College music department resurrects long-lost funk music

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A college music department has helped resurrect the music of a largely forgotten Philadelphia funk band and is hoping to discover more gems in its archives.

Going through thousands of donated tapes, a band called the Nat Turner Rebellion — named after the 1831 slave revolt — jumped out to listeners at Drexel University. They worked with others to assemble “Laugh to Keep From Crying,” the band’s debut album. It was recently released some 50 years after it was recorded at Sigma Sound, the studio which helped create “The Sound of Philadelphia” — the funky soul sound characterized by lush instrumental arrangements often featuring strings and horns.

Students have listened to and digitized only about 10 percent of the music in the Sigma Sound collection, and are eager to discover more gems.

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