An American Trilogy

This piece is a medley of three songs, an arrangement by Mickey Newbury, who recorded it in 1971. The first song in the trilogy is "Dixie", which was written by Daniel Decatur Emmett for a minstrel show in 1859 and became popular. It became even more popular during the Civil War. (In 1943, Bing Crosby played Emmett in the film "Dixie".) The second song is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". The lyrics to this song were written by Julia Ward Howe in December 1861 at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. It was at the suggestion of her friend Rev. James Freeman Clarke. Ms. Howe used the melody of another song "John Brown's Body". The title was given to the song by the editor of the "Atlantic Monthly", which published it as a poem in February 1862 and paid Ms. Howe $5.00. The author of the third song, "All My Trials", is unknown. It was recorded by the Kingston Trio in 1959 under the title "All My Sorrow". Elvis' version of the Newbury arrangement of these three songs, "An American Trilogy", was recorded live in concert at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas on February 16, 1972. Musicians were : James Burton (lead guitar), John Wilkinson (guitar) , Jerry Scheff (bass), Ronnie Tutt (drums), Glen D. Hardin (piano), Charlie Hodge (guitar), and the Joe Guercio Orchestra, conducted by Joe Guercio. Backing vocals were by: The Sweet Inspiriations - Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell and Myrna Smith; J.D. Sumner & The Stamps Quartet - J.D. Sumner, Bill Baize, Ed Enoch, Richard Sterban and Donnie Sumner; and soprano Kathy Westmoreland. The single "An American Trilogy" was released in April 1972 with "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" as the flipside. In the U.S.A. it peaked at #31 on easy listening chart and # 66 on the pop chart. In the U.K . it peaked at #8 on the in an 11-week run on the pop chart.