Elvis Presley - Elvis: Ultimate Gospel

Thursday 1st July 2004
Elvis Presley - Elvis: Ultimate Gospel
Elvis Presley - Elvis: Ultimate Gospel

STYLE: Southern Gospel
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Lore Music 88697052362
RRP: £14.99

Reviewed by Paul Poulton

Here it is. If you do ever find yourself on a sinking ship, do whatever you have to to retrieve this CD. If there really is only one disc allowed on a desert island, this is the one you'll need. The 24 gospel songs neatly assembled for us by BMG range from 1957 to 1973. Elvis sold 250 million gospel recordings in the US alone, no white boy did it better, Elvis was a singer par excellence. Hear his extensive vocal range - just one or two notes short of three octaves - on "Milky White Way," he's got the strength of a bassman and the sweetness of a tenor. What great songs: "I Believe In The Man In The Sky", "Where Could I Go But To The Lord" swoop and turn like a skylark. The Jordanaires add class and more than a hint of doo wop to the earlier sessions. "Crying In The Chapel" is perfectly executed with feeling, tenderness and emotion. Of course it would be easy to be cynical about these songs, their message is not easy to listen to if you're a non-believer. Plus Christian music has developed over the years but we need to remember these are the songs that made it grow. So many aspects of this collection stand out, one of them being the quality of the earlier recordings; it's all there, with no frequencies missing, the upright bass hits me where it should. Elvis' 'How Great Thou Art' album received a Grammy for Best Engineered Album. The only song that could afford to be removed is the "Miracle Of The Rosary". Elvis was Assemblies of God, I don't think I could get away with singing it in my AOG, not that I'd want to. The heritage we have in Elvis' gospel music is a gift to the world.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Sample Track Listing:
3. Amazing Grace [Listen]
5. You'll Never Walk Alone [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

Product Description
When Elvis was growing up, the Presley family attended The First Assembly Of God Church in Tupelo and subsequently in Memphis. Elvis’s music was greatly influenced by attending these churches but religious music came to Elvis in many different shapes and forms. Religious songs were often part of the repertoire for country stars on the Grand Ol’ Opry - a syndicated Nashville radio broadcast that the Presleys almost always tuned into on Saturdays. As a teen, Elvis and his friends would sneak into churches in the black neighbourhoods to catch the lively music of a different musical heritage. The welcoming congregations and uplifting sounds opened up Elvis’s understanding of the multiple facets of religious music.
Ultimate Gospel – Deluxe Edition provides testament to Elvis’s musical excellence and acknowledges the priceless contribution of the talented songwriters, musicians and producers involved. There is no doubt about the importance of Elvis Presley’s contribution to the popularisation of religious music and this CD offers all of Elvis’s greatest inspirational recordings on one CD of 25 tracks, mastered from the original master tapes for optimum sound quality, in a deluxe package with great Elvis photos.

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