Does one ever before tire of city hall this magnificent entertainer or listening to that excellent God-given voice that can conquer any type of song that sings?

In this seldom seen Elvis performance, The King sings a medley of three various songs indigenous the Civil battle era: 1) ‘Look away Dixieland,’ 2) battle Hymn of the Republic (Glory Glory Hallelujah) and 3) ‘Hush little Baby.’ The surname of this historical performance? “American Trilogy” and it couldn’t possibly be much more perfect.

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This track was composed in the early 1970’s through Mickey Newbury and also made famous by Elvis. The origin of this famed Elvis item is a fascinating story the I’m thrilled to share through you today. This is wonderful bit the musical background that many Elvis pan are completely unaware of.

It all started with songwriter Mickey Newbury, and also one fateful night in Hollywood as soon as Newbury to be asked to perform for a identified crowd that had Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Streisand, Mama Cass, Joan Baez, and most notably, singer and also civil civil liberties activist Odetta.

The moment chronicled listed below by kris Campion in the liner note of Mickey Newbury’s one American Trilogy compilation album exemplifies just how sometimes what seems to be a polarizing element of culture can each other understanding and compassion because that one an additional through the healing virtues of imaginative expression.

He stared deep into the past with a gaze haunted and also pained, conjuring the sorrow of age through a melody as familiar and urgent as a bugle call and also a voice soaring, gentle and also pure. A voice that appeared so much larger than the body it inhabited.


But then, everything about Mickey Newbury seemed unassuming. Indigenous the compact, wiry structure that looked so vulnerable yet imparted a formidable power once hunched and taut over his Ramirez guitar.

To his conservative setting of dress—shirt buttoned practically the neck, collar starched, blue jeans pressed, boots shined—and the means he wore his hair—neatly-cut, combed, parted. Even his smile seemed shy at full beam. Everything, that is, other than his voice and also the method he take it anyone who heard the on a journey.

And that’s certainly how it must have seemed come the an excellent and great of Hollywood who had gathered top top Thanksgiving weekend 1970 come see and also hear this modest fellow from the Lone Star State make his West coastline debut and also were stunned into silence together they witnessed Mickey Newbury do his life.

It appeared as if the track was not just coming from within him but as if that was external himself and inside the song. The sound driven out in waves. Calming, resolute, cleansing. The atmosphere in the club seemed to it is in frozen in slow-moving motion, relocating with the illusion of stillness.


The entire audience rapt in the moment, together if trapped in amber, attention fixed upon the solitary number on a phase illuminated by a soft curtain of light, with just his guitar for accompaniment. And also that illusion was broken only through a tear the rolled down the cheek the a great gospel singer sitting out in the audience.

There was no indication in ~ all the this very same song had actually recently ripped through the country like a hurricane. Creating so much turbulence in the wake that its performance had actually been outlawed in state after state.

“Mickey, friend can’t perform that,” Colby protested. “They’ll tear this society apart.” Colby’s new venture, Bitter end West, a Los Angeles branch of his venerable new York folk club, had actually not been open a week and also Mickey had been granted the privilege of play its opened weekend.


“Well, gain a shovel,” come Mickey’s reply, “cos I’m addressing to execute it.”

Rather than present “Dixie” by name, Mickey preceded his performance with a short overture that he knew would certainly play well to the audience of liberal Californians, market folk and also fellow artists.

“Just this critical week,” he began, “there was a tune banned. I can not recognize why people think a song can be damaging. Anybody the loves truth and also loves music would certainly not argue v ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ nevertheless of what Bob Dylan’s politics or personality to be like.” There were whoops of the agreement. Mickey continued, talking around the dangers and injustice of banning totally free speech, climate he started right into the song.


He had slowed the track all the way down and pitched it together a ballad—quiet, persistent, weighted—an idea that had obtained from listening Barbara Streisand’s “Happy job Are right here Again” the invested the tune with a pathos perfectly matched to its lyric.

Streisand was, as it happened, in the club the night v her recent conquest, a warm up-and-coming singer-songwriter dubbed Kris Kristofferson. The had pertained to see a girlfriend whom he credited, in large part, with helping to kick-start his career as well as being a substantial influence ~ above his songwriting. Joan Baez, one more friend of Mickey’s, likewise watched the night. And also sitting front and also center on the club’s wood church pew seating, sandwiched in between Mama Cass and also Odetta, Mickey’s 23-year-old wife, Susan.

From the stage, he can see Odetta’s eyes glisten as they welled up, her confront shine as the emotion stained her cheek. He was so take it up see this influential figure moved come tears right there in former of him that he might not carry himself come stop. He was compelled to take stock; instead, he segued instinctively into the refrain of one more song entirely, “Battle chant of the Republic”—a song that was to the North together “Dixie” was the South and into which the plowed all his distress.


Even then it didn’t seem suitable to finish, so he shifted into “All mine Trials,” a Bahamian lullaby rotate plantation spiritual that Mickey later confessed to having heard on just two prior occasions. However it fits for this reason well, developing a breach and symbolizing a quiet change to the various other two songs, charged as they to be by their association through Civil war conflict.

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“When he obtained done,” states Susan, ‘you can have heard a pen drop in that club. Over there was no a sound.” The silence to be a chasm. Then Mama Cass damaged it by jumping up from her seat come clap and also yell her approval. And, at she lead, the entire place erupted through applause that seemed to critical forever.

Now listen to Elvis’ “Dixie” inspired melody and experience the majesty the his legendary performance because that yourself. In this clip, we acquire to watch the just legendary Elvis Presley perform “An American Trilogy.”