Rescued from the vault: Nat Turner Rebellion

Members of the Nat Turner Rebellion ride in a parade during a Harambe Festival in Springfield, Mass., in the early 1970s. Pictured from left: Major Harris, Ron Hopper, Bill Stratley and Joe Jefferson (Courtesy of Reservoir Media)

Members of the Nat Turner Rebellion ride in a parade during a Harambe Festival in Springfield, Mass., in the early 1970s. Pictured from left: Major Harris, Ron Hopper, Bill Stratley and Joe Jefferson (Courtesy of Reservoir Media)


Fifty years ago, the band Nat Turner Rebellion made a funky album in Philadelphia that could have been a total classic. The band had a record deal, fans and, according to founder Joe Jefferson the members were “crowd killers.” But then, it all fell apart and the album has been pretty much buried in audio archives — until now.

Nat Turner Rebellion’s debut, Laugh to Keep from Crying, was recently released for the first time. We heard the story of Nat Turner Rebellion on WHYY, our fellow public radio station here in Philadelphia where we make World Cafe, and we really wanted to share it with you on the Cafe. The story is told by WHYY arts reporter Peter Crimmins, listen in the player.

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