Remember Bill Carter and The Chymes of Freedom?

If you’re my age you might.

The memory’s a bit fuzzy. I think it must have been the summer of 1967 because I didn’t move to Bremerton until the middle of my eighth grade year and that the late fall of ’66. But I remember trooping down to Roosevelt Field, the grand old baseball stadium that was knocked down and turned into the parking lot next to the Warren Avenue Bridge, with my buddies. The Chymes of Freedom were headlining a rock show at the old ball yard. At least, I think they were the headliners.

They reminded me of the Byrds, or perhaps the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan must have been an inspiration. His album, Chimes of Freedom, was originally recorded in 1964. Bremerton’s Chymes of Freedom were a really good band, and only around for a couple of years. They were comprised of CK grads Bill Carter and John Carter, West High’s Rick Belyea, George Goins, Scott McDonald and the late Earl Weida.

Why am I reminded of this band 45 years later?

Well, I was riding to a softball scrimmage at Western Washington over the weekend — I’m a volunteer coach at Olympic College these days and enjoying every minute of it — when our head coach, Danny Haas, informed me that Bill Carter had been on the Late Show with David Letterman last week (Feb. 21), and Johnny Depp was playing slide guitar. Bill Carter & The Blame’s the name of the band. Turns out Carter moved to Austin, Texas, in 1976 — the same year I was going to school at the University of Texas — and he’s become a Texas legend as a singer/song writer.

Carter and his wife, Ruth Ellsworth, are prolific writers and have written songs for several major artists. Among Carter’s songs: Steve Ray Vaughn’s “Crossfire.” He also wrote “Why Get Up?” for the Fabulous Thunderbirds and “The Richest Man,” which has been recorded by 40 artists. Carter and Ellsworth played with Depp’s band P in the 1990s. Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, actor Sal Jenco were also in the band. Others, like Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, played from time to time.

The Blame played  “Anything Made of Paper,” on the Letterman Show. It’s featured in the 2012 documentary film “West of Memphis,” which is about three teenagers who were unjustly charged with murder and spent 18 years in jail in Arkansas.

Sounds like Carter’s lived an interesting life. Check out his website.





3 thoughts on “Remember Bill Carter and The Chymes of Freedom?

  1. I do indeed remember the Chymes of Freedom and listening to them play at the Battle of the Bands at Thunderbird Stadium. Tell Danny Susan says hey! 🙂

  2. It was great to see Bill jammin with Johnny Depp. Until that moment, I had no idea that Johnny was a musician.

    Congratulations on your success Bill Carter. Local folks keep an eye out for Scotty McDonald. There’s been an occasional sighting or two!

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