May 15, 2012
Joe Russell's obit.
Los Angeles Times:
"Sweet Joe" Russell, who spent half a century harmonizing with the Persuasions, an influential vocal group widely regarded as the "kings of a cappella," has died. He was 72. Russell died May 5 in a Brooklyn hospice after a long struggle with diabetes, said his wife, Arlena.
"If the Persuasions were a single body, Joe was the heart and soul," said David Dashev, who was their manager and producer in the 1970s at the height of their fame. "He had a larger-than-life personality combined with a genius voice." He was a tenor who occasionally sang falsetto and sometimes the lead, including on the Persuasions' version of "Papa Oom Mow Mow" that was featured in the 1982 film "E.T."
Joseph Jessie Russell was born Sept. 25, 1939, in Henderson, N.C., to gospel singer Jettie Russell and her husband, Joseph. In the 1950s, young Joe picked cotton in North Carolina and later said the days went faster when he sang with co-workers. For much of his life, Russell also worked as a butcher.
Russell last appeared with the Persuasions late last year. The group plans to continue with a permanent replacement, Hayes said.
In addition to Arlena, his wife of 24 years, Russell is survived by three daughters, Patronia, Keisha and Sandra; two sons, Joseph and Aron; 11 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. "Sweet Joe" always said he was given the nickname by singer Aretha Franklin when they were talking about sweet potato pie, according to his wife.
"He was happy-go-lucky," she said, "and matched up to his name." Read complete obituary here.
Posted by acapnews at May 15, 2012 10:43 PM