The Album


Album Reviews



The Pers' Story

Pers articles

Pers on video

press release











































                                                                                   photo by Valerie Ford Ramos

"You need to buy this album."
---Eric Talley, Contemporary A Cappella Society.

"If you are involved in a cappella today, plan on being involved in the future, or have been in the past, you need to buy this album."

  "This is a learning experience for all who listen. Take notes on their chemistry, how they react to the audience, and how they still love a cappella music 46 years after they first started singing it."

"They ignored numerous chances to jump into pop or R&B and make the big bucks, and probably went through tough times. In the end, they continued to carry the torch for our genre, and I can only hope that another group uses the same care and passion as the torch gets passed to new Kings of A cappella. Who will take the throne?"


"Highly recommended!"

"For longtime fans of the Persuasions, Live at McCabe's is a great find, a reminder of this act at its best."

"For those unfamiliar with the group, it is a very nice intro and a good reason to seek out more by this legendary, groundbreaking quintet."

"The Persuasions have long been known as strong live performers, and
Live at McCabe's shows them in their glory. Their gritty harmonies are consistently spot on, and Lawson's rough-hewn leads are terrific."

"Great energy, and it never flags."
---Oliver di Place.

"The Persuasions take the stage, and dive right into 'I Woke Up in Love This Morning.' They capture audience immediately. They deliver a wonderful combination of high energy and the total focus that is so necessary to make a cappella music work. . .

Jerry Lawson was the main arranger for the Persuasions during his time with the group, (Lawson left in 2003), and his arrangements here shine."


"The Persuasions have come to save your soul."
---David McGee, The Bluegrass Special

"Got the Beyonce blues? Tired of auto-tune? Can’t figure out what Ke$sha has done to merit a feature story in the NY Times Arts section? Curious as to whether the Times is in fact on Taylor Swift’s payroll? Falling asleep to that Antlers album, are you?

"Well, friends, the Persuasions are here to save your soul. America is safe again."


"They sound heavenly, even when singing Zappa's hilarious blasphemy."
---Steve Terrell, The New Mexican

"On their latest release, The Persuasions: Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop, they do songs made famous by Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, The Drifters, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Mills Brothers, and Frank Zappa, and songs written by Arlen and Mercer, Leiber and Stoller, Thomas Dorsey, Kurt Weill, and Bobby Bare.

"But it all sounds like The Persuasions to me. And that's a good thing."


mccabe's show review.

By Robert Adels

 photo by Valerie Ramos-Ford.  
"McCabe's became home for us. I didn't have in mind that we weren't going to be together in a few years,
so I guess that makes this recording that much more historic. We came out smokin'!" ---Jerry Lawson.

McCabe's, Santa Monica,CA---More than anyone else, The Persuasions personify the essential difference between a tired oldies act and a timeless a cappella attraction. "And we still ain't got no band!" lead singer Jerry Lawson boasted to the worshipping, sold-out crowd.

These all-vocal, instrument-free heroes paved the way for today's platinum a cappella acts Take 6 and Bobby McFerrin, as well as for the retro-hip-hop styles of Boyz II Men and Color Me Badd. Launching their own '60s career after rock's second "doo-wop" boom faded, The Persuasions pursued a soulful dream that has artisically defied musical time and tide through four decades.

At McCabe's, the quartet saluted Frank Zappa (who gave these street-smart voices their first label deal on his early Straight Records), with their slant on his "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing." But they did so only after counterbalancing Frank's atheism with a reverent version of Curtis Mayfield's "Amen" (straight from their command performance at the Tel Aviv Hilton.)

While The Persuasions have yet to enjoy a hit single, gold album or major label mega-support, they enjoy their music more than all the groups they've survived put together. And it shows.

Jerry Lawson, Jimmy Hayes, Jayotis Washington, and Joseph Russell sing a cappella like they invented it. But The Persuasions fully realize this venerable singing style goes back beyond their 30 career years, all the way to Gregorian chants and barbershop quartets. They capture the music's black history by delivering Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" with the intensity of a Civil War-era field holler. They can also send-up that history with a Vegas-style version of "Swanee River."

The doo-wop '50s is their most obvious reference point and here The Persuasions create a jukebox for its soul, sampling bits of nine songs from "Sunday Kind of Love," to "The Great Pretender" into one rapid-fire medley.

The death of longtime baritone member Herbert "Toubo" Rhoad in 1988 may have reduced this quintet to a quartet, but they still enlarge every song they sing, no matter how slight (The Tymes' "So Much in Love") or vast (Elvis' "Return To Sender") the impact of its originator. Their own vocal mix has enough rough edges to re-confirm the sidewalk roots of each and every tune.

They make The Five Satins' ultimate doo-wop anthem, "In The Still Of The Night" their own by giving it back to the crowd, inviting anonymous audience members on stage for their own group singalong encore spotlight. (Spotted in the large impromptu chorus at McCabe's was Michelle Shocked.)

The Persuasions' father-figure role in Spike Lee's PBS-TV special and soundtrack album, Spike & Co. Do It A Cappella has led to overdue re-issues from Elektra, Capitol, Rounder, and other former labels. We hope to hear a new album from them shortly.

This is no oldies group. On a Spine-Tingling Scale of 1 to 10, The Persuasions rule with a contemporary, consistent 12.

Saying Goodnight to McCabe's for the very last time.       photo by Betsy Wheeler-Kollgaard.

Listeners' Comments.

© 2009-15 Rip Rense/Rensart Records. All rights reserved.