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By Rosa García Mora

On November 23, 1960, Elvis’ album “His Hand in Mine” would be released, the first of the three gospel music albums he published during his lifetime.

The album was recorded on October 30 and 31 of the same year at RCA’s Studio B in Nashville.

Elvis’ gospel music responded to sincere and deep beliefs that wanted to pay tribute to the music he loved since he was a child. His native Tupelo in the 18th and 19th centuries had slavery as one of the main sources of development, and African-American people found solace and an escape in their work songs. This way of expressing his feelings, taken to the churches, gave rise to gospel music. At the beginning of the 20th century, many singers approached this type of music and Elvis was no exception. And if we add to all this that one of Gladys’s uncles, Gains Mansell, was co-pastor of the small First Assembly of God Church, of which Elvis became a part after being baptized, and which he would regularly attend with his parents and their family, singing together at masses; It is easy to establish the origin of the eternal link between Elvis and this spiritual music.

In the early hours of the 31st, Elvis would record the song “Swing Down Sweet Chariot,” with production by Steve Sholes, and it would be released for the first time on this album.

On October 23, 1968 and under the musical production of Billy Strange, Elvis would record it again for the film “The Trouble With Girls”.

The 1960 version featured the usual Jordanaires backing vocals, while the 1969 version featured the gospel quartet The Mello Men, whom Elvis also adored.

Swing Down Sweet Chariot” is a traditional spiritual song, with the dominant use of choruses and excellent use of harmony, as is characteristic of this musical genre.

Everyone knows the impressive live version that Elvis performed of this song at the Pearl Harbor benefit concert at the Bloch Arena on March 25, 1961, in Honolulu.

A soul song, in the purest gospel tradition that Elvis loved so much.

Article written and provided by Rosa García Mora https://www.facebook.com/rosa.garciamora.12


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