The Wonderful World Of Elvis (Godfather Records GR 813)
(70:10): Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees (alternate take 8), Miracle Of The Rosary (alternate take 1), Winter Wonderland (undubbed master), On A Snowy Christmas Night (extended mix), Here Comes Santa Claus (acetate recording), White Christmas (remix), Lady Madonna (informal recording), Merry Christmas Baby (unedited/undubbed master take 1), I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (alternate take 9), The Wonderful World Of Christmas (unedited complete master), O Come All Ye Faithful (alternate take 2), It Won’t Seem Like Christmas (Without You) (undubbed alternate take 6), The First Noel (remixed version), Silver Bells (alternate take 1), Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (acetate recording with echo), Santa Claus Is Back In Town (remix), I’ve Got Confidence (alternate take 1), If I Get Home On Christmas Day (extended mix), The Wonderful World Of Christmas (extended mix), I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (country version), If Everyday Was Like Christmas (alternate take 2), I’ll Be Home For Christmas (acetate recording with echo), Fools Rush In (unedited/undubbed master take 24), Listen To The Bells (informal recording), Johnny B Goode/O Holy Night (informal recording), The Wonderful World Of Christmas (vocal overdub)
Elvis Presley had a profound yet pure faith in Christ and his religious convictions were sincere. He wore a cross, a star of David, and the Hebrew letter chi. He explained his jewelry choice, saying: “I don’t want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality.” Peter Guralnick writes in Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (Little, Brown; 1994) that he began singing at a very young age in the Assembly Of God church in Tupelo, Mississippi.
During his career he recorded many hymns, spiritual songs and carols which rank among his best selling music. According the liner notes that accompany this release, “Elvis’ Christmas albums are some of the best selling of all the festive releases from the firmament of rock equaled only by Phil Spector’s legendary production for the same genre. It has to be said though that Elvis paved the way in testing out the genre for it’s eventual success and the fact that we see most artists dip their toe in the water and give it a try.
“As a man of occasional faith and gospel, Presley would not have been more pleased to have lent his name to this endeavor, in fact he took to it with gusto and it was this power that put most radio stations and regular citizens in a flap on the arrival of his first festive album – At this early stage Elvis was still the enemy of the norm . The mixture of golden Christmas standards, gospel tracks and newer Leiber & Stoller songs perfectly represented the full Elvis experience a situation that left some traditionalists aghast.”
The notes continue with detailed information about the recording sessions. Suffice it to say that they span the length of his career and are all in excellent sound quality. The breadth of his recordings are also commendable, ranging from traditional Christmas carols to a recording of the “Ave Maria” to “secular” Christmas songs. He even makes an attempt at The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna.”
The beauty and purity of Elvis’ voice lends deep conviction to the numbers. The Wonderful World Of Elvis is another great Elvis production on the Godfather appropriate for the coming holidays.