Lacking a Chord of Love

This is my sketch of a C Chord.

The Latin root for "chord" is simply "heart". It is also the root for accord and discord. The sketch is just an introduction to a story of love and discord.

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His Last Chord

In music, a chord is a series of notes in harmony, usually the same key. They are different notes but when played together there is a pleasant sound of unison. This is how Stevie sounded together with Eric Clayton and his band in 1990. Everything was in harmony. They were in one accord.

Here they are in the classic "Sweet Home Chicago." I listened to this song played by so many artists each summer at the Chicago Blues festival but nothing quite like Stevie Ray Vaughn. His guitar speaks like BB King's Lucille.

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I was still in high school and I really wanted to go to Alpine Valley to see Eric Clapton and his band end the summer on a Sunday night concert.

I had been to Alpine Valley once already that summer for a concert. It was too far from Chicago and the next day I had to be at football practice at 6am. Instead I stayed home and fell asleep listening to radio. The next day when I came home from school my dad was watching the news and said,

That's the last Stevie Ray concert.

I nodded. Stevie Ray Vaughn's last words to his drummer are a chord of love, "Love ya." It was not the right weather to take off in a helicopter at midnight.

His Discord

Just a few years before that Stevie Ray Vaugh was not in one accord. His band was struggling to get a record contract.

David Bowie asked Stevie Ray Vaughn to join his band to go on tour. The problem is that David Bowie's band leader (Carlos Alomar) played lead guitar and Stevie Ray played lead guitar. That should be fine as long as there is a chord of love, but there was no chord of love. Instead there was jealousy, fear and tension.

Other things plied up and the tension grew. When Stevie Ray invited his wife Lenora to rehearsals she was banned after Alomar complained to Bowie about her. And then to make it up to him and show him he was a cool guy, Bowie offered the opening spot of the tour to Stevie Ray Vaughan. That never happened.

Instead there was more discord with Stevie Ray's manager Chelsey Millikin and David Bowie. Millikin asked for more opportunities for Stevie Ray and Bowie asked for Stevie Ray to fire Milliken. Finally Stevie Ray walked out of David Bowie's tour. The reason was David Bowie was never going to share the stage with him.

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There is discord whenever two different people try to do something together. Stevie Ray's Bass player said,

"Stevie was supposed to walk down a ramp, and they wanted him to do these choreographed moves, but he’d walk exactly the same normal way every time. They could never get him to do what they wanted, because Stevie was incapable of pretending to be something he wasn’t.”

Calm and without resentment Stevie says,

"We weren't even allowed on the show." (1:58)

Discord can open new channels

You can't have discord without a chord. Both of these men were men of heart and books are written about them. We can meet some of their band members and ask them, but we will never be able to hear their chords ring together again.

Stevie Ray Vaughn knew what to do when the discord couldn't be resolved. He moved on. Maybe everyone still remembers rocket man and the artist behind that voice, but not everyone remembers Stevie Ray and the little discord that they had so many years ago.

Today we know for sure what people say in discord on the blockchain are recorded and even on the Discord app. In one made a promise on Discord another could hold that promise as evidence. There is nothing wrong with a little discord. Some of discord can be resolved on Discord and what can't be resolved can be set aside for later. I'm excited that we have freedom to express ourselves even in discordance.

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Discord can produce new colors

Sometimes things need to be mixed up and shaken and stirred to get the right taste. Other times it s best for them to be tasted separately. Discord will always be around as long as we have differences. Today there are avenues to discuss differences and work on practical solutions. In the case of Vaughn and Bowie, their avenues of artistic expression did not match.

They didn't become the perfect misfits or even Bert and Ernie. The best solution for their discord was for each to go their separate way. Through the discord each of them continued to grow in their own way without holding a grudge.

Here's the odd couple now on Let's Dance. What an interesting arrangement of music and talent.

Sources:

Texas Flood:
The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan
by Alan Paul and Andy Aledort, 2019

Stevie Ray Vaughan:
Caught in the Crossfire
by Joe Nick, and Bill Crawford, 1993

Cover image:
Drawn by hand on a tablet using sketchbook software for coloring by Mineopoly.

It is interesting that this week's POB-wotw challenge is "discord".
I don't think many people even know about the POB discord.

Do we even have an active POB discord invitation link?

Discord can do a lot for us as long as we can play a chord of love. ♫♫

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