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Key figure in UK Christian music Norman Barratt dies
ONE OF THE seminal figures in the development of UK Christian music, guitarist, singer and songwriter Norman Barratt, has died aged 61. He died after suffering severe post-surgery complications. Born in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire on 5th February 1949, Norman rose to prominence with the mainstream band Gravy Train who were signed to Vertigo and released two albums then two with Dawn Records. With the breakup of Gravy Train Barratt began working with Christian acts such as The Mighty Flyers before joining the Alwyn Wall Band in 1976. The band recorded one album for Word and toured with America's Larry Norman. By 1980 Norman had formed the Barrett Band who recorded 'Playing In The City' for Chapel Lane in 1981 and toured extensively. In 1983 the Barratt Band released their second album, 'Voice'.
Following the break-up of the Barratt Band, Norman set out on innumerable tours and recording sessions in both Europe and the United States, for artists such as Jessy Dixon, Steve Camp, Sheila Walsh, Phil Keaggy, Steve Taylor, Debbie Boone, Cliff Richard and Barry McGuire.
After working on the album 'Rock For All Ages' with keyboard player Dave Morris, Barratt began to concentrate on playing in the worship band at his local church, and on sessions work for artists such as Paul Young and Andy Pratt. He also produced albums for Glasgow's Triumph and Germany's Creed.
In 1988, Kingsway released the solo 'Barratt' album though most of the stock was destroyed in a warehouse fire in Carlisle. In the late 1980s, Barratt became aware of problems with his eyesight, caused by developing cataracts in both eyes, and he was forced to reduce his workload considerably. During this lay-off period he says that he received a prophecy and a calling from God to start a new music production company. He therefore created Daval Music Limited, and put a recording studio together. He then produced further recordings by Alwyn Wall, the Jessy Dixon Roots Blues album, and helped to develop new Christian artists such as Sally Williamson and Jan Wall. He wrote and recorded a 35th anniversary Gravy Train reunion album and recorded songs for new Barratt Band and Alwyn Wall Band albums.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.