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By Miranda La Rose Thursday, February 14 2013

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It came as no surprise that soca master Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons’ “Fantastic Friday” had trumped younger rival Machel Montano’s “Float” for this year’s national Carnival Road March crown with an overwhelming 511 plays at venues across the country on Carnival Tuesday.

Montano could only muster 56 plays.

Lyons also ruled the road in the Downtown Carnival Road March, of the Port-of-Spain City Council, with 106 plays to Montano’s 23.

“Fantastic Friday” was a hit not only with adult bands but the children parades held across the country before Carnival Tuesday’s Parade of the Bands. Reacting to the win, which makes him a nine-time champion, Lyons told Newsday yesterday, “It is a fantastic, phenomenal, awesome, great feeling. I had an ‘mmm!’ that something special was going to happen. This is just the beginning.”

Lyons already has two songs complete and ready for release whenever he chooses.

“Long time ago, if I had this win, I would have jumped on a plane and go and celebrate somewhere. I can’t do that now. This is something I have to share,” he said.

He continued, “I owe it to represent the country. I have to let good sense prevail. I will use this opportunity to spread the good news of soca.”

How was he going to celebrate his 2013 victory? Lyons, 56 said, “I am celebrating everyday. I wake up with God on my mind after realising at 50 years that God has breathed life back into me, and I have a second chance to succeed.”

On whipping Montano, three-time winner of the Road March into a distant second place, Lyons said, “Machel is a very good artiste. I respect him.” Lyons was interviewed after meeting with the management of the sponsors of the Road March, 105.1 FM Vibe City Radio, to discuss his prize, a car.

The results were not released at a press conference as was done in the past, but through a press release from

the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) — the organiser of the annual national Road March.

The judging points were done in Port-of-Spain at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Adam Smith Square, Piccadilly Greens, and South Quay, and also at Arima, San Fernando and Tobago.

Lyons’ power hit was the most played song of a road march over the past three years and is believed to be the most played ever. JW and Blaze’s “Palance” has the second highest plays in recent times with a total of 417 in 2010.

Lyons’ victory also makes him only the second artiste to win the Road March nine times, with the late Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) holding the record of ten victories. Slinger Francisco, best known as The Mighty Sparrow, held the title eight times.

Lyons first won the Road March in 1980 when he sang under the sobriquet “Blue Boy.”

His last victory was a tie with Iwer George in 2000 when he renamed himself “Superblue.” He now goes by “SuperBlue.”

Asked how he feels being among the two celebrated icons of calypso, Lyons said, “I’m honoured and humbled. I have learnt so much from the Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener.”

“I still pay much respect to Sparrow and Lord Kitchener. It is because of the Mighty Sparrow,” he said, “that I am singing soca.” Years ago, Lyons became inspired to sing after seeing Sparrow in concert at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“I sat watching the Mighty Sparrow singing calypsos for half an hour straight,” Lyons said. “After that I walked into the dressing room, and told him, ‘I never in my life could top that. I would be singing soca from now on.’”

How did he make such a successful comeback after an absence of 13 years? Lyons said with the support of, “God, my children Fay Ann, Terry and Bunji (son-in-law, Ian Alvarez), grandchildren, Gregory Fernandes, Charles Ollivierre, Julio, Saucy Wow (Denise Belfon), Ghetto Flex (Hilton Dalzell), William Munroe and many people. Not one person,” he said.

They believed in him and encouraged his return, he said.

He continued, “I had the assistance of unseen angels. I always like to believe in prayers to achieve the best, and to leave it in God’s hands, regardless of what people think.”

His victory this Carnival season, having shared the International Power Soca Monarch crown with Montano, in the finals at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain on Carnival Friday, and now winning the Road March outright, Lyons said, “It is God’s work. I can’t explain it.”

Speaking about opening his Soca Monarch performance of “Fantastic Friday” with the late Ras Shorty I’s (Garfield Sobers) anti-drugs anthem “Watch Out My Children”, Lyons said the act was a warning to children and people in general to guard against substance abuse and a life of crime.

“I want to warn them against substance abuse, drugs, marijuana, guns... What goes in them is what comes out. Be aware of that,” he said.

Speaking philosophically, Lyons said, “when you’re young you can do anything, and the things you want to do. In life, it is not the things you want, it is about the things you need.”

“No one,” he said, “tells you it is a nice, straight long road and no corners to cross.”

Noting that “Fantastic Friday” made no mention of the wining usually associated with Road March songs, Lyons said with a smile, “Something told me, ‘God is watching you’.”

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