My town’s local R&B station features America’s greatest dee-jay, Joe Bullard. That’s 96.1 Jamz in Tallahassee, FL, in case anyone ever wants to check him out.
Days like today he’s part minister, though, even on a day like today, I’ve never once heard him preach. He let’s the subtlest shift of tone in his usual patter do some of the work.
He let’s the music do the rest.
So, driving around doing errands this morning, the first piece of music I heard after I heard the news from Charleston was from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
Bear in mind there was a time when Bobby Bland, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed and others crossed over to the American Pop Charts. Then hear me when I say this is the deepest blues singing to ever crease those charts, however briefly.
Triple deep in fact because it’s a collective.
The wordless, knife-in-the-heart falsetto is by Lloyd Parks, the long monologue by Melvin himself.
The lead is Teddy Pendergrass, about whom I had this to say a little while back.
And, here as there, it’s not the words (which are about something else entirely). It’s not even the music.
It’s the sound. The sound of mourning and, today, there was no sound to match it. Certainly not the babble coming from talk and news stations. It made a difference.
But you do have to wonder how long we can go on healing and patching before we bleed out.