The Persuasions

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{{Infobox musical artist | name = The Persuasions | image = The Persuasions.png | caption = The Persuasions, 1972 | image_size = 250px | background = group_or_band | origin = Brooklyn, New York, United States | genre = Acappella | years_active = 1969–present | | original members =

  • Jayotis Washington
  • Herbert "Tuobo" Rhoad (d. 1988)
  • "Sweet" Joe Russell (d. 2012)
  • Jimmy Hayes (d. 2017)
  • Jerry Lawson

The Persuasions are an a cappella group that began singing together in Brooklyn, New York in the mid-1960s.


Frank Zappa was responsible for The Persuasions' first LP, Acappella.[1] He heard The Persuasions singing over the phone from a New Jersey record shop known as Stan's Square Records. The store's owner, Stan Krause, was the group's manager at the time. Prior to that time, The Persuasions had recorded several a cappella tracks for Krause's record label, Catamount Records. Zappa had an appreciation for soul and street corner style singing, and after hearing the group, flew them to Los Angeles to record their first album. The Persuasions were the opening act at The Mothers concerts at Carnegie Hall, 1971. Thirty years later, Zappa fan Rip Rense supervised and encouraged the group in the creation of a Persuasions tribute CD to Zappa, Frankly A Cappella on Earthbeat Records.

The Persuasions later recorded tribute albums consisting of material by the Grateful Dead (Might as Well), the Beatles (The Persuasions sing the Beatles). The last album they made together prior to Lawson's departure was on the Chesky label titled A Cappella Dreams.

Herbert "Toubo" Rhoad, one of the original members of The Persuasions, died in 1988 while on tour. In 1990, The Persuasions performed on the PBS TV special Spike Lee & Company – "Do It A Cappella".

In 2007, Jerry Lawson, lead singer and arranger of the group for 40 years and 20 plus albums, released his first post-Persuasions a cappella CD with his new group, Jerry Lawson and Talk of The Town.[2] Lawson considers this the masterpiece of his a cappella career. In December 2010, Jerry Lawson and Talk of The Town were featured on Series 2 of NBC's The Sing-Off. Lawson was invited back on season 3 as a featured guest without Talk of the Town. He was accompanied by 16 cast members, performing the Arthur Conley hit (written by Sam Cooke) "Sweet Soul Music". In 2015 he released his debut as a solo artist, "Jerry Lawson Just A Mortal Man," with some of Nashville's finest musicians on Red Beet Records. It was featured on NPR with host Joel Rose. [2]

Groups as varied as Take 6, Rockapella, The Nylons, and Boyz II Men cite The Persuasions as major influences. [3]

"Sweet" Joe Russell died on May 5, 2012.[4]

 Jimmy Hayes, born on 12 November 1943, Hopewell, Virginia, died on 18 May 2017 at age 73.[5]


In the liner notes to the 2003 album, A Cappella Dreams, the group revealed their musical influences:

  • Sweet Joe Russell references the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Soul Stirrers, and "all those gospel greats."
  • Jimmy Hayes speaks of Jimmy Ricks [spelled "Rix" in the notes] and Melvin Franklin.
  • Jayotis Washington focuses his attention on Louis Jordan.
  • Ray Sanders thanks all of the Temptations for his influences.
  • Jerry Lawson cites Roy Hamilton, Sam Cooke, Al Hibbler, Brook Benton, and Elvis Presley as his mentors, adding, "Believe it or not, Elvis was a big influence. I thought he was...a fine singer, and I think we do him pretty good."



  • I Just Want To Sing With My Friends (1974; A&M [not yet issued on CD])
  • More Than Before (1974; A&M [not yet issued on CD])
  • Chirpin' (1977; Elektra)
  • Comin' At Ya (1979; Rounder/Flying Fish)
  • Good News (1982; Rounder)
  • No Frills (1985; Rounder)
  • Do It A Cappella (1990)
  • Live In The Whispering Gallery (1993; Hammer n' Nails)
  • Toúbo's Song (1993; Hammer n' Nails)
  • Ships at Sea, Sailors and Shoes [with Ned Sublette & Lawrence Weiner] (1993; Qbadisc/Excellent)
  • Right Around The Corner (1994; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • Sincerely (1996; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • You're All I Want For Christmas (1997; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • Man, Oh Man: The Power of The Persuasions (1997; EMI [1970-72 Capitol masters compilation])
  • On The Good Ship Lollipop (1999; Rhino/Kid Rhino/Music for Little People)
  • Frankly A Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa (2000; Rhino/EarthBeat)
  • Might As Well...The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead (2000; Arista/Grateful Dead)
  • Sunday Morning Soul (2000; Rounder/Bullseye Blues)
  • Blue's Big Musical Movie (2000; Rhino/Kid Rhino)
  • The Persuasions Sing The Beatles (2002; Chesky)
  • A Cappella Dreams (2003; Chesky)
  • Collectables Classics (2006; Collectables [Box set containing all 1971, 1972, & 1977 releases])
  • Essential Recordings: A Cappella Soul (2008; Rounder [1979-86 Rounder/Flying Fish/Bullseye Blues compilation])

Non-album singles[edit]

  • "Party in the Woods" written by Jerry Lawson/"It's Better to Have Loved and Lost" [1968; Minit]
  • "One Thing on My Mind"/"Darlin'" [1975; A&M]

The following various artists recordings contained otherwise unissued Persuasions recordings:

  • Various Artists: Bread & Roses: Festival of Acoustic Music (1979; Fantasy)
  • Various Artists: Spike & Co. Do It A Cappella [soundtrack] (1990; Elektra)
  • Ned Sublette & Lawrence Weiner (with Kim Weston, Junior Mance, et al.): Monsters from the Deep (1997; Qbadisc/Excellent)


External links[edit]

List of albums, with labels
Title Album Details
  • Released: 1970
  • Label: Reprise/Straight [CD issue: Engima Retro; CD reissue: Collectables]
We Came To Play
  • Released: 1971
  • Label: Capitol [CD issue: Collectables]
Street Corner Symphony
  • Released: 1971
  • Label: Capital [CS issue: Collectables]
Spread The Word
  • Released: 1972
  • Label: Capital [CD issue: Collectables
We Still Ain't Got No Band
  • Released: 1973
  • Label: MCA