Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rough Trade - Smooth Music

Late in 1982 I purchased a cassette compilation called '1982 Up In Lights'. One of the stand out tracks on it was a song called 'All Touch' by the group Rough Trade. It was a stand out track on a compilation of stand out tracks. But I remember thinking who were Rough Trade, and is that a female or male lead vocalist. I couldn't recall seeing the music video, and it was only 20 years later during a late night repeat of an old Countdown episode on the ABC's Rage program, that I caught Molly Meldrum predicting big things for this track on the charts and showing a 15 second snippet of the music video.

Sadly the song didn't reach great heights on the Australian singles charts, stalling at #40, but what it lacked in altitude on the charts it more than made up for in endurance, spending a whopping 40 weeks inside the top 100. This was before the days of nationwide syndicated radio networks, pay television, and the internet. So it wasn't uncommon for a song to be a hit in one part of the country 6 months after it had departed the charts in another. Which begs the question had everyone in Australia caught on at once, how high would 'All Touch' have reached?

On the question of female or male vocalist, the answer came in the liner notes to 'The Best Of Rough Trade - Birds Of A Feather' CD I imported from Canada a few years ago, for Canadian is this bands origin. Or I should say duo, husband and wife team of Carole Pope and Kevan Staples. And yes it is Carole belting out that rather sultry tone. They started out as a folk duo called O in 1968. They expanded their lineup as Rough Trade during the 70s but at their core remained the creative drive of Pope and Staples. I don't have any information on where the song 'All Touch' reached on the Canadian charts but it peaked at #58 in the U.S. in early '83.

The promo clip for 'All Touch' can be viewed here:

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