The Persuasions were an a cappella group who began singing together in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1960s. The five original members were Jerry Lawson, Joe Russell, Jayotis Washington, Herbert Rhoad, and Jimmy Hayes. They had recorded a few tracks for Catamount Records a small label run from a local record store. Their friend, and soon to be producer, David Dashev phoned Zappa “you’ve got to hear this.” Zappa having auditioned them over the phone flew them to Los Angeles to record an album for his Straight Records label. A Capella (Straight RS 6394) was released in 1970 with Herb Cohen credited as Executive Producer and cover design by John Williams but Zappa had no part in the recording. In October of that year The Persuasions were the support act for Zappa's concerts at Virginia Beach and Carnegie Hall.
The group only recorded the one album for Straight but would go on to record numerous albums with other labels.
They participated in the Zappa's Universe in 1991 and performed in a concert of Zappa's music with Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra in 1996.
In 2000 they released a tribute to Zappa: The Persuasions sing Zappa - Frankly A Capella (Earthbeat records r2 798320) which featured Zappa regulars Bruce Fowler, Mike Keneally, Robert Martin and included versions of Lumpy Gravy, Any Way The Wind Blows, Electric Aunt Jemima, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, Cheap Thrills, Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel, Love Of My Life, You Are What You Is, Harder Than Your Husband, Find Her Finer, My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama, Tears Began To Fall.