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Soul Express Disco

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years ago

The origination

Soul Express (also known in some quarters as Sexpress due to the girlie element of some crew members) originated in and operated from Franklin Town East Kingston Jamaica, not far from Arrows “The Ambassador” Sound System. (Both crews were well acquainted).


Soul Express was founded by three school friends Vassel , Noel (Skinner aka Rocker) Smith and Carlton (Carly) Livingston in the early 1970s. They initially used the name Fantastic Three Disco and played a variety of music for a wide cross section of the population. Prior to the mid 70's, a rethinking brought about a change of name, and Soul Express Disco was born.


A core of Singers and Mikemen (DJs)were attached to the set, but depending on the type and size of the dance a host of additional entertainers would "hold the mike" at the control tower, splurting lyrics in turn as Skinner cranked up the wailing mid (including three steel horns) and crisp top end section before dropping anchor with the three pieces of 10KT (weight) power amps (the entire amp range was home made). In the working class areas the crowd would respond with loud appreciation and sometimes a salute, or salutes would follow as the six black painted aluminum stripped double eighteen and two double fifteen boxes standing over 5ft tall and strategically positioned in the lawn or yard coughed up deep rumblings at the command of the operator.


In those days the reverb spring was the main sound effect for most soundmen, but Skinner, being an electronic engineer built and altered a tremolo and vibrato unit to create a different dimension of sound. It was quite interesting. Listening to Express (as it was affectionately called) was an experience. In between the reverb slashes and the operator toying with the bass mid & treble controls to create a vibe, would come a DJ chanting “played by Pupa Express alone from Eastern Kingston” (reverb splash). A hardcore Dubplate special (raw original dub – no real vocal except possibly for the mention of the sound’s name at the intro.) would then follow to loud acclaim and salute.


The members of Soul Express

The regular crew

Engineer /selector/ Operator: Noel (Skinner aka Rocker)

Selector/ Operator: Raphael (aka Dragon, went on to own, engineer and operate Dragon Hi Fi)

Stevie (went on to own, engineer and operate Leo Hi Power)


Supporting members

Promoter: Mr Powell (aka Pow Pow & Daddy Pow)

Lee (aka Fire lee)

Gary, Romeo & Foota (boxmen)



These where the mikemen and MC's that were included at one point or another;

Johnny Ringo (who went on tour with and became the main Mikeman for Gemini “The Immortal” Disco, also featured earlier on Ripa-Tone Hi-Fi)

Lone Ranger (who went on to join Soul 2 Soul Disco and later Virgo Hi Fi)

Little U (was a very promising young mikeman)

Oh Lord (a fast talking DJ who could step up to a clash)

Snakey aka Sammy & Samuel (had a similar style to that of the late great Nicodemus)

Welton Irie (went on to the helm at Gemini “The Immortal” Disco, also featured on Sterophonic and earlier on Ripa-Tone Hi-Fi)




Carlton Livingston,

Although Carlton is better known as a vocalist, he actually started as a Mikeman (DJ) on Soul Express before transforming his talents to singing, this resulted in him having a major hit with patrons as he regularly crooned his ballad titled "Marie" live on the Express set over a Studio One dub).

A commercial recorded version followed sometime after.


Puddy Roots (became main stay at Kilamanjaro)

Clarence Parkes aka Bugus (was a promising young vocalist)



Classic dances

There were some dances (clash ) that stood out, and for those who were in attendance the memory is eternal.


EXPRESS vs ARROWS @ Franlkin Town Primary School (1976) - Versions galore. One- away dubs plus live mike-men. Arrows was hot but Lone Ranger stepped up for Express with »mi no wan no whore pon mi 354« (referring to a Honda motorbike) result? The place blazed with uproar, Arrows responded with equal effect, and that set the pattern for the night, it was HOT. Really a musical war.


Dances between 1978 and 1980


EXPRESS vs SIR DALEY @ McQuiney Street Rae Town (rough dance musically, Oh Lord chanted “Express sound a de general sound, the general sound from Franklin Town, to a barrage of salutes.


EXPRESS in Rock Fort and Warika Hill - music flowed from dusk till dawn and the crowd rock and come on for two days solid.

One-away selections ruled the occasion and when at midnight (on the first night) the deck needle went down on a dub plate and the voice blared "....Tribute to Copper", the crowd responded with deafening salutes and chants of Express!, Express!


EXPRESS in Dunkirk – Peace vibes no loss of lives, Peeps from East, West ,North and South come bout in ONE LOVE.


Three the hard way clash VOLUME ONE vs SABA TONE vs SOUL EXPRESS behind Purity on Deanery Road in Vineyard Town Kingston 3 - Lawn ram. (All three sounds were from Franklin Town)


EXPRESS played across the island and memorable dances outside of Kingston & St Andrew included St. Elizabeth , St Mary, Sav-la-mar to name a few.


Other dances, too much to mention.


SOUL EXPRESS continued operating until the mid 1980s


PEACE & RASPECT to all massive

PEACE and LOVE to all the girls.


RIP Johnny Ringo , Linton ARROWS & those who have fallen.



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