Provident Music Distribution and RCA created the project, "Elvis Presley: The Gospel Series". These CD series, only available through Christian retail and gift markets, will consist of five discs for a total of over fifty-six irreplaceable rare recordings performed by Elvis during his history-making career. The first two releases in this series, titled "Nearer My God to Thee" and "He Is My Everything" came out earlier in 2001, now "Lead Me, Guide Me" and "It's No Secret" are released. According to Michael Omansky these CD's are doing very well.
The CD's are done in the same manner. It looks like an image of Elvis is printed on canvas with a little decoration on it. The idea is nice, but the result looks a bit "messy" in the way that the fabric isn't clean. Both the front and back cover of the booklet are done this way. The images are the same as in the "Peace In The Valley" booklet, so is the printed decoration on the canvas. Inside we only find the track listings and the usual writer, producer and date information. The back of the CD's contain black and white portraits of Elvis.
Just like on the previous CD's we expected a bit more text on Elvis' gospel work, since this CD is supposed to be "an exciting opportunity for Christian music fans and fans of Elvis to experience the important gospel works of the undisputable king of rock 'n' roll". But none of that, these two CD's and probably the last one in this series, a Christmas CD, will all follow the same design line.
As said before, the project "Elvis Presley: The Gospel Series" will ultimately consist of over fifty-six irreplaceable rare recordings performed by Elvis during his history-making career. All releases in this series contain 14 tracks. These second two releases contain a nice mixture of Gospel recordings from the sixties and seventies. The sound quality is good on most tracks, but why are the "obscure" (home/rehearsal) recordings included? We think that doesn't fit the "general Christian music fans". That's about all we can say on the content. When you enjoy Elvis' Gospel music, both volumes give a great listening.
This series can be a good introduction of Elvis in the Christian stores, gaining a new public, and in return a nice way to introduce that public to Elvis. This is the main goal for these releases according to Michael Omansky. But we have some doubt if this goal is reached by 5 single releases when there's a 3 CD set containing the complete Elvis gospel collection. Besides the price we can find no other reason for this.
As for the Elvis CD Collector, we can only say, the same tracks in a different sequence with new cover art. And since they are only available through Christian stores ... but all the major on-line shops feature these releases too.