on June 6, 2003
This three-disk collection of Elvis' complete gospel recordings is priceless to me. I have played it through many times and experience new delights each time. I just finished another play-through and decided I must add my applause along with the other fine reviews. Each disk stands on its own merits as does each individual selection.
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!!
on September 8, 2002
Even though I live in Memphis I only recently got into Elvis gospel. I bought the Peace in the Valley 3 cd set and was blown away by it. One of my favorite songs is Milky White Way where Elvis sings about shaking his mom's hand up in heaven one day. Among these recordings there are several songs from the December 4, 1956 million dollar recording session at Sun studios in Memphis where Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash were there and began having some fun singing gospel. There is also Elvis singing around a microphone and piano with J D Sumner and the Stamps. When Elvis finished with one of his regular concerts he liked to gather with friends and sing gospel tunes until the early morning hours. He loved gospel and this three cd set is one of the best gospel offerings out there.
on May 6, 2002
This is a great CD that should be heard by everyone. Any fan of good music, especially good gospel music, will enjoy it tremendously. Elvis really seemed to pour his heart into his gospel work. "How Great Thou Art", "I Believe", "Somebody Bigger Than You and I", "He Touched Me", "Reach Out To Jesus", "Where No One Stands Alone", "Swing Down Sweet Chariot", "I, John", and "Bosom of Abraham" are all great songs and stand out among the collection. The only surprises are that the songs are not arranged in chronological order, and that any conversation Elvis happened to be having with his entourage and might have touched a few keys on the piano, and sung a few lines of an old gospel song and happened to be caught on tape is included in this collection. But then again, if these weren't included, it wouldn't be complete then, would it? But on the plus side, these informal jam sessions also show Elvis sang gospel in his spare time quite a bit, and had great fun singing them whenever he wanted. There are some that stand out among these jam sessions:"Just a Little Talk With Jesus", "I Shall Not Be Moved" and "Oh How I Love Jesus". All the songs on this collection are worth listening to, and will leave you stunned with the thought that Elvis was quite an accomplished singer, no matter what he sang. Gospel music was closest to his heart, and he always put himself into these songs. The ultimate gospel collection to have.
on October 21, 2003
This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful Elvis box set I have ever purchessed in my life. This three CD set features every single gospel recording Elvis ever made and in my opinion his 1960 album His Hand In Mine is the greatest ever. It will bring you to tears when you hear him sing Known Only To Him, He Knows Just What I Need and I Believe In The Man In The Sky. Elvis sounded so good singing these songs and for some reason Crying In The Chappel didn't show up on the album. However it was released as a single in 1965 and it is truly one of the greatest. This is a great set for not only Elvis fans, but true gospel fans also. God bless BMG for this graet set.
on August 7, 2002
This has to be the best Gospel Recordings of Elvis that I have
herd.You can really fell what he is singing about in each hym
this CD collection is so wonderful.CD#2 is the best one to me
in the set.
on February 19, 2001
What a wonderful gift to lovers of Elvis's Gospel music! Most of the titles have already been released on other collections, but it is great to have all of these together with excellent liner notes too. Elvis had a wonderful voice which is at it's best when he sings Gospel, as this was the music he loved most. If you have not heard Elvis singing Gospel before, then buy it as it's currently the best overview you will get on CD of his Gospel music.(I trust that you already know of the two volume video "He Touched Me - The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley). If you already enjoy Elvis' Gospel music, then you are going to buy it anyway! I was delighted to see the song "Life" in the collection as it is the Gospel story in a nutshell. Although the album subtitle claims it to be, the set is not the complete Gospel recordings, as it does not contain "Bridge Over Troubled Water" which Paul Simon originaly wrote as a "humble little gospel hymn". Jesus, of course being the bridge over troubled water. Elvis was called to be an evangelist so it is wonderful to see all these songs which tell of the "Good News" now being released. Elvis is no longer with us, but the Holy Spirit is!
on December 6, 2000
This collection of Elvis' gospel is a round trip of everything you love about Elvis, and everything you didn't know about Elvis that you're about to love. Imagine loving the songs that you know of Elvis, and then hearing some of these for the first time. Here's an entirely new collection of songs that you may have never known, but you're about to love...many, even more than the ones you love the most. I'll start with my favorite of his: Run On. Wow, what a powerful, jamming song. Teaches you about fearing God behind the backdrop of an absolutely awesome tune that you just wanna CRANK! If the Lord Wasn't Walkin' By My Side....Joshua Fit the Battle....So High...How Great Thou Art...Holy Smokes, Elvis. How Great THOU Art when you sang that tribute to God. I'm moved by this music, and in several different ways. Here's the long and short of it. If you want a little Elvis gospel, don't sell yourself short by getting a 1 CD collection. 11 or 13 songs won't cut it. It's a waste of money. Get this CD collection. So it's $30 more. Big deal. You won't miss the money, but after listening to this collection for a while, you'd be thinking about how much you'd hate yourself had you not shelled out the money to buy this CD collection.
Buy it as a gift for every Elvis fan who loves Jesus. You'll be the hero of the day.
5 stars doesn't do it justice.
on October 9, 2000
"Peace in the Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings" is the latest offering from the revolutionary Elvis producers Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon. This 3-CD box set differs from many other recent Elvis releases spearheaded by Jorgensen and Semon for one reason: it features all previously released material.
The kicker? Even the most avid Elvis CD collectors don't seem to mind.
This immaculate, comprehensive set needs no previously unreleased tracks to entice Elvis CD junkies like me. Likewise, the listener needs not be an Elvis Presley fan - or even a fan of traditional gospel music - to enjoy this collection.
The music, digitally remastered from the original master tapes to produce the cleanest, crispest sound to date, captures Elvis at his emotional and spiritual best. This set proves that gospel provided an anchor for Elvis's musical repertoire from day one, right up to the end. The consistency in vocal conviction from the "Million Dollar Quartet" sessions (recorded by a young Elvis on the brink of superstardom) to the live version of "How Great Thou Art" (recorded at one of Elvis's final concert performances) is both startling and revealing. It is indeed difficult to listen to these tracks and not feel swept away by the utterly convincing candor that carries Elvis's voice through every note.
From the tender, humble testimony of "Known Only To Him" to the gritty, almost fierce testimonial of "I, John," Elvis manages to bridge a decade in his career with equally moving performances. Such consistency is rare, but given Elvis's unmatched vocal talent, this should come as little surprise.
Listen to relax, listen to energize, listen to sing along. Despite the historial and musical significance of these recordings, which is indeed difficult to underestimate (for without gospel, Elvis-brand rock may not have existed) - their universal appeal is easy to explain: it is simply wonderful music.
on September 15, 2000
Finally, the folks at BMG produced an Elvis reissue worth celebrating! PEACE IN THE VALLEY is, without a doubt, the best collection of Elvis Presley's gospel recordings.
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!
on September 12, 2000
This new offering from BMG is one of the most extensive they have released since the Complete 50s Masters. In one single box we get all of the gospel music recorded by Elvis Presley. That means all the great masters such as How Great Thou Art, Milky White Way, He Touched Me, Bosom of Abraham, I Believe, Peace in the Valley, and all the other well known and much loved songs. But that is only one part of this box's appeal. This set also contains concert recordings, music from Elvis' TV Specials and appearances (including Peace in the Valley performed on the Ed Sullivan Show and How Great Thou Art from the 1977 Elvis in Concert Special), backstage [informal] recordings, and home recordings. Some of Elvis' best work on this set is not the finished masters but the "behind the scenes" recordings such as Show Me Thy Ways Oh Lord. Elvis' dedication to this song (and all the home recordings), although not done originally as something for the public, is astonishing. This is also true of the 1950s recordings at Sun (after Elvis was on RCA)with Jerry Lee Lewis and other Sun stars. This is a truly amazing set that all Elvis fans and gospel fans are going to love. You truly miss out if you settle for Amazing Grace (2 cd set) or any of the single gospel CDs. Those are all great - but this is the ultimate gathering of all aspects of Elvis' love and passion for gospel music.