“Peace in the Valley” – Raymond Silver

“Peace in the Valley”
Raymond Silver
From the CD, Use Me (2010)

“Peace in the Valley” is a timeless hymn that has been covered by the likes of Mahalia Jackson (for whom it was written), Red Foley, Pat Boone, Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Loretta Lynn, Take 6, The Soul Stirrers, Elvis Presley, and no less than a score of others.

Now you can add Raymond Silver to the roster.

On his current CD, Use Me, the multi-talented Silver delivers his own interpretation of the Thomas Dorsey classic.  Silver’s arrangement is faster, but he handles the traditional gem with care, as if the composer is within earshot.  Most of Silver’s liberties are taken in the vamp (the repeated phrase “in the valley”) as he chronicles all the glooms he’ll abandon and joys he’ll embrace upon entering into eternal peace.

Hearing this version of “Peace in the Valley” 70-plus years after it was written, I think Rev. Dorsey would be pleased.

Viola Crowley of the Clara Ward Singers has passed

Joseph Middleton of The Golden Era Gospel Blog reports the passing of Viola Crowley of the famed Clara Ward Singers.  Crowley sang lead on several of the group’s songs including “Traveling Shoes” and “We’re Marching to Zion,” in addition to serving as the group’s pianist for a time.  Read The Golden Era Gospel Blog’s announcement here:  R.I.P., Viola Crowley of the Clara Ward Singers.

GMF sends its condolences to the family of Viola Crowley. 

 Photo:  The Clara Ward Singers with Elvis Presley in 1969.  Viola Crowley is fourth from the right (beside Presley).

Great-nephew pens biography on gospel singer-songwriter, Brother Claude Ely

He was a soulful singer and a Pentecostal Holiness preacher who influenced Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley. Now, Brother Claude Ely’s influence is again being recognized in a biography entitled, Ain’t No Grave: The Life and Legacy of Brother Claude Ely.

Knoxville News has the feature story on the man whose 1950’s recordings earned him the distinction of the “Gospel Ranger” of the Appalachian Mountains.