Almost everyone loves gospel songs. After all – it is inspirational music about good news and hope and warms the heart without demanding religious belief. But what in God’s name makes these songs so enjoyable? Why are they music to one’s ears? Is it because of the simple yet unique melodies, the soft or rocking grooves, or the prayer wheel-like verses that are sung alternately by a soloist and chorus? Elvis fans might well be able to answer this question just by taking a quick look at the cover, while other more undiscerning lovers of black folk spirituality would say that this is a well-produced, professional album that cannot be equalled.
Elvis lets his young, flexible voice swing sonorously here, lightly and airily there, all the while supported by a top-notch vocal backing group. The rich vocal harmonies are sung with true passion, and it is certainly no coincidence that one is reminded of the sound of the Golden Gate Quartet. In one moment the voices soar to celestial heights, in another they plunge down to a deep rumbling bass, not to forget the soft and springy rhythm section. For John Bush (allmusic.com), this LP isn’t just one of Elvis' best LPs, it’s one of the best (and best-recorded) gospel sessions of all time.
Elvis' million selling first gospel LP from 1960, His Hand In Mine represents one of the many proud moments of Elvis' career. His voice is stunningly beautiful in this tribute to his gospel heroes: The Blackwood Brothers, The Statesmen Quartet, and The Golden Gate Quartet. Includes bonus tracks from Elvis' platinum selling gospel debut EP Peace In The Valley from 1957.
His Hand In Mine Album Notes
Personnel: The Jordanaires (background vocals).
During his lifetime, Elvis Presley recorded three gospel albums and a four-song gospel EP. Presley's first full-length gospel album, HIS HAND IN MINE, sticks close to the quartet-style gospel singing Elvis loved as a youngster in Memphis. In fact, most of the arrangements on His Hand In Mine mimic arrangements used by two of Elvis' favorite groups, the Statesmen and the Memphis-based Blackwood Brothers.
The influence of such black gospel quartets as the Swan Silvertones and the Golden Gate Quartet, whom Elvis would have known through radio broadcasts, can also be heard on many numbers. As on all recordings inspired by the musical enthusiasm of his youth, Elvis shines on His Hand In Mine, singing with breathtaking passion and dexterity. The first twelve songs on this disc, all classics of the genre, constitute the album as it was originally released in 1960.