My next musical reflection is one that has meaning to me on two levels, one as a church goer and lover of old church hymns, the other as a reminder of my aunt Kath. The hymn is ‘How Great Thou Art’ by Carl Boberg (and Stuart K Hine to some degree) There are many variations and versions to this hymn, but I am talking about the popular English version.
There are two versions that I both love, but are a little different. The first is the traditional church hymn, although sadly I haven’t sung it in church very often. Although it is one of the most popular church hymns, alas, it isn’t played much. I remember seeing this hymn being sung on Songs of Praise one Sunday afternoon, the congregation were amazing and it sounded wonderful. I am particularly taken with the lyrics that are unashamed in their love of god and how great he is.
The other version is one sung by Elvis Presley, who added his usual flamboyant and gospel tone to it. My aunt Kath used to come down from London and see my mum and I sometimes. She was a huge fan of Elvis Presley, and in later years she joined her local gospel church. One of the things my aunt and I would do, is sing in the kitchen to Elvis songs on an old cassette recorder. Like the one here for all those too young to know what one was. One of my aunts favourite Elvis songs was How Great Thou Art, and she would always ask me to play that one when we were singing.
One day I might write about my singing in the kitchen with a microphone stand made by my Dad and lights made by my brother, but that’s for another time.
Although there is a version of Elvis singing this at his last ever concert, I thought I would pick one of him in his prime.