Sure, you've seen the footage of a seam-bursting Elvis Aaron Presley draped in a lei-covered American flag onstage in Honolulu, but this tale of gut-wrenching patriotism was originally compiled by the late-great country maverick Mickey Newbury from folksongs and spirituals that originated during the Civil War. With "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as its bedrock, Newbury's "American Trilogy," which appeared on 1971's Frisco Mabel Joy, trades the King's grandstanding for pure heartache, utilizing the rain on the roof of producer Dennis Linde's converted garage and Beegie Adair's humongous-yet-tasteful synth strings to produce one of the genre's most goosebump-inducing moments. If it weren't such a gloriously essential recording, I would heartily recommend in its place the surprisingly reverent Manowar (Spinal Tap sans irony) rendition that appears on their 2002 Warriors of the World album, if only for the cover art alone. This beautiful live version with Newbury and violin player Marie Rhines is taken from the DVD Live at the Hermitage.