Thomas A. Dorsey wrote this when he lost his first wive and child. He began writing gospels in '32. Before that he concentrated on blues songs, for Ma Rainey, Sara Martin and others. As Georgia Tom he cut the original It's Tight Like That in duet with Tampa Red. Those risky lyrics sure contrasted with what came after '32. One of Dorsey's own versions of Precious Lord can be heard in PBS tv-series American Roots Music. This was MLK Jr's favorite gospel. In fact he was shot down in Memphis while sax player Ben Branch serenaded him with it.
Emory Johnson [on Decca]
Hank Williams [Mother's Best transcription]
Mahalia Jackson [also in '68 at Martin Luther King's funeral, as this was one of his favorite hymns]
Aretha Franklin [at the age of 16 on JWB]
Elvis Presley [as Take My Hand, Precious Lord; also recorded that same Thomas A. Dorsey's Peace In The Valley]
Thomas Dorsey [author]
Michelle David [as Need Your Help]
Based upon old George Nelson Allen tune Maitland (1852) and according to the book The Rise Of Gospel Blues, based upon Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone, cut by the Soul Stirrers ('69).