Gospel music was Elvis’ first love and at the time of his discovery by the late Sam Phillips he was seriously considering joining the Songfellows, a gospel quartet, instead of signing to Sun Records.
Throughout his career Elvis always used full gospel groups rather than backing singers, on stage and in the studio.
At the same time that he was recording All Shook Up in January 1957, he was also recording songs for a gospel EP, Peace In The Valley, all of which were included on Elvis’ Christmas Album later that year, and also appear here.
This collection also draws from three gospel albums that Elvis released: His Hand In Mine (1960), How Great Thou Art (1966) and He Touched Me (1971) and a couple of stray tracks including his hit single Crying In The Chapel, plus a medley of two songs he recorded and filmed at the Elvis On Tour sessions but which remained in the can until 1994.
Although a great rock singer, unlike his contemporaries, Elvis had the range to sing with an unmatched purity and sincerity on both devotional gospels and secular ballads and wasn’t afraid to match his voice with the best gospel singers in the business, as this set ably demonstrates.