I once was lost in sin

I once was lost in sin (‘Just a Little Talk with Jesus’). Cleavant Derricks* (1910–1977).  Derricks’ most famous song achieved a status in both Black and White congregations, moving freely between publishers and performers in both communities. The late United Methodist homiletics professor William B. McClain notes that Black musicians freely ‘borrowed’ musical and lyrical ideas from existing songs in accordance with their immersion in an oral tradition. In McClain’s words, ‘The dictum was: One was free to borrow as long as the revision made the borrowed music better’ (McClain, 1990, p. 78, emphasis in original). An analysis of ‘Just a Little Talk with Jesus’ reveals that Derricks followed...

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