Mighty Diamonds

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Mighty Diamonds
Gnomovtt-The-Mighty-Diamonds.jpg
Background information
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Roots reggae
Years active 1969 – present
Labels Channel One/Well Charge, Virgin/Front Line, Bad Gong, Music Works, Shanachie, Greensleeves, Live & Learn, RAS
Website themightydiamonds.com
Members Donald "Tabby" Shaw
Fitzroy "Bunny" Simpson
Lloyd "Judge" Ferguson

Mighty Diamonds are a Jamaican harmony trio, recording roots reggae with a strong Rastafarian influence. was formed in 1969 and remains together as of 2012. They are best known for their 1976 debut album Right Time produced by Joseph Hoo Kim and the 1979 release Deeper Roots.

History[edit]

Formed in 1969 in the Trenchtown area of Kingston, the group comprises lead vocalist Donald "Tabby" Shaw, and harmony vocalists Fitzroy "Bunny" Simpson and Lloyd "Judge" Ferguson.[1][2] They had become friends at school in the mid-1960s, and were originally called The Limelight, adopting 'The Mighty Diamonds' after Shaw's mother started referring to them as "the diamonds".[3][4] Their smooth harmonies and choreographed stage show were inspired by Motown vocal groups of the 1960s, with Shaw listing The Temptations, The Stylistics, The Impressions, and The Delfonics as influences as well as Jamaican rocksteady artists such as John Holt and Ken Boothe.[2][3][4]

Their early recordings were produced by Pat Francis, Stranger Cole ("Girl You Are Too Young" (1970), "Oh No Baby"), Derrick Harriott ("Mash Up"), Bunny Lee ("Jah Jah Bless the Dreadlocks", "Carefree Girl"), Lee "Scratch" Perry ("Talk About It"), and Rupie Edwards, but it was in 1973 that they had their first hit single with the Francis-produced "Shame and Pride", recorded at the Dynamic Sounds studio.[2][4][5] It was their mid-1970s work with producer Joseph Hoo Kim that gave them their real breakthrough.[1] "Country Living" and "Hey Girl", were recorded and released by the Channel One label. "Right Time" followed, on Hoo Kim's Well Charge label, and cemented their status as one of the top Jamaican groups of the time.[1][5]

Virgin Records signed them and the group's debut album, Right Time, was released in 1976, including most of their early Channel One hits.[1][6] The album was an international success and for the follow-up, Virgin sent them to work with Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, with local musicians providing the backing.[1][7] The resulting Ice on Fire album sold poorly, the production not appealing to reggae fans, and the album later described as "an attempt by New Orleans soul musicians to play reggae".[1][2][7][8][6]

Back in Jamaica, they continued to record for Channel One, with the Stand Up to Your Judgment album released in 1978, and continued to produce a string of hit singles.[1] They also released records on their own 'Bad Gong' label.[5] The group's Deeper Roots, released in 1979, was their next big album success, again released by Virgin, on its Front Line label.[2]

In the early 1980s they recorded with producer Gussie Clarke, largely using old Studio One tracks as the basis for their recordings, and dubplates of these sessions became popular on sound systems in Jamaica, New York, and London, particularly "Pass the Kouchie", recorded on the "Full Up" riddim.[1] Their work with Clarke produced the 1981 album Changes.[1]

"Pass the Koutchie", written by Ferguson and Simpson, became an international hit twice, when first released (on their 1982 album Changes[9]) and again when it was covered by Musical Youth with altered lyric to remove the drug references, and released as "Pass the Dutchie".[1][2]

Their performance at Reggae Sunsplash in 1982 was released on an album later that year, paired with the performance from Mutabaruka.[10]

The group continued to release albums regularly, adapting successfully to the prevailing digital rhythms of the 1980s and beyond.[11] Tabby, Bunny and Judge have produced over forty albums in their long career.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Right Time (1976), Well Charge/Virgin – also issued under the title When The Right Time Come (I Need A Roof)
  • Ice on Fire (1977), Virgin
  • Planet Mars Dub (1978), Front Line – The Icebreakers and the Diamonds, dub version of Planet Earth
  • Stand Up To Your Judgment (1978), Channel One
  • Tell Me What's Wrong (1978), Hit Bound
  • Planet Earth (1978), Virgin
  • Deeper Roots (1979), Front Line
  • Deeper Roots Dub (1979)
  • Changes (1981), Music Works
  • Dubwise (1981), Music Works – six dub versions from Changes and four other dubs
  • Reggae Street (1981), Shanachie
  • The Roots Is There (1982), Music Works/Shanachie
  • Indestructible (1982), Alligator
  • Heads of Government (1982), Jah Guidance
  • Leaders of Black Countrys (Showcase Album) (1983), Mobiliser
  • Backstage (1983), Music Works
  • Kouchie Vibes (1984), Burning Sounds
  • Pass The Kouchie (1985), Bad Gong – singles issued on Bad Gong records in the early eighties plus new material
  • Struggling (1985), Live & Learn
  • If You Looking For Trouble (1986), Live & Learn
  • The Real Enemy (1987), Greensleeves
  • Never Get Weary (1988), Live & Learn
  • Get Ready (1988), Rohit International/Greensleeves
  • Jam Session (1990), Live & Learn
  • Tour The World (1991) – contains five new songs and five old songs
  • Patience (1991), Tassa
  • The Moment of Truth (1992), Mango
  • Bust Out (1993), Greensleeves/VP
  • Speak The Truth (1994), RAS
  • Stand Up (1998), Gone Clear
  • Thugs in the Streets (2006), Nocturne
  • Inna De Yard (2008), Makasound – acoustic versions of classic songs performed with nyabinghi drums

Collaborations and split albums[edit]

  • Vital Dub Strictly Rockers (aka: Vital Dub – Well Charged) (1976) – includes five dub versions from the Right Time album
  • Trinity Meet The Mighty Diamonds (1979), Gorgon
  • Disco Showcase (1979), Gussie Roots Sounds – Leroy Smart feat. The Mighty Diamonds
  • Right Time Rockers (The Lost Album) (1998) – recorded in 1976, U-Roy deejaying on the riddims from the Right Time album

Compilations[edit]

  • Vital Selection (1981), Virgin – 1976–1979 Joseph Hoo Kim produced material
  • Ebony And Ivory (1983), Woorell – Japanese compilation of Augustus Clark productions
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1984) – Japan exclusive
  • Ready for the World (1989) – Japan exclusive
  • Go Seek Your Rights (1990), Front Line – 1976–1979 Joseph Hoo Kim produced material
  • Mighty Diamonds Meet Don Carlos & Gold at Channel One Studios (1993), Channel One – includes the complete Right Time album
  • Paint It Red (1993), RAS – compilation of singles from 1985–1990, overdubbed with new instruments
  • Works (1994), JVC/Victor – 1981–1988 Augustus Clarke material
  • From The Foundation (1996), Gone Clear – The Mighty Diamonds & The Tamlins, 1978–1981 Augustus Clarke material
  • Heads of Government (1996), Germain – Donovan Germain-produced material, different to the 1983 album
  • Maximum Replay (1997) – 1981–1988 Augustus Clarke material
  • The Best of the Mighty Diamonds: 20 Hits (1997) – contains two full albums: Stand Up To Your Judgment and Tell Me What's Wrong
  • RAS Portrait (1997), RAS – recordings from 1993–1994
  • Right Time Come (1998) – includes the complete Right Time album and nine songs from 1978
  • Indestructible: Anthology Volume 1 (1999)
  • Natural Natty Reggae (2000), Simon – compilation of singles produced by Bunny Diamonds between 1976 and 1997
  • The Classics Recordings Of Jamaica's Finest Vocal Trio (2000), Music Club
  • Gold Collection (2000), Grayland
  • Everlasting: 30th Anniversary (2000), D-3
  • Rise Up (2001), Jet Star
  • Unconquerable (2003), Reggae Road
  • Revolution (2003), NYC Music
  • The Best Of The Mighty Diamonds (2004), Seymour – features two albums: Pass The Kouchie and Tour The World
  • Back2Back: Tamlins & Mighty Diamonds (2007)
  • Reggae Legends (2008), VP – 4-CD boxset that contains the four albums issued on Greensleeves: The Real Enemy, Get Ready, Live In Europe and Bust Out
  • Kings Of Reggae (2009), Nocturne – material issued on RAS records in 1993–1994
  • Leaders of Black Countries (2011), Kingston Sounds

Live albums[edit]

  • Live In Tokyo (1985)
  • Live In Europe (1989)
  • Live At Reggae Sunsplash (1992), Genes – recorded in August 1982, eight songs from Mighty Diamonds and seven songs from Mutabaruka
  • The Best of Reggae Live (2001) – Frankie Paul & Mighty Diamonds
  • Live in Europe: Nice, France (2002) – recorded in 1997

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, p. 196-7
  2. ^ a b c d e f Huey, Steve "The Mighty Diamonds Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 17 September 2012
  3. ^ a b Kenner, Rob (1995) "Boomshots", Vibe, March 1995, p. 100, retrieved 17 September 2012
  4. ^ a b c Taylor, Lewis (2002) "Mighty Diamonds 'Rise Up' and Shine", Eugene Register-Guard, 3 May 2002, p. 5, retrieved 17 September 2012
  5. ^ a b c Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (1999) Reggae – 100 Essential CDs: The Rough Guide, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-85828-567-4, p. 107-8
  6. ^ a b Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd edn., Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 151, 157, 160, 203
  7. ^ a b Anderson, Rick "Ice on Fire Review", Allmusic, retrieved 17 September 2012
  8. ^ "Mighty Diamonds "Ice on Fire"" (review syndicated from Rolling Stone), The Tuscaloosa News, 3 June 1977, p. 15, retrieved 17 September 2012
  9. ^ The Mighty Diamonds: Tracks
  10. ^ Leggett, Steve "Live at Reggae Sunsplash Review", Allmusic, retrieved 17 September 2012
  11. ^ Greene, Jo-Ann "Get Ready Review", Allmusic, retrieved 17 September 2012

External links[edit]