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The Persuasions


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chas bogle at boglepr@yahoo.com









JERRY LAWSON (baritone, lead singer emeritus)
Last recorded age: 39
Home town: Apopka, Florida
First record ever bought: "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy," by Lloyd Price.
First show ever seen: "When I moved to New York in 1961 and met Jimmy Hayes, he took me to the Apollo Theater. I was wiped out! To know that I could pay two dollars and see Sam Cooke! That was my first show. I was there every day after that, man. I saw James Brown, The Drifters, all of the groups I heard on the radio in Florida. I was really wiped out."
Note: Mr. Lawson left the group in 2002, and is now leading Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town. For information, please visit http://www.jerrylawson.biz
Last recorded age: 39
Home town: Hopewell, Virgina
First record ever bought: "Never bought a record. My mom, sisters, and brothers used to buy records. Lloyd Price, Jerry Butler, Brook Benton."
First show ever seen: "The Temptations. Always. Lawson and I would sit there in the Apollo, and hear that 'My Girl' riff, and we'd say, 'here they come!'"
First time basso became profundo: "When I was in high school, I had a real high voice. I use to sing alto! And I said, 'Lord, please help me! And it just dropped on me one day."
Last recorded age: 39
Home town: Henderson, North Carolina
First record ever bought:"My sister, I remember, had bought this record, (singing) 'Forever, my darling. . .'("Pledging My Love," by Johnny Ace). I took it to school and this big girl named Johnnie Mae took it from me! I had to hide from my sister! My sister bought rock and roll records, and my mom bought the Five Blind Boys, Dixie Hummingbirds, and so on."
First show ever seen: "I've sort of always been a gospel man. I would say The Dixie Hummingbirds, The Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke, Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Five Blind Boys of Mississippi---those groups." 
JAYOTIS WASHINGTON (baritone, tenor)
Last recorded age: 39
Home town: Detroit
First record ever bought: "I was too young to buy records, and anyway, we didn't have any money! One of the first records that had an influence on me was 'One Mint Julep,' by The Clovers. That piano in the beginning! One of the groups, outside of The Heartbeats, that influenced me was--- well, there was this one group I used to listen to practice sitting on the stoop on Sundays. I didn't know who they were. And then one day this limousine pulls up and across the side it says 'Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters!' In my house, it was Bullmoose Jackson, Sugar Child Robinson, Louis Jordan."
First show ever seen: "James Shepherd and The Heartbeats! That was grind-'em-up music. Good soul music." 
Last recorded age: 39
Home town: Flushing, Queens
First record ever bought: "Oh, boy. . .It was a song by The Five Satins, 'In The Still of the Night.' I had a group then, and we wanted to perform the song, so they asked me to go and buy it. The group was called 'The Exploits,' and we had a fourteen-year-old kid for the lead singer. Everybody was trying to be like Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers."
First show ever seen: "At the Apollo, with The Tempts and The Four Tops. My main inspiration was Eddie Kendricks. I always focused on his sound. And Smokey Robinson, for the lead part."


BERNARD "B.J." JONES (baritone, bass)one)
Last recorded age: 39
Home town: New York City
First record ever bought: That's hard to remember, but I used to buy records by The Heartbeats. They were my inspiration. Frankie Lyman and The Teenagers, too. I used to buy a lot of gospel. I love the Dixie Hummingbirds. Love that boom-boom bass, like Mr. Hayes'."
First show ever seen: "It was at the Apollo Theater--- Little Esther, who later became Esther Phillips. I used to live at the Apollo. I'd see The Heartbeats, The Spaniels, The Five Satins, The Tempts, and so forth. Oh, yeah, and I can't forget The Drifters. I sang with The Drifters for a few years. They won't forgive me if I forget to mention them."
HERBERT "TOUBO" RHOAD (late baritone)
Home town: Bamberg, South Carolina
Toubo's rough-edged voice was the glue that held the original Persuasions sound together. He and Joe Russell started as part of a group called The Parisians, but, as Toubo once said, "these groups weren't doing anything worthwhile with the talent they had.They didn't want to get anywhere." Soon he and Joe hooked up with Jimmy, Jerry, and Jayotis, and as The Persuasions, they went somewhere. Through the years, Toubo was happy to sing lead on only one song: the Ray Charles hit, "You Don't Know Me." He passed away from a stroke in 1988 while on tour, but he remains an important part of The Persuasions in spirit and recorded legacy.

The late tenor sang with the group for two albums in the mid-70's, "More Than Before," and "I Just Want to Sing With My Friends," temporarily replacing Washington.


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