Just a Little Talk with Jesus by Charles Reagan

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There have been hundreds of articles written on Elvis Presley, as he was a prominent figure in the late 20th century; most people know Presley as the man who changed the music industry by introducing lewd or suggestive dance moves to the stage. This article, however, focuses on the southern spirituality of Presley. As mentioned in the seventy-fifth and seventy-sixth page of the journal, this is relatively unexplored territory. The article Just a Little Talk with Jesus by Charles Reagan Wilson derives its name from an old gospel song, also entitled “Just a Little Talk with Jesus.” This article begins with the retelling of the “Million Dollar Session” that occurred in December of 1956 at Sun Studios, the record studio for the now famous Presley. This session was given its name because of the worth of talent that attended; the group in attendance included Presley, Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. The five musicians played many songs together, including southern religious songs known extremely well by these five men who all came from church backgrounds. Among these southern religious songs was “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” that expounds the gospel and redemption, talking of a person lost in sin that was taken in by Jesus. It is vital to note that Presley’s spirituality was inherited and correlates to regional patterns. His spirituality and music along with the manner in which he fused the two makes Presley an “emblematic figure in southern culture” (pg. 76). For the point of this article, “spirituality” is one’s religious views that are based in one’s religious exercises and practices. The spirituality found in the south in the mid-twentieth century was far more than attending church; it permeated every aspect of souther... ... middle of paper ... ... gospel singer, had he lived for six more months. Presley also revealed his spirituality through racial reconciliation. His appreciation for black and white southern gospel music was evident, and he even showcased black performers as his backup singers. In a concert song entitled “An American Trilogy,” Presley challenged southerners to transcend sentiments rooted in racism that dated back to the Civil war. Presley’s spirituality can be seen as a white working-class southern spirituality. Overall, Presley’s southern spirituality drastically influenced his music and his career embodied the southern movement toward using modern entertainment to reach all with the age-old message of the gospel. Bibliography Charles Reagan Wilson, “‘Just A Little Talk With Jesus’: Elvis Presley, Religious Music, and Southern Spirituality,” Southern Cultures (October 2006).

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