Q: What about Soul Express?
A: Well, Soul Express... basically Fantastic T'ree is Soul Express, I think it evolved into Soul Express. Yeah, you're right, my bro'- that's a good one (laughs)! Yeah, Fantastic T'ree, because three of us started it. It was Fantastic T'ree and it evolved into Soul Express, and... basically you're right! That's when Lone Ranger came in with Soul Express and he was the deejay and I was...
Q: No, no! You were the deejay and he was the singer then.
A: Right, right! And then it just basically evolved into me being a singer and he the deejay, and they say "the rest is history...". But you're right. Yeah.
Q: But how come you got into deejaying, first as harmony singer in the Trench Town group, and then a bit of deejay business?
A: Maybe I was just trying to find myself, that's the only conclusion I can come to (laughs)! Because as I say, in the music, I wasn't... I didn't know if to pursuit, I wasn't interested in it. Because I don't know the reason why but then I started to deejay and then after I deejayed for a while I started to sing on basically Studio One tracks. The guy I started with - Noel, he said to me: "Carlton, you see the response from the crowd? You should sing!" Then I start to voice one or two tracks and Ranger got back off the singing. Then he start to deejay and eventually he just evolve that deejay is his style - fully. Singin' full, (would) be my style. And it was while in Soul Express that Tony Walcott discover us. You know, me, Ranger, Puddy (Roots) and Welton Irie we usually go to his house Sunday mornings and do basic rehearsal over Studio One tracks. Learning to harmony, making sure when the bridge come up you've got to change your tone and stuff like that, and basically he guide us along.
Q: Who was owner for Soul Express?
A: Noel Smith, otherwise known as 'Skinner'.
Q: How long did you stay with him and that sound? You stayed there for quite a while?
A: Yeah, we stayed with him for a while because I was part-owner of the set.
Q: OK. This was about '75, or '76?
A: '75/76, yeah. It was Noel Smith, me and another guy name Noel Vassel. That was when we start Fantastic T'ree and then like I said it evolve into Soul Express. But we were all part-owners of that set, up to the last minute when it stopped, which was like '83/84, something like that.
Q: Were these people from the St. Mary area like yourself, or was it a Kingston sound?
A: No, this was a Kingston sound. It was in Franklin Town - that's Eastern Kingston, near to Rockfort, Dunkirk, that type of area. It was like about a stonethrow away from Dunkirk, a rough neighborhood by the name of Dunkirk. We usually play down there a lot. Basically we were like in those days... 'Soul' was the thing - inside. You know, soul bellfoot pants (inaudible) together. But we were never like a soul set, or like a Rasta set. We were like in-between. We straddled both the soul and the Rasta. So we usually have the bigger draw. Because the dreads from House of Dread, which was up in Allman Town... Franklin Town top, duly come listen Soul Express and the guys who usually follow the other set - them who had the soul set - usually come because we play all type a music. But our speciality was like Studio One, rub-a-dub style of music. So basically that's where it came from.