What would you say was the major achievement by TOUCH?
Members of the band Touch in 1990. From left: Julius Williams, Gideon James, Brian Alexander, Godfrey Dublin, Willis Williams, and Ifil Shortte
June 21, 2023

What would you say was the major achievement by TOUCH?

by Cleve Scott

The musical band TOUCH was founded in 1984 by Bryan “Paper” Alexander.  In 2001, the band agreed to commence the process of collecting popular memories from its fans, industry insiders, and its family members including their spouses.  Shortly afterwards, an oral history project was launched using interviewers Maxian Harry, Halimah DeShong (later Dr.), Saskia Sutherland and Carmel Haynes in Barbados.

In this piece, I want to share some of the memories of those interviewees who have since passed.  The purpose is for readers to appreciate the TOUCH legacy and to invite them to continue being part of it.  The question posed to each interviewee was:  What would say was the major achievement of the band TOUCH?

Here are the responses of:

(1) Glen Jackson, who was a major show promoter;

(2) Ashley “B.T.” Marksman, who was a legendary drummer and member of the band X-Adus; and

(3) Adrian “Boo” Husbands, who was the founder and leader of the Barbados musical band COALITION / COALISHUN.


Interview with Glen Jackson (by Max Harry)

Glen: I don’t think anybody in St Vincent and the Grenadines could look back now and the kind of criticisms that they used to get, I mean I recall, for instance, Touch used to do a lot of promotional work on the radio.  They would pay the radio station – 705 at the time – a lot of money to promote their album and they get a lot of licks for that, but that is what business is about.  Touch was ahead of the times, let me make that point, ahead of the times. When Touch brought the drum machine to St Vincent – I think they were probably the first band [in St. Vincent] to move to that – everybody watched them and asked wait these guys are miming, lip-synching because they brought a set of cordless microphones which connected to – you know – to your head so you don’t have to hold up no mic.


Interview with Ashley “B.T.” Marksman (by Max Harry)

B.T.: TOUCH major achievement was [ahem] well it’s there on record.  They have the road-march, you can’t take it away from them.  Those men were king of the road.  I tried to create a song one year, “King of the Road” that was actually getting at TOUCH.  TOUCH was really a remarkable Band.

Interview with Adrian “Boo” Husbands –(by Carmel Haynes)

Boo: I think from a St. Vincent perspective, that they would have been icons in a kind of a way for young musicians coming up; and I think that they also provided opportunities for a lot of apprentices to pass through the ranks in terms of jamming and that sort of thing.  They always had a lot of young people around, who I believe went on to form groups and other things, but I believe that those guys were seriously inspired by Touch.  They also, they maintained a standard, and the musicians were able to maintain a decent standard of living, that said you could be a musician and be decent, and be well respected at the same time, which I think in the context of these little islands is very important, that musicians be seen not so much as people that could only do music because they couldn’t do anything else, but rather, could do music well and anything else that they put their minds to doing.  That is what I believe.
Carmel: Their major achievement?  Boo: The proliferation of compositions and good compositions [be]cause they had good song writers.  Ifill Shortte is one of the best storytellers in the region as far as I am concerned.  Ifill Shortte, you know Ifill Shortte.


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