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In the early 1960s, the five singers who called themselves the Persuasions were trying to get gigs. But every time they got a booking, the musicians — guitarists, bassist, and drummer – whom they had hired to play behind them would never appear.

“Those guys in the band never showed,” recalls Jimmy Hayes, who sings bass for the Persuasions. “Never, not for one gig. Finally, we decided we didn’t need a band.”

Good call. For nearly 50 years, the Persuasions have been hailed as one of the premiere a cappella groups in rock. Later vocal acts – Rockapella, Take 6, and Boyz II Men, among others – all cite the Persuasions as role models.

The Persuasions, who play the Historic Blairstown Theatre this Saturday, currently consists of two original members: Hayes as bass and Jesse “Sweet Joe” Russell as second tenor. The other voices belong to Ray Sanders and Bernard “B.J.” Jones (who have been singing with the Persuasions for more than a decade) and Dave Revels, who has also been the group’s arranger and producer since 2009.

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