Jerry says that neither he, Talk of the Town, nor his former group, The Persuasions were ever Doo Wop. Julie Lawson (Jerry’s wife) says this bit of confusion was a repeated media mistake that just kept gaining inertia. And after 40 years of trying to gently correct the public, they’re a little exasperated (Julie: “If I have to explain this one more time I think I'll throw up”).
Jerry calls their style “A cappella Soul” and it’s easy to hear why. No matter what elements of Doo Wop might be present, the overarching sound is undeniably, irrepressibly soulful. It’s soulful the way Motown used to be. It’s soulful the way Gospel can be. It’s soulful even when the source material being covered wasn’t soulful to begin with.
Don Gooding of a-cappella.com and Freddie Feldman of acaTunes.com both added the category of A cappella Soul just to accommodate Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town. (As of this writing, both sites show only Jerry Lawson’s music under that category. Though, cleverly covering all bases, a-cappella.com has also allowed Persuasions recordings to be discovered under Doo Wop. )
Another obvious difference between the old 50s Doo Wop stereotypes and Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town’s A cappella Soul sound is the depth of message riding on that sound. “God’s Gift to the World” says it with lyrics like “Each one is God’s gift to the world…let’s stop killing our children… the red one, the black and the white one… the gay one, even the straight one, the yellow and the brown one…each one is God’s gift to the world…”
It’s impossible to miss Jerry Lawson’s A cappella Soul in the lyrics of “Thank God for You.”: “I thank mama for the cookin’, daddy for the whoopin’; the devil for the trouble I get into. I got to give credit where credit is due. I thank the bank for the money; thank God for you.”
For their messages of peace, of love and racial equality and freedom, we thank Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town. It’s hard to imagine a message more appropriate to A cappella Soul.
(For more information on Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town visit www.jerrylawsontalkofthetown.com)