Kyle Boreing digs up the stuff of gospel music folklore: a youtube clip of the Cathedrals at the Dove Awards with their shortlived tenor, Kurt Young (Boreing explains the history and has some good commentary on the video). No one really remembers Kurt Young, and yet everyone seems to remember that legendary ending at the Doves. (Although it’s so catastrophically bad, some people may have repressed the memory of it … I emailed this clip to a friend of mine and he emailed back and said: “OMG I was there that night but had forgotten how truly horrible it was!”) I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t help laughing and cringing simultaneously when I got to the ending myself. Gosh, it IS bad … in that way you can’t resist replaying and enduring again.
At the risk of ruining some good ole fashioned voyeurism and schadenfreude with pedantry, once I stopped laughing, I was struck by how much George and Glenn oversell the song. I mean, they’re just oversinging so much of the time, especially George on the verses. I know the Doves were a big deal at that time, and I know the Cats were still on their way up at this point, and so were taking nothing for granted. But still …
Compare the Doves clip from their version of the same song at the Farewell concert a decade or so later. The farewell George is so much more self-possessed and in control, letting understatement and nuance do what Dove Awards George tried to achieve through a kind of melodic yelping and barking.
I note all this as much for my own edification as anything else. I’m a huge admirer of what the Cats achieved artistically and professionally and I think sometimes it leads me to romanticize them into these paragons of constant musical perfection. And so we find another use for youtube: demythologizing the past.Email this Post