Various Artists – ‘Fac.Dance 02 – Factory Records 12” Mixes and Rarities 1980-1987’ – (Strut)

This is a fascinating and vital release that documents some of the finest moments in the life of a fledgling label. Tony Wilson wasn’t a man to go for out and out dance music, but what that means is that all the tracks included here can be listened to as well structured mixes on top of their dancing appeal. There are some obscurities here, make no mistake – but the majestic, saxophone-led ‘Blue Roses’ from Dutch group Minny Pops is an early winner, as is the dubby Thick Pigeon track ‘Babcock + Wilcox’. A couple of heavyweight floor fillers open the second CD, with 52nd Street’s ‘Can’t Afford’, produced by New Order’s Stephen Morris, an early forerunner of ‘Fine Time’, and Nyam Nyam’s ‘Fate’, produced by Peter Hook, another keyboard-led blockbuster. Add to all this the familiar names of A Certain Ratio, the Durutti Column and ESG and some copious sleeve notes, and you have that ideal combination – a historical document that entertains!

5 out of 5

Reviewed By Ben Hogwood