Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music



(b Austin Lyons, '55, Point Fortin, Trinidad) Soca artist, Calypsonian, formerly known as Blue Boy. Parents from Grenada. Played tenor steel pan for six years until '78 with Point Fortin Tornadoes Steel Orchestra, tried unsuccessfully to get into a calypso tent '79; worked at sea and was nicknamed by mates, who described him as 'bluer than black'. First success 'Soca Baptist' written during a layover in Santo Domingo; record shop owner Romeo Abraham sent cassette to NYC-based Trinidadian prod. Rawlston 'Charlie' Charles, who re-recorded for his Charlie's label for '80 Trinidad Carnival season. Blue Boy performed it in Shadow's Masters Den calypso tent; Baptists of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) objected to it, exerting pressure on Dr Eric Williams, then Prime Minister; he said 'let good sense prevail': broadcast media and Carnival Development Committee banned Blue Boy and his calypso, but he won Road March contest that year (see Calypso). During off- season (i.e. after Carnival) released 12]im[ single 'Soca Spirit'; LP Soca In The Shaolin Temple made in NYC mid-'80, released for '81 Carnival and was major hit, 'Ethel' becoming Road March song, 'Unknown Band' (about his former steel band Tornadoes) performed by Catelli Trinidad All Stars, winners of that year's national steel orchestra contest (Panorama). These tracks took him to sixth place in Calypso Monarch final; same year made first UK appearance. LP Tic Tac Toe was poorly received in '82 season; off-season released 12]im[ single 'Hello'; back on form '83 with LP Super Blue Boy. Performed with Spektakula calypso tent; 'Rebecca' was performed by WITCO Desperadoes, Panorama winners; he reached third place in Calypso Monarch final with 'Rebecca' and 'Salvation'. Thundering Soca '84 on Kalico label incl. 'Lucy' and 'Fete', which took him to third place in Calypso Monarch final; 'Lucy' was Road March runner-up. Handicap in '85 was late release of The Power Within on Blue Boy label; problems with producer were reported. Headed calypso tent for the first time, a new one called Calypso Palace, but was late and didn't appear opening night; unsuccessfully promoted 'Soca Tremor' for Road March; that and 'Retreat' took him into Calypso Monarch final, but he placed last.

Calypso Palace was taken over by the musicians because of management's alleged failure to pay them; he led another new tent, the Culture House, '86; released album Blue Fever on Culture House label; appeared at Socalypso live soca festival in London '86; headed Culture House tent '87 but music from LP Jingay failed to place in contests due (he said) to its late release. T&T's Daily Express asked 'Where's Blue Boy?' 'Is just late I comin',' was answer. Promoted 'Ding Ding' from Caribbean Magic on B's during '88 season. Rumoured during '89 Carnival season that Antiguan soca star Swallow (Rupert Philo; b c'42, Willikies, Antigua) had stolen or paid Blue Boy a derisory sum for his hit 'The Man With The Pepper Sauce' (from LP On The Streets Of Brooklyn on Charlie's); both claimed in the press they had composed the tune first; Blue Boy issued his own version of 'Pepper Sauce' on a 12]im[ single backed by 'Mrs Pan'; also press gossip that Crazy (Edwin Ayoung; b c'48, Maraval Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad; mother Venezuelan, father Trinidadian of Chinese descent) had paid Blue Boy a paltry amount for his '89 Road March runner-up 'Nani Wine'; 'I never sold ''Nani Wine'' for US$10 to Crazy,' Blue Boy told Express, 'he paying me with love. I gettin' my recognition. It ent have any money transaction between Crazy and me'; in fact Crazy's mini-album Nani Wine '89 on Trinity acknowledged Blue Boy and gave him co-author credit. Also admitted '89: 'I used to deal with drugs. I'm off now.' Reinvented as Superblue, his 'Road To Italy' late '89 became unofficial theme of T&T's World Cup soccer squad. Achieved eighth position in the Calypso Monarch final '90 with 'Soccer' and 'Poom Poom' (also Road March runner-up); winning selections on Revival '90 on Street Life. Consolidated his comeback by winning Road March '91 with runaway hit 'Get Something And Wave' (from 10th Anniversary '91 on Charlie's), which 'opened a symbolic door for a shocked nation trying to recover from the 27 July '90 coup attempt', wrote Debbie Jacob; he also attained seventh place in '91 Monarch final. Jubilant 'Jab Jab' (from In The Power '92 on Street Life Pro) ran away with Road March honours '92; won calypso record and calypso album of the year at third annual Caribbean Music Awards '92 in NYC. Scored Road March hat trick (third only to Kitchener '63--5 and Tambu '88--90) with 'Bacchanal Time' (incl. on Bacchanal Time '93 on Ice), described by Mark Lyndersay as 'both deconstructivist and reconstructivist, archiving hook lines from previous hit songs, referring to breakaway jams and basing all on a rhythm line close to the root jam of early Road Marches of the '40s and '50s'.

He co-wrote 'Birthday Party' with virtuoso pannist/arr./composer Len 'Boogsie' Sharp (from Len Boogsie And Superblue '93 on Sorrel) for steel orch. Phase II Pan Groove, runner-up in Panorama final '93; both selections took him to seventh position in Calypso Monarch final. Won first National Soca Monarch contest '93 and retained crown '94, however that year's Soca Monarch runner-up Preacher (prolific composer Barnet Henry) prevented Superblue's 'Flag Party' (title track of his '94 album on Ice) becoming the first to win the coveted Road March title an unprecedented four consecutive times by pipping him to the post with Superblue sound-alike tune 'Jump Up And Wave'. He co-wrote 'Fire Coming Down' with master pannist/arr. Robert Greenidge for '94 Panorama winners WITCO Desperadoes. Lost Soca Monarch '95 to Ronnie McIntosh, who performed Superblue's 'On The Road'; regained Road March crown '95 with 'Signal For Lara' (incl. on Happy Carnival '93 on Ice), a tribute to T&T cricket star Brian Lara who broke the world batting score record '94. Retrieved renamed International Soca Monarch crown '96 with 'Bounce', which was beaten into second place in the Road March by newcomer Nigel Lewis's 'Movin' ' (incl. on collection Caribbean Dream on JW Productions). Jointly won Monarch title '97 with Ronnie McIntosh (who performed 'Ent?' from World Soca Monarch '97 on Mc D Knife), but his 'Barbara' (from Extreme Blue '97 on his own Blue Lion Int'l label) made little impact in the Road March. King Of The Road March: Greatest Hits '96 on Tattoo compiled winners and other hits '80--95.