If you frequented Sheffield in the late Eighties you may have had a bit of a boogie at Jive Turkey, the legendary night started by Richard Barratt aka DJ Parrot, later joined by his DJ partner Winston ‘Winni’ Hazel. They were steering the course of the northern club scene well before Manchester grabbed all the attention with its infamous Hacienda and the explosion of Acid House; in addition to playing great records Jive Turkey fostered an inclusive atmosphere that wasn’t present at many other Sheffield club nights during that era.
After losing the DJing bug years back and becoming openly disillusioned with ‘the scene’, Barratt remained involved in music but not in the limelight. In recent years he’s regained his enthusiasm for creating dance music however, and has worked with fellow veterans Mick Ward and David Lewin who, along with various virtuoso singers, have helped craft the Crooked Man sound. The resulting collection of songs, some of which have previously been released as 12″ singles, is bursting with hand-in-the-air euphoria (‘Happiness’ is an irony free return to House music’s early quest for transcendence via communion on the dancefloor) and retro appeal that actually feels somehow fresh again in this era of soulless EDM domination. The sentiment isn’t all old school love and oneness though: ‘Scum (Always Rises To The Top)’ and ‘Fools And Fanatics’ drop enjoyably unsubtle hints about the current state of things (in the DJ scene? The political landscape?) that should resonate with listeners young and old.