Ultimate Gospel

Apr 4, 2004
Ultimate Gospel
The press release for this compilation states “BMG Strategic Marketing Group/RCA Music Group has released "Elvis Ultimate Gospel", the first greatest-hits collection of Elvis Presley's gospel recordings”. But we wonder how strategic the release was done; no promotion anywhere (besides two websites and a press release) and it took almost two weeks and ten stores to track down a copy. Most stores did not even have a clue this compilation was to be released; their computers did not feature the CD either. The Design The cover looks very good, a great “inspirational” shot of Elvis, his (first) name and the title. These three words say it all. The booklet is rather small with only six pages. The quotes from Gladys clearly show Elvis’ early love for this kind of music, and the liner notes by Ernst Jorgensen complete the basic information on Elvis’ love for gospel and his recordings briefly. Two pages with the standard song information and pictures fill out the remaining of the booklet. The person who selected these pictures did a very good job, no new images, but on all Elvis looks great. Content The reason for this release was to put a new cover on the shelves containing Elvis’ gospel recordings. The remastered tracks (DSD technology) are a good addition to the new streamlined catalogue BMG seems to be building. His great recordings from 1956, country, movie and love songs have been made available in great audio quality along side the two greatest hits compilations “E1” and “E2”. But do we need another gospel compilation while other gospel compilations are also part of this catalogue and the previous Elvis release "Christmas Peace" was a 50% gospel release too? As for the tracks themselves, nothing new here, but that was not the goal for this release. We get the music Elvis loved deeply, and most of what can be written about these recordings has been put on paper and the world wide web many times before. The audio quality is great, you clearly hear all singers and musicians present in the recording, which is especially great with this kind of harmony music. On “Where Could I Go But To The Lord” you almost feel like you are standing near the performers with the finger snapping so clearly audible. But there is a lot of hiss on several songs like “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” and “Reach Out To Jesus” (all recorded at different sessions, so that is probably not the cause). On other remastered released you can hear this too, probably a result of the remastering of the songs and emphasizing on a certain area of the sound spectrum. We might have put the tracks in a different order, not starting with the “heavy” “How Great Thou Art” but a song like the second track ‘So High” or ‘Swing Down Sweet Chariot” since those are a bit more catchy because of the joy you feel through the music. But the balance between the “heavier” and “lighter” songs is well chosen, so overall it is a well balanced presentation of Elvis’ gospel recordings. The CD has plenty of space for several other tracks, but Elvis’ other gospel recordings probably did not fit in the producer’s definition of “Ultimate”. As we have seen in discussions on the internet, also on our own site, a lot of fans do not agree with that. But as ever, you can’t please everybody. Conclusion From all the gospel compilations released over the recent years this is probably a compilation we’ll pick out to play most often, because of the well balanced presentation and great audio quality. Still you have to keep in mind that it is not a “fan-release”, but for a bigger audience. This makes it even more strange that the promotion is so poor.


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Charles (profilecontact) wrote on May 8, 2004report abuse
Ultimae Gospel is not very well displayed. Hidden away behind other cds and not many on display. Better marketing and ensuring record stores ae displaying it where everyone can see and play some of the songs from the cd for the public and we may get non Elvis fans buying his music, which is what we want.
CD King (profilecontact) wrote on May 5, 2004report abuse
This is indeed a superb CD -Great Sound quality and a wonderful collection of Elvis Best Gospel songs! Elvis sang his heart out! A must buy for everyone!!!
mrstats (profilecontact) wrote on May 1, 2004report abuse
Vic Anesini has done a wonderful job remastering the songs from the original master tapes. The sound quality is excellent; the gospel tunes have never sounded better.
c  (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 7, 2004
Invisible because there was used a language other than English
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 5, 2004report abuse
I think tomorrow, there will be a gospel release by the 'Passion of the Christ', which features, 'Where no one stands alone', by our guy, Elvis-"the only King of music".
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 5, 2004report abuse
It's not the soundtrack, but "just" a CD with could have beens :-) and the song on "Songs Inspired by The Passion of the Christ" (Where No One Stands Alone) is not on this "Ultimate" CD... so the sticker should say "Get one more ultimate gospel by Elvis on..."? :-). They should have called this CD "The Passion Of The King", but I guess some religious people will have troubles with that title, so probably it is not politically correct...
ElvisDayByDay (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 5, 2004report abuse
Why don't they make a deal with the producers of The Passion Of Christ movie? Doesn't the soundtrack contain an Elvis song from this compilation so they could put a sticker on the Elvis CD which makes it more "up-to-date".
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 5, 2004report abuse
Well Jim I think you will be surprised when you see things pick up by the end of May. I do agree however that Ultimate Gospel can be a big hit for Elvis,BMG,and EPE, considering this heavy spiritual time, but, BMG is just sitting back. '2nd to none', though it had some promo, was not promoted like it should of been. I just talked to someone who listened to Kentucky rain, and said he "never heard the song before, and wished the general public heard Elvis do songs like these." People would then realize the enormous emotional core of Elvis. We have to find a way to get this all out there. Maybe, we the fans have to initiate things in some way...
Jim Semple (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 4, 2004report abuse
Generally speaking, Elvis promtion has been abysmal. I don't think any Non - Elvis fan knows that 2nd To None or Ultimate Gospel is in the stores which is very sad. In addition to that, where is the promotion for the two big things most Elvis fans have been waiting for, Aloha and 68 Special DVDs ???. These will be brilliant releases and would appeal to a large audience but I fear only the hardcore Elvis fans will know its in the shops. EPE know they will make a fortune from merchandise during Elvis 50th celebration events, but I've got to say, outside of Memphis and the hardcore Elvis fan, I don't think there is as much interest as people think. Only today, did I read a full 2 page article on how Bill Haley changed music for ever with Rock Around The Clock April 1956, with lots of tributes, so perhaps not everyone is getting too carried away with this Elvis 50th anniversary.

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