|1. His Hand In Mine|
|2. I'm Gonna Walk Dem Golden Stairs|
|3. In My Father's House|
|4. Milky White Way|
|5. Known Only To Him|
|6. I Believe In The Man In The Sky|
See all 29 tracks on this disc
|1. Only Believe|
|2. He Touched Me|
|3. I've Got Confidence|
|4. Amazing Grace|
|5. Seeing Is Believing|
|6. He Is My Everything|
See all 28 tracks on this disc
|1. When The Saints Go Marchin' In|
|2. Just A Little Talk With Jesus|
|3. Jesus Walked That Lonesome Valley|
|4. I Shall Not Be Moved|
|5. (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley|
|6. Down By The Riverside|
See all 30 tracks on this disc
Disk One probably is my favorite, because it showcases Elvis' extraordinary voice. I am so awed by his range and how he makes each selection his very own with such deep sincerity and intimacy. Also, the back-up musicians are just right - not too intrusive upon Elvis' voice. HIS HAND IN MINE, IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE, KNOWN ONLY TO HIM, HE KNOWS JUST WHAT I NEED, IF WE NEVER MEET AGAIN, WE CALL ON HIM, YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE, and WHO AM I are just a very few of the beautiful songs which leave me so blessed. He was known for his very special renditions of CRYING IN THE CHAPEL and HOW GREAT THOU ART, which was a favorite during stage performances and for which he was awarded a Grammy in 1974. LIFE, which I had never heard before, is unforgettable.
Disk Two has many special selections like ONLY BELIEVE, HE TOUCHED ME, HE IS MY EVERYTHING, and an extra-special live version (1974) of HELP ME. I feel the back-up musicians became too predominate on some tracts which detracted from Elvis himself. His is the voice I prefer to hear unhindered. On the other hand there are some with Elvis improvising alone. There is also some quartet improvising - memorable is TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS/NEARER MY GOD TO THEE. The disk is a valuable part of the set and surely special.
The beginning of Disk Three requires and is well-worth undivided attention. Elvis joined in with Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis in the Sun Studios for some impromptu gospel improvising. This was dubbed the "Million Dollar Quartet" session and took place December 4, 1956 in Nashville. Johnny Cash was also present. Obviously Elvis was already well-versed and accomplished in gospel music. It is wonderful to have these lighter moments preserved, when Elvis was still the charming boy-next-door and in the early stages of his phenomenal rise to stardom. There are more recordings of the beautiful inspirational music Elvis gave us throughout his career. Included also is the gospel medley from his '68 COMEBACK SPECIAL, a memorable live version of HOW GREAT THOU ART from June 1977 (he passed away in August 1977), which proves Elvis could still belt out a song in his last days, and finally PEACE IN THE VALLEY from his Ed Sullivan appearance in January 1957, which has special significance to us older fans.
The booklet enclosed with the album gives background and a nice overview of why Elvis loved to sing gospel for personal inspiration and enjoyment as well as make recordings. I just wish Elvis had drawn on the power of God to help him overcome his personal weaknesses. He might still be singing live, but I am thankful for what he left us. If you are a gospel music fan and even if not, Elvis can touch your heart as few others can. This collection is priceless!!
If you think Elvis' favourite kind of music was either rock or country, you'd be wrong. Gospel was Elvis' first musical love, as revealed in the two-part TV documentary, HE TOUCHED ME: THE GOSPEL MUSIC OF ELVIS PRESLEY. PEACE IN THE VALLEY includes all the songs from his three gospel albums (HIS HAND IN MINE, HOW GREAT THOU ART, and HE TOUCHED ME), the PEACE IN THE VALLEY EP, and gospel highlights from the '74 Memphis concert, TV specials and movies thrown in for good measure. It also includes some informal recordings from the '56 Million Dollar Quartet sessions with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.
Elvis arranged many of these songs in the traditional way, but makes them lively by throwing a modern, rock-inflected beat to them. And the sound quality is much crisper and clearer than on the two-CD AMAZING GRACE collection released in '94. The liner notes in PEACE IN THE VALLEY's booklet are also well-written, and without the sloppy edits found in the AMAZING GRACE booklet (e.g. the HE TOUCHED ME album wasn't just nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel Album in 1972, it actually WON -- hello!)
When the King of Rock 'n' Roll sings the praises of another King (i.e. Jesus), you know you're going to be moved and entertained, even if you're not religious. You don't have to be religious to appreciate the good music heard here. Kudos to BMG for a job well done!