Ruby Trax: ‘FAC51: The Hacienda 1982’

❉ One of the most wide-ranging and enjoyable compilations that you are likely to hear, writes James Collingwood.

“Well you’ve blown it now. You’ll never see the hacienda. It doesn’t exist anywhere. The hacienda must be built.” 

— Extract from the Situationist essay ‘Formula for a New City’ by Gilles Ivain

On Friday 21 May 1982 the tightly-guarded top-secret ‘FAC51 project’ came to fruition and opened its doors to the public for the first time. Planned and financed by Rob Gretton, Tony Wilson and New Order and designed by Ben Kelly this converted yacht warehouse (with its innovatively designed dancefloor and bars named after Cambridge spies) arose from nowhere like the bizarre situationist cultural experiment befitting its name. That name was the Hacienda, and within the Hacienda would become one of the most famous and iconic venues in music history, regularly packed with a happy, chemically-enhanced crowd and become the centre of British dance music culture for the next decade.

FAC51: The Hacendia 1982, a new compilation from Cherry Red Records, celebrates the ruby anniversary of that opening and represents the music that was played to the Hacienda clubgoers in that first year as well as music from the bands that gigged there. Music that was edgy and forward-looking. Music that looked to the future more than to the past. With sixty tracks over four CDs, It’s one of the most wide-ranging and enjoyable compilations that you are likely to hear .

Opening with an extended version of Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream and ending with Dexys Midnight Runners’ universal floor filler Come On Eileen, each CD is sequenced as a live DJ set in the club would be, encompassing reggae, punk, soul and hip hop as well as the New Pop of the era. It includes B sides, 12” versions and dancefloor remixes. To give you a sense of the variety on here – Disc one opens with “Cool Ruler” Gregory Isaacs’ instrumental version of Night Nurse whilst Disc three opens with a thrilling Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power-era track, I’m Sick Of You. The Disc four opener is the Joy Division-influenced Falling by the recently solo Jah Wobble.

It can’t be denied that 1982 was a glorious year for music and everything is represented here. The burgeoning hip hop scene has the classics The Message and Apache (both 12-inch versions). The disc subtitled “New Pop” features extended mixes from ABC, The Associates and Culture Club and “Soul” has the brilliant Temptations track Ball of Temptation and the Valentine Brothers original Money’s Too Tight To Mention (The Hacienda was probably where Hucknall first heard it!)

There’s no New Order (Peter Hook implies this is a result of his fall out with the rest of the band) but local Manchester bands are represented by the Fall (a bizarre track referencing Lord Haw Haw), the funky A Certain Ratio, Stockholm Monsters and Swamp Children among others. There’s also a strong representation from scouse bands. Royal Family and the Poor Art on 45 (with bass player Nathan McGough) is brilliant as are classics from the Teardrops and Bunnymen, a gothy Dead or Alive B side and the magnificent Thank You by Michael Head’s the Pale Fountains.

The more experimental tracks are also fascinating. Thomas Dolby’s classic hit Windpower is probably one of the only hits to sample the weather forecast, ImpLog Holland Tunnel Drive is just bizarre, and 23 Skidoo’s The Gospel Comes To New Guinea is a brilliant experimental masterpiece and a big favourite with the clubgoers. The Anglo-German band Liaisons Dangereuses, meanwhile, points at the directions that dance music would go in the next few years.

The boxset is well packaged and includes sleeve notes by Peter Hook, journalist Mike Middles and Hacienda DJ Hewan Clarke and pictures of performances. Detailed notes are provided on all the tracks if you want to find out more about the likes of Quando Quango or Hey! Elastica. It really is one of the best compilations around.

❉ Various Artists: ‘The Hacienda 1982’ (Cherry Red CRCDBOX132) 4CD Book Set was released by Cherry Red Group on 25 November 2022, RRP £37.99. Click here to order directly from Cherry Red Records. Cherry Red Records have been releasing and reissuing the most innovative and independent thinking music since 1978. Follow them on Twitter or visit their site.

 James Collingwood is based in West Yorkshire and has been writing for a number of years. He currently also writes for the Bradford Review magazine for which he has conducted more than 30 interviews and has covered music, film and theatre.  His Twitter is @JamesCollingwo1

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