Reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
This package is a treat for all those with a misty-eyed persuasion towards a certain legendary nightclub in Manchester. Opened by Rob Gretton and Tony Wilson under the auspices of Factory Records, The Haçienda turns 40 this year, and the anniversary has been marked by Cherry Red with a handsome 4CD set and book documenting the occasion.
The prime objective is to document the club’s open music policy, and this happens across a rich array of 65 tracks, covering almost every style capable of making people dance in 1982.
What’s the music like?
Extremely varied, and in the best possible way. There really is something for everyone here, and not just from 1982, though most of the selections are from then.
The open door policy is best illustrated from the choices that run from Suicide‘s peerless Dream Baby Dream right through to Dexys Midnight Runners‘ Come On Eileen. The latter is one of several massive hits of the time we get to hear as the compilation unfolds, with biggies from Shalamar, Simple Minds, ABC, Blancmange and Tears For Fears – as well as legendary articles from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (The Message), Sugarhill Gang (Apache) and Edwin Starr (War).
Slowing things down a bit, there is some wonderful downtempo stuff from Gregory Isaacs (Night Nurse) and the heart-melting Love Has Found Its Way from Dennis Brown. Moving slightly quicker are the funky asides of Chaz Jankel (Glad To Know You) and the excellent Fiat Lux (Feels Like Winter Again), not to mention 23 Skidoo‘s The Gospel Comes To New Guinea.
Meanwhile the darkness of the club is also in evidence, with some tunes destined for the shadowy corners to come alive. Falling into this category is much of the third disc, which begins with Iggy & The Stooges‘ I’m Sick Of You and develops with John Cooper Clarke‘s Night People, Stockholm Monsters and Josef K.
Does it all work?
It does – the wide range of music means that the broad canvas of music in Manchester at that time is fully represented. There is room for humour, too – the theme music for Thunderbirds making an appearance in its legendary original recording from The Barry Gray Orchestra!
Is it recommended?
Wholeheartedly – thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, and a musical education to boot.
You can buy the compilation from the Cherry Red Records website