CD review: At Home: A Remote Lockdown Recording

Ratby Co-operative Brass Band
Musical Director: David Purkiss
World of Sound Recordings: WOS158

At a time when the effects of Covid-19 continue to impose crippling restrictions on people’s ability to enjoy making music in anything like a perceived form of normality, this uplifting release provides a much needed boost of innovative hopefulness.

The Ratby organisation supports four different types of musical ensemble; Beginner/Trainer, Junior, Mid and Senior Bands.


It’s a remarkable logistical set-up that not only provides a hub of progressive musical excellence for well over 100 players of different ages and standards, but has also seen them become a hugely important ambassador for their local community over the past 114 years.

The CD, recorded from individual remote ‘at home’ contributions before being cleverly edited and mixed by Steve Bland, produced by MDs Dave Purkiss and Kirk Turner and compiled by World of Sound, contains 14 different tracks.

The soloists in particular show that they have been using their time in isolation to good purpose, whilst the section features are different and inventive. 

They offer lots to enjoy; the variety of genres and combinations - from full band to section features and solos, Beatles and John Barry to Erik Leidzen and George Allan via 'The Little Mermaid' and Morecambe & Wise are splendidly delivered.

There is fun and vibrancy contrasting with seriousness and sensitivity.  

Busby Berkeley

The soloists in particular show that they have been using their time in isolation to good purpose, whilst the section features are different and inventive.  The ‘massed band’ finale of ‘Born Free’  is a production of Busby Berkeley standards (and good that everyone gets a mention) – and every bit as impressive.  

And even if a few of the tracks understandably seem to have a touch of electronic artifice, it takes nothing away from the remarkable spirit and commitment that is displayed. 

The result is a super release that deserves to raise bucketfuls of funds to keep the organisation prospering for many more years to come.   

Iwan Fox

To purchase: https://ratbyband.com/shop/

Play list:
1. Ein Feste Burg (Andrew Mackereth)
2. Prelude on Lavenham (Geoffrey Nobes)
Horn Section
3. Bring Me Sunshine (Sylvia Dee & Arthur Kent, arr. Simon Wood)
4. An Irish Blessing (Craig Stevens)
5. Under the Sea from ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Alan Menken)
Percussion Ensemble
6. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (Billy Joel, arr. Philip Harper) 
Trombones and Flugels
7. Manhattan (Erik Leidzen)
8. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon, arr. Steve Bland)
Back row cornet feature
9. Hey Jude (Lennon & McCartney, arr. Derek Broadbent)
10. Suite for Tuba (Mov 1) (Don Haddad)
Eb Tuba soloist: Hywel Williams
11. The Wizard (George Allan)
12. Evermore from Beauty & the Beast (Alan Menken)
Flugel soloist: Kirk Turner
13. When You Wish Upon A Star (Washington & Harline, arr. Mark Freeh
14. Born Free (John Barry, arr. Alan Catherall)
Massed Bands featuring Beginner, Junior, Mid and Senior Band

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