The Persuasions

Collectables Classics [Box Set]

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First recorded by Frank Zappa, the Persuasions almost single-handedly kept the concept of a cappella group singing alive in the pop world in the '70s and their recorded work was never less than delightful as they stripped classic pop, gospel and soul songs down to their vocal roots and then built them back up into little doo wop symphonies. This four-disc, 41-track box from Collectables Records brings together the group's three early-'70s albums for Capitol Records -- 1971's We Came to Play and 1972's Street Corner Symphony and Spread the Word -- along with 1977's Chirpin' from Elektra Records, to make a decent introduction to the Persuasions early output. With nary an instrument in sight, the Persuasions present joyously reconstructed vocal arrangements of songs as diverse as Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang," Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" and the Rivingtons' "Papa Oom Mow Mow," transforming each into the Persuasions' a cappella universe in intriguing ways. "Tempts Jam," a medley of various Temptations hits, is not to be missed. The heavy black box packaging might be overkill here, since all Collectables has done is reissue these four albums straight-up with no bonus or added material.

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