Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Questionable Selection?

We covered A Craze in 2016 and Tracie Young in 2017 more or less unscathed. Do I dare press my luck with a third act from Paul Weller's Respond Records? Sure. The Questions were out of Edinburgh, and they had a couple of singles on legendary local label Zoom Records (early home to Simple Minds) in the late '70s. The band opened for the Jam when they came through Edinburgh in 1980, as well as a few other places, and Weller thought they fit well with the "new Motown" plan he envisioned for Respond. Like Tracie, A Craze and others in the Respond stable, Weller was actively involved with the Questions early on, producing first single "Work and Play" in 1982. The Questions would have five more singles between '82 and '84, as well as long player 'Belief'. Although the Questions would never produce a commercial hit, band mates Paul Barry and John Robinson did write a few songs for Tracie, including the '83 smash "The House That Jack Built", Respond's high-water mark.

This won't be for everybody, but I still enjoy the sophisti-pop singles surrounding the '84 album 'Belief'. I'm going to save my favorite for the letter Q in my vinyl-ripping series, which at the rate I'm progressing means you'll get to hear that one in late 2020. For today, here is a double-A sided single I have as a 12". Warning: "Belief" is an extended mix. Therefore, the bells and whistles of the time can and will take you back 34 years.

A Month of Sundays
Belief (Don't Give It Up) (Extended Mix)


The Swede said...

'A Month of Sundays' sounds like it could be a discarded work-in-progress Paul Weller song of the period. Did the guv'nor write it or was it The Questions writing in the style of?

Brian said...

Hey Swede. Hope you’re doing well. Written by the same two lads mentioned above, but most of the bands on Respond had at least some similarity to the Jam at the end or early Style Council. Good call.

Echorich said...

I have everything The Questions released. Of the entire Respond stable, The Questions, along with anything Vaughn Toulouse was attached to, was what I really liked.
The Questions sound had to have had a huge influence on The Style Council. Some of their songs are a mirror to familiar TSC tracks. But if you are going to build a House of Music, it has to have a signature - Respond fulfilled that brief.
The Questions track that I always go back to is Tuesday Sunshine. In an era where pretty boys Wham! were managing to rise to the top, it's a true shame The Questions didn't break into the charts.

Echorich said...

Oops, forgot to list the Fractured Funk of their cover of Heatwaves Groove Line...It's tough and tight. Got that very dark and rubbery Post Punk Funk bass anchoring it like super glue.

Brian said...

I thought I might hear from you on this one, Echorich, but I didn't know you were into Vaughn Toulouse as well. VT might have to dusted off next, but we would be the only two who would care. Ha! Perhaps a 10-track Respond ICA might be in order to get everyone on board, eh? As for Tuesday Sunshine, it's a real stunner, but that's not actually the single I'm holding onto for later.

Judge Pop said...

I was a massive Jam & Style Council fan so bought some of the respond stuff too but it has pretty stayed in the box ever since I'm afraid. Unlike The Au Pairs' Playing With A Different Sex which is a true classic and still comes out to play about once a year I'd say.

Brian said...

Hi JP. Hope all is well with you and your family. I like some of the Respond stuff, but I agree the difference in quality between the bands Weller brought in and Weller’s bands is night and day.

Swiss Adam said...

This post is exactly what blogging is all about.

JC said...

Hi mate.

Remember Me????

It was about this time last year that I had a wee bit of a crisis and stopped reading anyone's else blogs. I'm dead sorry. But I'll be hanging around for a few hours to catch up....hope you don't mind. I might even leave a few comments!!!

As you might imagine, I caught The Questions live on a few occasions, sometimes as support to The Jam and sometimes as headliners. They were decent enough and I did have a couple of singles back in the day which were 'lost' along with hundreds of others in a shambolic episode in the mid 80s. Good to hear this again, and it really is a close cousin to much of the TSC output.