The Album

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The Persuasions


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  chas bogle at boglepr@yahoo.com

the bare bones

This is an expanded, re-imagined, reconfigured, remixed, and re-invented interpretation of the sessions for the original, long-out-of-print 2000 single-CD album, Might as Well: The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead, realized by producer Rip Rense, who also served as project originator/coordinator and executive producer of the original album.

Said Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead lyricist and longtime writing partner of Jerry Garcia: "Ever so much better! In fact, enchanting."

Original co-producer/arranger Jerry Lawson consulted on the remake.

Rense: "The original album was an endearing document of the sessions, but I wanted it to be more than that. I thought it needed more work, production, editing, embellishment."

Persuasions of the Dead is two full CDs, with six new tracks, six new guest artists.

New: Persuasions versions of "Stella Blue," "Don't Ease Me In," "New Speedway Boogie," "Greatest Story Ever Told."

New: Persuasions versions of Grateful Dead concert staples of exploratory weirdness: "Drumz" and "Space."

New: All songs (except "Black Muddy River") have been remixed from scratch, edited, altered, including some new arrangements. All vocals have been re-auditioned and tweaked.

New: Persuasions of the Dead is now configured in the tradition of a Grateful Dead concert, with "first set" and "second set." Plus encore.

Lead singer Jerry Lawson, who left The Persuasions after 40 years in 2002, agreed to reunite with his old colleagues in order to record "Stella Blue."

The Persuasions approved and participated in the remake from the get-go, and Lawson added new vocals on two tracks.

  Said Dennis McNally, official biographer of the Grateful Dead: "The Persuasions wanted a do-over, and here it is.  New tracks, changed tracks, an altogether new version of one of the more remarkable musical encounters of the recent past - the inspired masters of blues/gospel-based a cappella singing address the music of the Grateful Dead."

Persuasions of the Dead features lead vocals by every Persuasion: Lawson, Joe Russell, Jayotis Washington, Jimmy Hayes, Raymond Sanders. 

Rense's original concept was to have instrumental soloists on a few songs. He expanded that on Persuasions of the Dead. Jackie LaBranch and Gloria Jones of the Jerry Garcia Band now brighten up seven of the album's 20 tracks.

Other brand new guest artists: the great Country Joe McDonald (vocal and harmonica), RatDog lead guitarist Mark Karan, vocalist Alyn Kelley, saxophonist James King, erhu virtuoso Dongming Qiao.

Most guest artists invited to the original sessions by original co-producer David Gans remain: Pete Grant (dobro), Peter Rowan (vocal), Eric Thompson (mandolin), the late Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick, vocal group Mary Schmary.

Country Joe McDonald, who is on two songs, had The Persuasions on his 1979 album, Leisure Suite. He is a longtime friend of The Grateful Dead, and the late Jerry Garcia played guitar on half of his album, Superstitious Blues.

Grammy Award winner Peter Rowan played with Garcia on the classic 1973 bluegrass album, Old and In the Way. Garcia recorded his "Mississippi Moon" and "Midnight Moonlight."

Guitarist Mark Karan played lead for the post-Garcia Grateful Dead configuration, The Other Ones, and has played lead guitar for Bob Weir's Ratdog since 1998.

Album is mostly a cappella---and more a cappella than the original version---yet guest instruments include: piano, mandolin, dobro, guitar, trumpet (vocal), baritone saxophone, erhu, shaker, tambourine.

Original cover art by Luis Genaro Garcia.

Longtime Persuasions fan Tom Waits gave the album its name.
Released by ZOHO Roots.  

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