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His Hand In Mine

By Blogcritics/ David BowlingJul 5, 2008
Elvis Presley released his first full gospel album on November 10, 1960. He had previously released the four song EP, Peace In The Valley, whose tracks also appeared on the Elvis Christmas Album. His Hand In Mine, however, was a full studio effort featuring classic gospel and spiritual songs of the day.
When looking at the Elvis catalogue of recordings thirty plus years after his death, the gospel recordings remain essential. Through the good and the bad of his life, he always produced solid spiritual albums. His lifestyle may not have always represented the fact that he was deeply religious, but there can be little doubt that he always put a superior effort into his that material.

His Hand In Mine would only reach number 13 on the national charts and sell under a million copies. Many artists would be happy with those figures, but for Elvis they represented his least successful album release to date. It did serve the purpose of continuing to move him toward the American mainstream and expanding his fan base. There was nothing more American than serving your country and showing that you were a religious person. Middle class America, particularly formally skeptical parents, relaxed and became admirers.

Elvis took few chances with the release on His Hand In Mine. The song choices are conservative and safe. He presents the songs in a pop style and stays away from rock ‘n’ roll. He is smart enough, however, to reach back into several traditions for his material and moves from old time spirituals to country oriented songs to traditional gospel.

Some of his better interpretations include “I’m Gonna Walk Dem Golden Stairs,” “In My Father’s House,” “Mansion On The Hilltop,” “Joshua Fit The Battle,” and “Swing Down, Sweet Chariot.” Elvis’ deep voice brings vibrancy and life to these songs and others of this type.

His Hand In Mine was a wonderful release by Elvis. Today many of his gospel albums have been combined into box sets. Most of the material is readily available and are worth seeking out. The spiritual Elvis is never disappointing. Today, His Hand In Mine remains an excellent introduction to the gospel world of Elvis Presley.
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Reactions

JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 7, 2008report abuse
"His Hand In Mine" may not have been a rousing chart success, but it remained a slow, steady seller for decades.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 5, 2008report abuse
busboy - i was one of those fans around in 1960 and I bought it only because it was Elvis. I admit, had it been another artist no way would I have bought it. But I like it and come to realize it was a lot more heartfelt and better produced than most of the 60's albums until 1969. To me after Pot Luck , there was not another good Elvis LP till the Memphis sessions(non-gospel). Thats a long time between quality. I cant listen to any soundtrack LP from 1962 onwards start to finish. Not a one.
ELV75 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 5, 2008report abuse
Probably the last time Elvis recorded songs from his heart.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 5, 2008report abuse
I have to admin that I bought all these gospel albums only at the very end in order to complete my LP collection. I don't like gospels at all, though I have to admit that Elvis' voice always compels me to listen to them - both live versions as well as the complete albums. Mind you, not the content but the mere fact of his beautiful voice.
busboy (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 5, 2008report abuse
I think Elvis and RCA took a big chance releasing this and the sales figures show it wasn't as big a hit as the previous two albums from 1960 had been. Not my cup of tea as i don't like gospel music, not an album i own either. Wonder what fans who were around then thought when it was released. Looks like only the die hards bought it. Still as we know this was very special to Elvis.
dressingroomrehearsa (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 5, 2008report abuse
This was the gospel quartet dreams of his youth revisited. Although the record is a whole package of flawless and outstanding performances, I have some personal highlights: Milky White Way, Joshua...(as inspired by the Golden Gate Quartet) and Swing Down Sweet Chariot. I gave it countless spins some 30 years back when I first bought it. The cover: Was this the Canadian and US original cover or is it a reprint which was releasd in the late 70's? Over her in Europe we had the full photograph of Presley sitting by the white piano. This one with the cropped image catches the feeling a lot better. So be blessed this weekend

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