quite well, and they had me to dinner the 2nd time I did his show....God, I wonder whatever happened to him....! He was a very nice guy....!

If you ever come across another record of mine....It was on a label called Cambria....God knows whatever happened to was a kind of '50's version of "ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND"....I don't even remember what was on the other side.....But it was a pretty good record....It disappeared into space, I think....!

I LOVE your car, by the way....It is really Great! It is wonderful that you have filled your life with music and all these positive things...I know it could not have ben easy being in Vietnam and coming back wounded as you were....(I wonder what you feel about that war and the war we are in now...there seem to be a lot of parallels....)
I will go to your My Space site....I am not too savvy about navigating on My Space or so many of these other things like Facebook....The blog world seems very easy, next to all these other

The Internet is truly amazing, you found me....And in turn Donn has found me, too, because of The Internet, and further, I got to meet you!! And hopefully will get to meet Donn, too.....
It will be quite amazing if other New Haven-ites surface....!

A joy to be in touch, Butchie....

All My Very Best To You,


Thanks so much for replying Naomi. . . and what a gas this has been- to have the pleasure and priveledge to make your aquaintance... and what a strange confluence that brought it all to fore! I trust we shall become great friends- as are the feelings of my friend Donn Lowe I am sure... a kid on a dancefloor some fifty years ago; who remembered a voice, and "..a kitten"! You have enduring fans to this day sis!!

Lord hug you tight... - Butchie Boy Olmstead

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A brief genesis of The Blues: The primordial American Soul

Current mood: "...On a mission from God!"

The origins of blues is not unlike the origins of life. For many years it was recorded only by memory, and relayed only live, and in person. The Blues were born in the North Mississippi Delta following the Civil War. Influenced by African roots, field hollers, ballads, church music and rhythmic dance tunes called jump-ups evolved into a music for a singer who would engage in call-and-response with his guitar. He would sing a line, and the guitar would answer.

From the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, and the platform of the Clarksdale Railway Station, the blues headed north to Beale Street in Memphis. The blues have strongly influenced almost all popular music including jazz, country, and rock and roll and continues to help shape music worldwide.

The Blues... it's 12-bar, bent-note melody is the anthem of a race, bonding itself together with cries of shared self victimization. Bad luck and trouble are always present in the Blues, and always the result of others, pressing upon unfortunate and down trodden poor souls, yearning to be free from life's' troubles. Relentless rhythms repeat the chants of sorrow, and the pity of a lost soul many times over. This is the Blues.

The blues form was first popularized about 1911-14 by the black composer W.C. Handy (1873-1958). However, the poetic and musical form of the blues first crystallized around 1910 and gained popularity through the publication of Handy's "Memphis Blues" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914). Instrumental blues had been recorded as early as 1913. During the twenties, the blues became a national craze. Mamie Smith recorded the first vocal blues song, 'Crazy Blues' in 1920. The Blues influence on jazz brought it into the mainstream and made possible the records of blues singers like Bessie Smith and later, in the thirties, Billie Holiday.

The Blues are the essence of the African American laborer, whose spirit is wed to these songs, reflecting his inner soul to all who will listen. Rhythm and Blues, is the cornerstone of all forms of African American music. Many of Memphis' best Blues artists left the city at the time, when Mayor "Boss" Crump shut down Beale Street to stop the prostitution, gambling, and cocaine trades, effectively eliminating the musicians, and entertainers' jobs, as these businesses closed their doors. The Blues migrated to Chicago, where it became electrified, and Detroit.

In northern cities like Chicago and Detroit, during the later forties and early fifties, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and Elmore James among others, played what was basically Mississippi Delta blues, backed by bass, drums, piano and occasionally harmonica, and began scoring national hits with blues songs. At about the same time, T-Bone Walker in Houston and B.B. King in Memphis were pioneering a style of guitar playing that combined jazz technique with the blues tonality and repertoire.

Meanwhile, back in Memphis, B.B. King invented the concept of lead guitar, now standard in today's Rock bands. Bukka White (cousin to B.B. King), Leadbelly, and Son House, left Country Blues to create the sounds most of us think of today as traditional unamplified Blues.

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Wyonnie Harris, and Big Mama Thorton wrote and preformed the songs that would make a young Elvis Presley world renown.In the early nineteen-sixties, the urban bluesmen were "discovered" by young white American and European musicians. Many of these blues-based bands like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Canned Heat, and Fleetwood Mac, brought the blues to young white audiences, something the black blues artists had been unable to do in America except through the purloined white cross-over covers of black rhythm and blues songs. Since the sixties, rock has undergone several blues revivals. Some rock guitarists, such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen have used the blues as a foundation for offshoot styles. While the originators like John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins and B.B. King--and their heirs Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and later Eric Clapton and the late Roy Buchanan, among many others, continued to make fantastic music in the blues tradition. The latest generation of blues players like Robert Cray and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others, as well as gracing the blues tradition with their incredible technicality, have drawn a new generation listeners to the blues.

I trust you too have been drawn to a new generation of blues lovers- for whatever your greatest music passions; if they are thought to be regarded "American" in their nature; they will inescapably owe their soul and blood to the blues.

Your thoughts are valued...

Butchie Boy Olmstead