Schaeffer writes to Tasia:
“Rhythm & blues, nothing like it! The languid lovely haunting sound I heard back then, and now when I see music I see a long narrow shop, walls lined with ’45 vinyl discs sometimes red or yellow, mostly black, inlaid with labels: blue, green, pink, black and names: Chance, Duke, Peacock, Checker, a montage of color and design. Up front across a counter sat Dennis: dark eyes, rosy cheeks, sensuous lips and a few thin cowlicks spilled partly down his forehead. Dennis knew R&B very well, not R&B as we hear today, but stuff from the late 40’s, early 50’s. he was fortunate to be at the heart of all those languid melodies, not jump tunes, but the ballads.” Schaeffer saw him in later years only once before Dennis passed. A different record shop, where both were visitors. Dennis’s opened black leather revealed a waist that had thickened, and instead of rosy cheeks there was a puffiness to his face. Somehow gospel came up in their talk, Schaeffer said the Swan Silvertones to which Dennis replied, Oh, they’re the best, a wry smile in his eyes. Schaeffer felt he’d been right all along, these past few years, since he began listening to gospel, that the Swan Silvertones with their tenor lead Claude Jeter were the best. Dennis corroborated Schaeffer’s feeling. He thinks— when he sees Dennis up front in a corner of the long narrow shop— music is feeling, you feel the music.
Schaeffer’s Notion of Beauty
Bombs turn a building to rubble, rescuers find an arm, a leg. In a mall a maniac fires a rifle, leaving in his wake dead children. Hate manifestos all over the Internet, in the world there is danger: a racist shoots Satyajit Chandra at a bus stop and nothing is done. Still, even now, beauty is with us.
©2021 Peter Mladinic
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