Saturday, August 10, 2013

'My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me'

Well, as those of you who love King Elvis the Presley know, this is always a difficult week for his family, friends and fans.

Elvis Presley died, way before his time, at age 42 on Aug. 16, 1977. You know the reasons. No need to rehash them here.

Anyhow, this week is designated as Elvis Week, which officially kicks off today in Memphis. I'm celebrating vicariously through Sirius/XM's Elvis Radio and by spinning records from my own collection. And, as I promised you Thursday night, I'm also dedicating a week of blogs to the King.

Today, in honor of her birthday, I'd like to present to you Kathy Westmoreland's soaring, stunning live version of the song she would ultimately sing at Elvis' funeral, "My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me."

Elvis loved singers who could sing in the stratosphere and those who could hit low notes several keys off the piano. So, after Millie Kirkham quit singing live with Elvis in 1971, he hired opera singer Kathy Westmoreland to take care of the former. (And, as you probably know, he soon after hired his childhood hero J.D. Sumner and Sumner's Stamps; J.D. took care of the low notes.)

This live version was recorded in concert in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 1976. Kathy's soaring vocal sends shivers up my spine every time I hear this concert. I wish there had been an audio recording of Elvis' funeral service. I know he was somewhere smiling knowing that Kathy was singing for him as only she could.

Happy birthday, Kathy. Thanks for sharing your talent with the world.

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Blogger Mom Westmoreland said...

Dear Jake,
Thank you so much for this wonderful birthday gift. Such a heartwarming message from such a thoughtful young man.
You "Got Me" on this one. I know I'm very late in responding, but have had computer problems that would not end. Long, boring, frustrating story :D. Have had you on my mind since I saw this, and brought tears to my eyes, Jake, and brought back indescribable memories that I am so grateful for. However, I am most grateful that you liked the song and recording and that it meant something special to you.
Thank you again, and love to you,
Your friend,
Kathy Westmoreland

3:31 AM  

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