Elvis Presley: He Walks Beside Me
Album Review Published in Elvis Monthly, August 1978.
It is not the easiest of tasks to find something new to say about an album of reissued tracks, for this is the case with the Elvis LP, He Walks Beside Me (RCA 12772). Instead of repeating what has already been said regarding the material, I have decided to give a factual account of the songs; including dates of the recording sessions, original releases and other relevant information, together with a look at the sleeve design, which seems to have had a little more thought put into its presentation than usual.
So let’s start with the sleeve. The front has a really good close-up shot from the Aloha TV Special, one which I don’t think has been used before; to the right of the photo, Elvis’s name is stylishly printed in a white ornate style of flourished lettering that looks highly impressive against the black coloured background. Immediately below is the album’s full title He Walks Beside Me – Favourite Songs of Faith And Inspiration printed in smaller type. The reverse side of the sleeve has a centre panel mounted on a black background. At the top of this panel a photograph of a church spire is displayed. Immediately below are the song titles together with a few credits, such as “Reissue produced by Joan Deary” and “All the material previously released except The Impossible Dream and If I Can Dream” – and that is basically it. A sleeve that in my opinion uses some imagination, and is both eye-catching and mood-setting for an album of Gospel selections, which are as follows :-
HE IS MY EVERYTHING. Recorded 9 June, 1971, RCA Nashville. Originally issued in 1972 on He Touched Me LP (LSP4690).
MIRACLE OF THE ROSARY. Recorded 15 May, 1971, RCA Nasville. Originally issued in 1972 on Elvis Now LP (LSP 4671).
WHERE DID THEY GO LORD. Recorded 22 September, 1970, RCA Nashville. Originally issued in 1971 as the flip side to the Rags To Riches single (RCA 2084). UK chart position: No.9. Never before issued as an LP track.
SOMEBODY BIGGER THAN YOU OR I. Recorded 27 May, 1966, RCA Nashville. Originally issued in 1967 on How Great Thou Art LP (LPM/LSP 3758). The session that produced this track and the album was the first in 28 months that Elvis recorded anything else than movie soundtracks. It also marked the debut of producer Felton Jarvis. The album received a Grammy award for Best Sacred Performance.
AN EVENING PRAYER. Recorded 18 May 1971, RCA Nashville. Originally issued in 1972 on He Touched Me LP.
THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Recorded 16 February 1972, Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas (live recording for RCA). Previously unreleased. Already released version appears on the Madison Square Garden LP, recorded 10 June, 1972. Difference between the two takes is not highly noticeable.
IF I CAN DREAM. Recorded 29 June, 1968, NBC Studios, Burbank. The second of the so-called new tracks which is a slightly different version to the one previously released as a single in 1969, in that the back-up vocals are missing, and that is about the only noticeable difference.
PADRE. Recorded 15 May, 1971, RCA Nashville. Originally issued in 1973 0n Elvis LP (APL1 0283).
KNOWN ONLY TO HIM. Recorded 31 October 1960, RCA Nashville. Originally issued in 1961 on His Hand In Mine LP (LPM/LSP 2328), also issued as a single in the US during 1966, coupled with Joshua Fit The Battle.
WHO AM I. Recorded 22 February, 1969, Amercan Sound Studios, Memphis. Originally issued in 1971 on You’lll Never Walk Alone LP (CAL 2472).
HOW GREAT THOU ART. Recorded 25 May, 1966, RCA Nashville. Orignally issued in 1967 on award-winning album of the same name. Also issued in 1967 on A Legendary Performer Volume 2 LP (CPL1 1349), also as a single (US only) in 1969, coupled with His Hand In Mine. A live version appears on the album: Elvis As Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis (CPL1/APD1 0606), released in 1974…