Norman Barratt 1949-2011

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Monday 1st August 2011

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. CR

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.

Reader Comments

Posted by Steven Pike in My sofa, St helens @ 00:26 on Sep 4 2014

I've already posted my comments elsewhere shortly after Norm's sad passing. I was still just 15 when I saw the Train at the Theatre Royal in, I believe, '74, '75. I'm in me late 50s now, so indulge me . . .Was the first REAL band I'd ever seen. Like listening to vinyl records, which I used to do, lying on my bedroom floor, a speaker placed at both ears . . .but for REAL! My virginal, teenage ears were ringing for hours . . .Thanks for opening up the gift, Norm

Posted by Mike Gooding in UK @ 20:00 on Apr 11 2012

Top bloke. Saw Barrett Band several times in the early eighties, and he even played a gig for us at Birmingham Uni - so gracious to put up with our near non-existant events organisation skills. His head line act at Greenbelt was momentous. Still play 'Your Love' on the guitar - it's the only one I'm capable of playing - means a lot. Thanks for the memories Norman.

Posted by Dave Smith in UK @ 18:14 on Jan 1 2012

Just seen this. What a sad loss. A brilliant guitarist and by all accounts a nice bloke. Was in contact with him briefly about a project and he was very encouraging. Rest in peace, Norman

Posted by Nigel Hill in Lancashire @ 10:24 on Aug 6 2011

Norman was one of those extraordinary people who had such a powerful musical gift but who delighted most in using that gift to the service of the Lord and in helping to support and promote others in that cause. I had the great priviledge of working with Norman on one of the Alwyn Wall albums and will never forget the warm affection that he showewd to me throughout the recording sessions. he will be missed so much by so many.

Posted by Keith Thompson in UK @ 20:09 on Aug 2 2011

Sad news. Norman was an awesome guitarist and more importantly a top bloke. He was very encouraging to me back in the early 90's. He will be missed.

Posted by Keith Dixon in London @ 16:59 on Aug 2 2011

I remember buying the Barrett Band "Playing In The City" LP when it came out not long after I became a Christian. What a God send that was! Great music that could stand up with any other music at that. I bought the CD re-issue and I will be playing it again now in honour of the man. Thank you Norman for helping me at the start of my Christian walk. Your family and friends are in our prayers and your music is playing in my head!

Posted by Andy Pratt in Amesbury MA @ 12:40 on Aug 2 2011

Rest in Peace Norman, see you in heaven
blessings to all

Andy Pratt

Posted by Dave Bainbridge in UK @ 09:07 on Aug 2 2011

Norman was a lovely, down to earth guy and a tremendous guitarist whom I had the privilege to play with a few times in the late '80's. He'll certainly be cooking up a storm now in heaven! Praying for his family at this sad time of grief and separation.

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