Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Review

Nat Turner Rebellion: Laugh To Keep From Crying (Philly Groove Records)

Nat Turner Rebellion: Laugh To Keep From Crying (Philly Groove Records) REVIEW @bluesandsoul.com

10

6.1

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UK release date 14.05.2021

Crate diggers of the world relax and give yourself a break because here at B&S Towers we’ve done all the hard work for you… We have unearthed the best bare-knuckle funk and silky soul for your delectation and boy you will not be disappointed. This is a band that has absorbed Sly And The Family Stone, The Temptations and Jimi Hendrix while mixing the political ethos of Malcolm X, Huey P Newton and Martin Luther King. This assorted compilation of their finest cuts is a charming, stepping groove punctuated by choppy horns, coral electric sitar guitar and snapping drums that groove hard in the funk-filled ether.

The high level of songwriting is the first thing that will hit you and together with the lush arrangements is pleasingly sustained throughout the record, making this a great testament to Joe ‘Nat Turner’ Jefferson’s considerable gifts. Rocking funk is the order of the day with magical cuts such as “Fatback” and the driving “Right On We’re Back”, which certainly gives Sly Stone a run for his money. Even the aching balladry of “McBride’s Daughter” and “Care” doesn’t interrupt the flow of this well put together track listing.

This is sublime stuff and it begs the question, why it wasn’t more successful at the time of release? Guessing, I would imagine that maybe their name didn’t help as they were named after an insurrection that took place in 1831 led by Nat Turner, whose men killed somewhere between 55 and 65 people - 50 of whom were white. History lesson notwithstanding, this would be an ideal place for curious listeners to familiarise themselves with this band’s brilliant, yet short-lived career.
Words Emrys Baird

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