Lord it over me

Curious reader TF wrote in wondering about my contention that The Talley’s performance of “Shout to the Lord” “out Lorded LordSong,” as I put it. Specifically TF referred me to this “live raw video clip” of LS at a Mark Lowry performance a while back. If you listen to the entire praise-and-medley clip, you can hear LS performing “Shout” live, which is really the only basis for comparison between LS’s version and the Talley’s. So who out Lorded whom? I dunno. I confess I had to watch the thing a coupla times through, because the first time, all I could do was fixate on how irritating it is that Amber Franks closes her eyes 90 percent of the time she sings. It’s very alienating and puts a great deal of emotional distance between the performer and her audience. And though I know all the arguments for why it’s ok to sing with your eyes closed, it strikes me as a tad amateurish for someone at this level to be doing … like saying “listen to the words and not the way I sing it” or “pray for me as sing this song” or pretending that the spirit overcame you and rendered you speechless when in fact you just forgot your words.

Anyway, second time through, I’d call it a draw, but maybe that’s because I was getting LS secondhand live from a low-quality internet stream and not truly live. And too, the praise-and-worship medley rather diluted the force of the song. After eight minutes of P&W standards (during which time everyone is, presumably, standing as per usual and concentrating on maintaining a sufficiently reverent demeanor even though it’s probably getting late and you really need to go to the bathroom and no … no, not “There’s Something about that Name” again and … HONESTLY! … “Jesus Loves Me”? Are you kidding? … well, whatever concludes this kind of boilerplate stuff is going to get diminished. That said, I was impressed with Michael Lord. His vocals on Soul Food were serviceable but largely uninspiring, I thought. In this clip, he’s positively glowing with a command and sophistication that’s thrilling to hear, especially his rendition of the oft-neglected verse of the otherwise flogged-to-death “Surely the Presence” (around the 2:50 mark if you want to skip ahead; though if you listen the whole thing, you’ll get to hear Stan Whitmire at the keyboard). Still, I think The Talleys held their own. So basically, well, like I said: I dunno. There are worse problems to have, not knowing who sang better than someone else.

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