COVERED BY ELVIS
Swing Down, Sweet Chariot - Swing Down,Sweet Chariot
recording date elvis: Monday, 31 October 1960; Studio
originally by: Golden Gate Quartet
recording date: 5 june 1946
originally written by:
The first commercially recorded version of "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" seems to have been made by the Golden Gate Quartet on 5 June 1946, as "Swing Down, Chariot" (matrix CO 36387). The number was coupled with "Blind Barnabus" and released as a 78rpm single on Columbia 37834 (Columbia D.C. 505 in the UK, where it was instead coupled with "Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho"). An earlier recording of the song was made in 1941 by the Mississippi Gospel Singers, but this was probably a field recording, not intended for commercial release.
A different version of "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" was recorded by Elvis for the film "The Trouble With Girls" and was not officially released until 1995 on the CD, "Double Features: Live a Little, Love a Little; Charro!; The Trouble With Girls; Change of Habit."
Elvis's knowledge of spirituals was huge, of course, and he once auditioned for a gospel group in Memphis. He apparently learned "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" from the Golden Gate Quartet in Paris, where he saw them perform and sang together with them in private after their show ("A Life In Music," Jorgensen).
(Note that "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" should not be confused with the similarly titled "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," a rugby match favourite, even if the two numbers are occasionally used in a medley with each other. For the record, the earliest recording of the "Swing Low" number was made in or around late 1895 by the Standard Quartette.)
Swing Down,Sweet Chariot
performed by: Golden Gate Quartet
Swing Down Sweet Chariot
performed by: Elvis Presley