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Perfect 10 Series: A Cappella Soul - Essential Recordings

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Album Review

A cappella sensations the Persuasions have been wowing audiences since they first appeared on the scene with their debut album A Cappella on Frank Zappa's Bizarre imprint. It's not that their music was in any way "bizarre," but more that Zappa was an unabashed lover of doo wop and a cappella R&B singing and a collector of recordings. The group reached the peak of its popularity when they were asked to be part of Joni Mitchell's Shadows and Light tour in the late '70s. And that's where this ten-track Rounder compilation begins (chronologically, at least), with three tracks from 1979's Flying Fish LP Comin' at Ya. These cuts are classics of the vernacular: "Cryin' in the Chapel," "Let Them Talk," and "Return to Sender." Other cuts included here are versions of Al Green's "Let's Get Married" in a medley with Harvey Fuqua's "Sincerely," the gospel nugget "Ain't That Good News," and Sam Cooke's "That's Heaven to Me." The albums these cuts were culled from were either released on Rounder or by one of its distributed labels such as Bullseye Blues between 1979 and 1988. This is a terrific little comp for the money.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A cappella singing has been part of the African-American musical tradition since the days of slavery. Despite the recent success of the hi-tech a cappella group Take 6, the tradition has suffered a steady decline to the point where it is rare even in gospel circles. The Persuasions, though, are resolutely a cappella. Their chart successes have been minimal (two fleeting R&B entries in 1974-1975), but they carry forward the tradition without appearing ossified. Airplay will probably always elude them...
Full Bio
Perfect 10 Series: A Cappella Soul - Essential Recordings, The Persuasions
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