I just spent the last 3 hours reading from a Rich Mullins web site and I was so unbelievably moved. Everyone needs to read everything on this site. It’s incredible.
As many of you might know, I’m into worship and in particular, accuracy in worship. It’s my thing. Some people think I’m anal, but it’s just I express my desire to give glory to God by being as accurate as possible in regards to worship and worship songs, when it comes to chords and lyrics. It’s just something I do.
So one of the songs we started singing in the past couple years is called Lord Most High. It’s on a Hosanna! Integrity CD entitled He Will Save You with Bob Fitts. I highly recommend this CD. At any rate, this song is on there, and it’s a goodie and a keeper. So we sing it and in pursuit of lyrically accuracy, we used the words in the liner notes as reference.
The problem is, it sounds on the recording like they’re singing it a little bit differently. Actually, there are only 2 places where this happens, but it’s there. Which presents a dilemma. And in the past, I’ve sided with the liner notes, because, you know, sometimes when people are singing, they just kind of go off, and that’s not really part of the written song, it’s just them going off. It shouldn’t be part of the song, is what I mean. But they go off. But you shouldn’t sing it that way.
For example, on the Vineyard recording of Eternity, they go off in the middle, and sing all this stuff. That’s not part of the song. I mean, it’s not in the lyrics. Another, my favorite example, is Come To The Light. There’s one recording of this song, on Worship Festival Live, where the leader, the guy who wrote the song, Kevin Prosch, just blatantly sings the wrong lyrics. How do I know? Well, first he has a habit of forgetting lyrics. If you listen carefully, you’ll see he does that in other recordings too. It’s hilarious, he just kind of mumbles and listens to what the background singers are saying and then joins in. He does that on this particular recording also. But in addition, he also just sings lyrics he’s making up on the spot. I mean, the background singers, if you listen, are not singing what he’s singing and sound confused. Like what the heck is he doing? And he often just kind of makes up parts that are really long. At any rate, I know a church, where they sing his wrong lyrics, and all the stuff he makes up, so like the lyrics to the song take up 3 transparencies. Come on, that’s not right. So what I’m trying to say is when there’s a conflict, I tend to side with the liner notes.
Although interestingly, they list that whole talking part in Creation Calls on Light the Fire Again in the liner notes. Strange. Every time I hear that part, I think of Bono on Bullet The Blue Sky. One hundred! Two hundred!
So we went with the liner notes and all is well. But Intervarsity at Stanford also started singing this song and they sang it the way it sounds on the recording. Here are the pertinent parts. We sing “name we raise.” They sing “name be praised.” We sing “song we raise.” They sing “song we raise, Lord.” So, you know, I thought they were all wrong. Except this summer I looked in the songbook and it’s listed their way! So this presents a dilemma. My desire for accuracy says change it. But it’s tough. You see, IV isn’t noted for their passion for chord accuracy. They’re actually downright creative sometimes. It’s actually impressive. So it’s, you know, from a worldly, prideful standpoint, hard to follow their lead. But we gotta be right. It’s a dilemma.
Here’s the ironic thing. I’m friends with the old praise leader and I was telling him all this and before I finish he said, oh yeah, I’m real sorry about the lyrics – I changed them to the right way. Irony! They had the right lyrics, and they changed it to the wrong way! Funny.