Elvis Presley: Where No One Stands Alone

Music and church bring me peace. I love the music performed at mass. My affinity with music began with church and the choir. I sang for several years in the choir. I loved that connection with my faith. I still do as it centers me each week.

Elvis Presley is my favorite Gospel artist. His love for church hymns is inspirational. I saw a video with him singing Gospel songs backstage with the Jordanaires years ago. He was never happier in those collaborative moments.

Where No One Stands Alone provides new musical perspectives on 14 of the singer’s favorite pieces of gospel music, from the reverential to the celebratory, with song selections including Presley’s beloved enduring gospel classics. The expected ship date for this recording is August 8, 2018.

“Since I was two years old,” Elvis Presley once said, “all I knew was gospel music. It became such a part of my life, it was as natural as dancing. A way to escape my problems, and my way of release.” It was Elvis’ explosive mix of styles–blues, bluegrass, country, swing, pop–that generated his iconic world-changing rock n’ roll, but it was the hymns, spirituals and church music of his childhood, the deep-seated gospel roots that sustained Elvis and his musical vision throughout his life.

“This was his favorite genre – no question about it,” says Lisa Marie in her album notes. “He seemed at his most passionate, and at peace while singing gospel. He would truly come alive – whether he was singing just for himself and me at home, or on stage in front of thousands of fans.”

Elvis Presley – Where No One Stands Alone CD Track List

1. I’ve Got Confidence
2. Where No One Stands Alone (with Lisa Marie Presley)
3. Saved
4. Crying In The Chapel
5. So High
6. Stand By Me
7. Bosom Of Abraham
8. How Great Thou Art
9. I, John
10. You’ll Never Walk Alone
11. He Touched Me
12. In The Garden
13. He Is My Everything
14. Amazing Grace

The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Ever since we visited Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee last year I have a newfound respect for Elvis Presley. He is the man who changed the course of popular music as the biggest selling solo artist in music history (having sold an astonishing one billion records worldwide!).

Elvis Presley (1958), Credit: Elvis Presley Enterprises

A new Elvis Presley Album, The Wonder Of You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be released October 21 On Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings. The new album features powerful Elvis vocal performances with brand-new orchestral accompaniment.

Following on from the 2015 release of the chart-topping Sony Music Legacy Recordings album “If I Can Dream,” which sold in excess of a million units in the United Kingdom and Europe and a scheduled follow-up album titled “The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,” comes the announcement of the world exclusive live concert experience featuring Elvis Presley on the big screen and backed by a full symphony orchestra for a ten date arena tour in Europe in May 2017.(with a very special personal appearance by Priscilla Presley) The European dates will follow hot on the heels of six arena concerts in the United Kingdom in November 2016, which are all set to be sold out.

elvis

TRACK LISTING

A Big Hunk O’ Love
I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby
Suspicious Minds
Don’t
I Just Can’t Help Believin’
Just Pretend
Love Letters
Amazing Grace
Starting Today
Kentucky Rain
Memories
Let It Be Me
Always On My Mind
The Wonder Of You
BONUS TRACK:
Just Pretend [duet with Helene Fischer]

Our Musical Journey to Tennessee: Part 1 – Memphis, Home of the Blues, Birthplace to Rock ‘N’ Roll

July was an action packed music month for us. The month started with our vacation trip to Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. Stay tuned for other music posts about more music events we experienced in July.

I brought along an essential music book to read on the plane, Mystery Train (Sixth Edition) by authoritative music journalist, Greil Marcus. The synergy of this book fit perfect with the music mission. The first chapter was about Harmonica Frank, 1951 (the year of my birth), Sam Phillips and Sun Studio. The book set the stage for the first leg of the music journey, Memphis. There was also a chapter about Elvis Presley but more about the King of Rock and Roll in Memphis later in this saga. 🙂

The path of American music discovery

A major goal in the music of our heart has been to visit the four homes (birthplaces) of American music, blues, country, jazz and rock n roll. We had previously visited the birthplace of jazz, New Orléans, Louisiana where we saw Preservation Hall on St. Peters Street.

We journeyed first to Memphis, Tennessee to learn more about the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock n roll. We stayed at the Hampton Inn at 175 Peabody Place a half block away from Beale Street.

The music on Beale Street spirited us out of the  hotel and around the block like a pied piper. We saw two blocks of motorcycles lining the pedestrian thoroughfare.

Bikes on Beale

“I’m walking in Memphis, Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale” Marc Cohn ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Beale Street is a majestic street. We took note of B.B. Kings Blues Club at the top of Beale. We decided to have dinner and catch a show there the next night. We had to pay our respects to the King of the Blues.

From the 1920s to the 1940s, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Memphis Minnie, B. B. King, Rufus Thomas, Rosco Gordon and other blues and jazz legends played on Beale Street and helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues. As a young man, B. B. King was billed as “the Beale Street Blues Boy”.

We had a fantastic dinner at the Flying Fish the first night. It was rated 4.5 stars. The fish was deeeelicious as my great-nephew Blake loves to say 🙂

The next day we signed up for a day tour of Memphis at the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. We had a wonderful tour guide. Our first stop was Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland. I kept hearing the song, “Graceland” by Paul Simon in my head as we drove to the tourist attraction.

Graceland was a sight to behold. What knocked me out the most about Elvis’s estate was The Jungle Room and the sheer amount of awards he received in his lifetime for music and movies. Truly we were witnessing the King of Rock N Roll’s palace. What an honor it was to see it all.

The next stop on the Memphis tour was Sun Studio. A momentous place where Sam Phillips recorded, Howlin Wolf, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. We didn’t take the studio tour as the place was mobbed. We looked around, took some pictures, bought some souvenirs and got back on the shuttle. Finally got to witness the birthplace of rock n roll.

(RoadTripSports.com photo by Kendall Webb)

I preordered the book that Peter Guralnick has been writing about Sam Phillips for 25 years. My goal is to learn more about Sam Phillips from his close friend.  Peter Guralnick is the definitive Memphis music historian. I can’t wait to get back to Memphis and continue the music discovery.

sphillips

Nashville Skyline  will be Part 2, stay tuned….

The Ear of the Heart: An Actress Journey From Hollywood To Holy Vows

When I look back on what influenced me about music I reflect upon singing in the church choir. I was fortunate to raise my voice in song at church and at regional choir competitions. I love hearing and singing hymns at weekly Mass.

This morning’s entrance hymn was “How Great Thou Art” which is my favorite Elvis Presley song of all time. I reflected on the Elvis Presley Gospel vinyl recording  How Great Thou Art (RCA Victor 1967). I was always impressed with how humble and religious a person he was in life.

Little did I realize that our celebrant would deliver a sermon that involved Elvis Presley and his first on-screen kiss with an actress. The actress’s name was Dolores Hart and the movie was Loving You in 1957.

Dolores Hart entered the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, at the peak of her career, not to leave the glamorous world of acting she had dreamed of since childhood, but to answer a mysterious call she heard with the “ear of the heart”. While contracted for another film and engaged to be married, she abandoned everything to become a bride of Christ.

http://www.ignatius.com/promotions/ear-of-the-heart/index.html#sthash.w9pdq9R9.dpbs

Our celebrant provided us with valuable insight into the contemplative life of Mother Dolores Hart by telling us more about her book, The Ear of the Heart: An Actress Journey From Hollywood To Holy Vows.

I identified with her conversion to Catholicism when she was younger for I too am a convert to the Catholic faith. (38 years now) I began to realize that Mother Dolores Hart through our celebrant was in turn communicating with the music of our heart. It brought me great peace.

I just noticed there was also an HBO special filmed about Mother Dolores Hart, God Is The Bigger Elvis. This documentary was nominated for an Academy Award and is available on DVD.

I hope sharing what I have learned today about Mother Dolores Hart will bring your life and heart solace. Peace Be With You, this Sunday and Always.

Music Journalism A-Z – Greil Marcus

File:Mystery Train single cover.jpgTrain I ride, sixteen coaches long

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long

Well that long black train got my baby and gone

Mystery Train , Written By Junior Parker, 1953

I have greatly admired Greil Marcus‘s writings for 45 plus years. He has stamped an indelible impression on my musical taste and interpretation. I thank him from the bottom of the music of our heart for all he has shared and communicated.

I first discovered Greil Marcus in the record review section of Rolling Stone in the folded newspaper days (1968). His reviews contained an innate sensibility of the artist’s musical intent. He immediately understood what the music was accomplishing and communicated that knowledge directly to the reader. He transitioned the audio experience to the printed word effortlessly which has never been easy to articulate.

I bought his first book, Rock and Roll Will Stand in the summer of 69. He initiated my rock music book collection. I found his writing frank, honest and compelling. He cultivated my interest in the live concert idiom. I have been to 400+ concerts since that time. You might say he was a strong early influence for me.

The Greil Marcus book I treasure the most is Mystery Train. The first edition was published in 1975.  I continue to marvel even after the fifth edition (2008) how well the author informs the reader with its focused range of subjects from Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley, The Band, Randy Newman, and Sly Stone.

I wrote about Greil Marcus in December of 2011 when he published The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years (2011) . Here is that earlier blog post.

The Doors

 

Rock Music Photographers, A-Z, Michael Ochs

Michael Ochs is an American photographic archivist best known for his extensive collection of pictures related to rock music dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. The Los Angeles Times calls Ochs “America’s preeminent rock ‘n’ roll photo archivist”[2] and described his archive as “the dominant force in the rock image marketplace”;[3] The New York Times called it “the premier source of musician photography in the world”.[1] 

Book: Rock Archives: A Photographic Journey Through the First Two Decades of Rock and Roll

Rock Music Photographers, A-Z, Marvin Israel

Marvin Israel was primarily known as an innovative art director, (Harper’s Bazaar) graphics designer and collaborator with Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon. After his death his family assembled this fascinating book of photographs about Elvis Presley‘s 1956 concert at Dayton Fieldhouse.

Copyright 1998 Lawrence Israel and Martin Harrison
Copyright 1998 Lawrence Israel and Martin Harrison
Copyright 1998 Lawrence Israel and Martin Harrison

 

 

We miss you Michael Jackson

MICHAEL JACKSON MOONWALKER DANCE

Michael Jackson‘s death. His talent was phenomenal. I was so saddened to learn he was assassinated by his physician. His death was so reminiscent of Elvis Presley‘s death in that those he trusted allowed for his destruction.

When I watch This Is It I feel his joy and rapture for performing. His artistry will never be equaled.

I miss his magic and sincerity very, very much.

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