I didn’t watch the Grammies. (What is the point right? Rich famous people giving each other awards for doing what they are paid to do all the while wearing more on their backs than the GNP of most countries). I did watch Beyoncé sing Precious Lord on YouTube. It was alright, I guess. She stayed on key. She didn’t sing it too fast. I found myself staring at the staging more than listening to the song though. And that is a pity.
Precious Lord is one of those songs that when you sing it, when you hear it, when you experience it, it moves you. I don’t mean it makes you cry or smile, I mean it moves you; it takes you to another plane of existence. That didn’t happen at the Grammies. This may very well the first time since I was small child that Precious Lord did absolutely nothing for me.
So just now, I listened to Mahalia Jackson sing that same song. THAT moved me. So did my own singing of the song, So did my remembrances of how the old church women would sing that song without any staging, high production values, or orchestral accompaniment, just their voices and that church mother rock they would do. It’s not the song that’s wrong.
Precious Lord is a song about the rough times in life and how faith in something bigger than yourself gets you through, not about white suits and princess dresses and perfect lighting. The song is the thing not the singer. And anything that cuts one’s attention from the song, bleeds the song of its power. Beyonce, simply dressed, alone on stage, singing from the power of the song, from her own soul, could have called the power of God Almighty.
Instead I got a pretty lady in a see through dress with backup singers in white suits singing a song that sounded nice. Critics loved it, thought it was show stopper. Perhaps it was. But that song was never about a show.
That song is about what is real.