Barratt Band

June 17, 2007


In the prog era, guitarist Norman Barratt was revered amongst British players for his work with rock band Gravy Train who released a number of albums on the Vertigo label. After getting saved he played with the Alwyn Wall band in the late ’70s before forming the Barratt Band in 1981 and recording this landmark album. Produced by Vic Coppersmith who was working with The Jam at the time, what is most surprising here is the way in which keyboards play as much of a role in the overall sound as Barratt’s guitar and gritty vocals. Recorded for the fledgling Chapel Lane record label whose studios allowed the label’s artists to invest more time in production, the results were stunning at the time. 25 years on, they’re still stunning as this album stands the test of time. Musically it’s quite a mixture from the short sharp new wave influenced “The Only One”, “Coming Of The Man” and “Bad Mean World” which all pound along in stripped down fashion. Barratt once told me that the gentle “Your Love” was simply a vehicle for an extended guitar solo where Barratt’s virtuosity is certainly demonstrated. “Not The Way” and “Playing In the City” both exploit his skill with the talk box, the latter is probably still my favourite track on the album. The album closes in almost prog fashion with two songs that are designed to be heard together. “Voice In The Night” and “Never Seen Your Face” are epic songs that look at the crucifixion and beyond but it’s the musical power of the tracks which really impresses. In the early ’80s they were a live staple, gigging all over the place and these last two songs were the climactic moment in the gigs. Normant Barratt recorded further albums but none were as impacting and stunning as this. Still powerful after all these years and now this absolute classic is re-released!

Mike Rimmer

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Audio Sample : 90 seconds


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