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. ( www.rockitradio.net ) 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 ( ..to 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 ( "...in 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:
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 it....it 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 things...lol....
The Internet is truly amazing Butchie....here, 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