Machel Montano has ruled soca music like a boss for a decade now, but the adulation he receives today is nothing compared to the mania once induced by the genre’s original people’s champ, Austin “Super Blue” Lyons. Originally known as Blue Boy, the father of present-day soca stars Fay-Ann and Terri Lyons first came on the scene in 1980 with “Soca Baptist,” an early hit inspired by Trinidad’s Shouter Baptists, a major influence on Super Blue’s musical style.
Lyons remained a staple presence through the following decade but it was in the early 1990s, when he re-branded himself Super Blue and ushered in the Jump and Wave era of soca with 1991’s “Get Something and Wave,” that he truly became legend. Soca and Super Blue were one and the same in the first half of the 1990s. The growth experienced by the genre at this time led to the creation of the first International Soca Monarch competition in 1993, which Super Blue naturally won with “Bacchanal Time.”
He would go on to win a record seven titles at the competition, soca’s most prestigious event. His greatest moment on the competitive circuit would come three years later, in 1996, when he won the Soca Monarch title with “Bounce.” Super Blue would disappear from the scene a few years later, battling drug addiction and other demons, but still was at the top of his game when he took the stage on “Fantastic Friday” in ’96. There is only limited documentation of soca’s early days, but fortunately a rather incredible video of Super Blue from the ’96 Soca Monarch competition exists, showcasing the artist in what was possibly his and soca’s most triumphant moment.
The groove plays for almost a minute before Super Blue is heard from amidst the mass of bodies jumping and down on stage.Watching the clip, it looks as if all of Trinidad was on there on stage with him; even in his trademark blue robe it takes quite a while to spot him. The expression among the revelers is one of pure ecstasy. It’s hard to imagine any entrant at this year’s Soca Monarch competition, happening tomorrow night at Queen’s Park Savannah, eliciting this kind of response, or one song connecting with the whole audience so thoroughly. If you love soca music, this is required viewing.