Gospel music was a significant part of not only who Elvis was as a man, but as an artist as well. This book by Joe Moscheo looks at his roots and the role of gospel in his foundational years, as well as the comfort, solace, and strength it offered him.
After the original record releases, a pile of gospel collections on CD and the documentary “He Touched Me” on video/ DVD it is now time for a book on Elvis’ gospel side. Joe Moscheo, who worked with Elvis as member of The Imperials, signed for it.
The 176 pages hardcover is printed on quality paper, and the pictures are even on glossy paper. Certainly because not all pictures are of great quality, they benefit a lot of it.
The lay-out of the book is very pleasant and invites you to read.
After several praises for the book (among them one by Rev. Rex Humbard), the foreword by Priscilla and the introduction the book is roughly divided in 3 parts: working with Elvis, hanging around with Elvis and remembering Elvis.
This fly-by of Joe Muscheo’s work is enough regarding the content. I have to admit that I didn’t read anything new. The way Muscheo brings the material, in a very honest – and first hand! – way, gave me a very pleasant read in the first place. The work underlines Elvis’ dedication to music in general, and gospel in particular. Although I am one of those fans that read almost anything Elvis, I prefer works about the artist Presley way above those about the human. Of course the human gets attention too, but the artist wins hands down.
I was very pleased that my fear for a “too religious” book proved wrong. Joe Moscheo does not try to preach, he just describes the mutual love for (gospel) music. I don’t want have anything to do with the thoughts behind those lyrics (in general), but I do appreciate the music itself very much, and recognize the passion that Elvis had performing it.
Funny is that in one of the latter chapters the author writes about experiences with the knowledge of fans. I wonder why he didn’t use that knowledge and let one of those fans proofread his book. Not that it is very disturbing, but there are some mistakes in the book that could have been avoided (mostly misdating of pictures).
A missed chance is the description of the music itself, although there is a list of the gospels Elvis recorded. I would have loved to see more information with it (dates, original artists, what makes Elvis’ rendition special (if so) and such).
A pro is the index, I love books like this with an index… very easy to look up something.
Disregarding the few flaws I enjoyed the book a lot. It’s honest, informative – especially for the occasional reader – and pleasantly written. Thumbs up for Joe Moscheo!