A Cappella Dreams
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2004, Volume 11, #1
Written by John Metzger
In recent years, The Persuasions has released a collection of children’s music as well as tributes to Frank Zappa, The Beatles, and the Grateful Dead, and as a result, the ensemble currently is enjoying the longest string of mainstream exposure since its albums of the early ’70s. With its latest outing A Cappella Dreams, the group has returned to its roots, rearranging a variety of classic tunes from the ’50s and ’60s to suit its own unique vocal talent. Featuring a blend of soul, doo wop, and gospel, the new collection highlights The Persuasions’ otherworldly harmonies, which, quite frankly, are pure magic. Though the songs chosen for A Cappella Dreams aren’t quite as much of a stylistic stretch for the group as those on its other recent offerings have been, there are still quite a few inventive moments to be found, including a sparkling cover of Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay, a masterful take on The Four Tops’ When She Was My Girl, and a brilliant re-imagining of Solomon Burke’s I Have a Dream. The biggest problem with A Cappella Dreams is that at 15 tracks spanning 55 minutes, it’s almost too much of a good thing, and several songs are ill-fated right from the start. Let’s face it, even The Persuasions can’t save a dud like She’s a Lady, the Paul Anka tune that was popularized by Tom Jones. Still, the group couldn’t have picked a better title for its 1972 gem Street Corner Symphony, and despite the passage of over 30 years, the voices of its members are still very much intact.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box