The 1983 Love The Reason compilation from the Respond label has been spinning on my deck the past week. There are some precious gems on there and no mistake. My personal favourites today would be that Big Sound Authority cut and the gorgeous ‘Give It Some Emotion’ single by Tracie. Of course that particular number was penned by A Craze, whose Such Bliss compilation was recently brought to my attention by Kevin from the wonderful Your Heart Out and The London Nobody Sings blogs. Now Kevin will be the one to tell you the stories of the Respond records artistes with much greater authority than I ever could, but let’s just point out here that acts like A Craze and The Questions were ones poised at a perfect moment in time casting connections back into the punk and ‘new wave’ explosions yet also bringing in the influences of jazz, soul and ‘easy listening’ to such great effect.
There is a lovely interview with Robin Millar on the Strawberry Switchblade website that makes some of those connections, taking in the likes of Sade, Fine Young Cannibals, Everything But The Girl, Weekend, Working Week and Vic Godard. Millar makes a great point about some of those artists and records becoming ‘coffee table’ records after the fact. He suggests that had they sold in paltry numbers they would instead have been thought of as quirky and strange. It is so true.
But back to Love The Reason, and check out Weller’s ridiculously rousing sleevenotes that make marvellously skewed sense of the “teenarama myth”. Remember those days of the Cappuccino Kid? Weller possessed by a spirit of Colin Macinnes. Flicking back now they seem ridiculously stylised and stylishly ridiculous, but I have no problem with that for they were madly of their time. And as we know context is everything after all.
There is passion and madness in these recordings. The madness of being in the maelstrom of creation; the passion of youth and hope. Keep the faith, indeed.