After 40 years and 20 plus albums Jerry Lawson, original lead singer, arranger and producer of the legendary a cappella group The Persuasions has moved on. The man who led the celebrated quintet – and recorded and toured with numerous artists such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, Joni Mitchell and Frank Zappa – is heading in many new directions. “I left the Persuasions in order to perform and record the tunes I love with instruments. I’m singing Jazz Standards, traditional Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Country and many beautiful songs that deserve nothing less than a full orchestra.”
Anyone who has been privileged to experience The Persuasions knows that their signature sound was defined by Lawson’s sweet and smoky baritone. As music writer Rip Rense put it: “By any fair measure Lawson is really one of the best singers of the last fifty years—up there with Sam Cooke, David Ruffin, Brook Benton, Jerry Butler, Roy Hamilton & Nat King Cole.”In 2003 after decades of preserving the dying art and recording twenty five a cappella albums Jerry left the group ending their 40 year run.
He thought he was through with a cappella. Big Bands and orchestras beckoned. He began preparing to record an album of standards with The Moscow Philharmonic when fate revealed other plans. Along came a San Francisco based a cappella group who honed their skills from years of studying, you guessed it, Jerry’s arrangements with The Persuasions. When they sang Paper Doll for him he was sold and Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town were born. When Hurricane Katrina hit Rod Stewart asked if Jerry and Talk of the Town would sing People Get Ready with him on the fundraiser for the survivors. Later Talk of the Town joined Jerry when he was featured on several episodes of NBC’s The Sing Off in addition to a children’s show on the Nickelodeon network. Then in 2007 he and his wife formed Lawson Productions. Their first project turned out to be what Jerry feels is the masterpiece of his a cappella career. “Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town”. Twenty songs, an hour of music and a 20 page booklet of extensive liner notes. And though Jerry is concentrating on touring, performing, producing arrangements for vocal groups, recording with bands and orchestras in addition to collaborating with other artists he will always welcome the opportunity to perform with Talk of the Town and include them on as many projects as possible.
In 2014 Jerry was approached by long time admirer Eric Brace, himself a musician, songwriter and owner of East Nashville’s Red Beet Records. Eric asked Jerry if he’d record a couple of tunes on his new project and fo course Jerry was happy to participate. But when they got into the studio Eric was so taken by Jerry’s interpretations that he scratched the idea of it being an Eric Brace album and insisted on making it a Jerry Lawson album. Jerry’s debut as a solo artist with instruments finally became a reality. Just about as soon as it was released in April 2015 Just a Mortal Man was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Joel Rose and in The Wall Street Journal.
Bringing ‘Good Times’ To Modern Music
By now some of you may have heard about DJ/Producer Jamie XX sampling Jerry’s 1971 recording of a song titled “Good Times” from the classic Persuasions’ album titled Street Corner Symphony. This song featuring Jerry’s signature voice is now a huge hit globally for Jamie XX. “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)“. For a limited time you can download Jerry’s recording in it’s entirety below. “Good Times” for free. Whether you’re a long time fan or hearing Jerry for the first time thanks to Jamie XX’s new song, we hope you enjoy the original track available below as a free MP3 download. We hope you are inspired to explore Jerry’s extensive catalog. He will also be adding more of his recordings to his online shop here in the weeks to come.Download 'Good Times' for free