Tag Archives: Mighty Diamonds

Timeless classics on new Mighty Diamonds compilation

m434mmD8_K968w80STAIMfgThree part harmony group The Mighty Diamonds is one of major cornerstones of the roots reggae movement. They are unique in being able to stay together for more than 40 years, with an equal amount of albums under their belt.

During their long career they worked with virtually every notable Jamaican record producer and on a new three disc compilation – two CD and one DVD – showcasing their impressive career, no less than 13 producers are credited, including the Diamonds themselves along with Bunny Lee, Augustus “Gussie” Clarke, Joe Gibbs, Donovan Germain, Augustus Pablo and, of course, Joseph Hoo Kim, for whom they recorded some of their biggest hits, including Right Time, Shame and Pride and Have Mercy. All taken from their rightly celebrated 1976 debut album Right Time aka I Need A Roof.

Pass the Knowledge is a remarkable 39-track selection showcasing some of the group’s most essential hits plus five previously unreleased dubplate exclusives. Included are also a number of more unknown gems, such as a swirling version of The 5th Dimension’s Let the Sunshine In, the relentless Gates of Zion and the pulsating Morgan the Pirate.

Vocal harmony groups have always been an integral part of reggae music, especially in the 60s and 70s. And this set shows that Jamaican musicians managed to take influences from Motown and the Philadelphia sound and make something truly unique. This is timeless, smooth and suffering harmonizing set to a banging reggae back drop.

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The Mighty Diamonds presented in the best possible way

Mighty Diamonds_-_Planet_Earth fThe Mighty Diamonds are Jamaica’s longest-serving vocal group and have been together since 1969. They also happen to be one of my favorite vocal harmony trios and that’s why I’m excited about the second release on UK’s Hot Milk Records.

It’s a reissue of The Mighty Diamonds (though credited to The Diamonds on the sleeve) Planet Earth and its dub companion Planet Mars Dub by The Icebreakers with The Diamonds, both sets originally released in 1978 on Richard Branson’s label Virgin.

The label has now taken both albums and put them on CD in a showcase style, meaning each song is followed by its dub version. The material is sourced from the original Virgin master tapes and the audio quality is flawless and sounds slicker and more polished than the original LP’s.

The Mighty Diamonds have borrowed a lot from their U.S. soul contemporaries, especially those coming from Philadelphia. Sugary harmonies, excellent songwriting and great feel for melodies are some of the main components in their music.

The Mighty Diamonds’ debut album I Need a Roof aka Right Time is a militant affair, whereas this album leans more towards their heavily criticized Ice On Fire album produced by U.S. soul and R&B giant Allen Toussaint.

The album was recorded with a number of notable Jamaican session musicians at the then newly built Compass Point Studio in Bahamas. The riddims are smooth, the harmonies delicate and lead vocalist Donald “Tabby” Shaw sings more heartfelt and pleading than ever before, just listen to the aching title track, with lyrics as relevant today as they were more than 30 years, or the beautiful Sweet Lady, the album’s only cover.

The dub versions lean more towards instrumentals and most of the songs are left more or less intact with vocals snippets dropping in and out of the mix.

The Mighty Diamonds have over the years put out soundtracks for revolutions and for romancing between the sheets. This catchy set contains a little of both and is now presented in the best possible way.

Available now on CD that comes with a booklet containing a long and informative essay by John Masouri.


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20 bästa reggaealbumen på Spotify

Spotify är en riktigt bra nätbaserad musiktjänst. Man laddar ner en programvara från vilken man sedan streamar – lyssnar i realtid – musiken.

För närvarande finns flera miljoner låtar. Och det finns faktiskt förvånansvärt mycket reggae – såväl singlar som EPs och hela album från tidigt 60-tal fram till idag. Om man kikar på vilka album Spotify fått rättigheter till, så verkar det som att de slutit avtal med skivbolag som Greensleeves, Blood and Fire (numera nedlagt) och Virgin (numera EMI). Det är skivbolag som under många år släppt fantastiska skivor – Virgin släppte på 70-talet klassiska skivor med bland annat The Mighty Diamonds och U Roy, Greensleeves har länge varit mästare på dancehall, och Blood and Fire var under några år ledande på återutgivningar av obskyra artister och skivor, exempelvis The Chantells.

lone-ranger1Spotify har tyvärr inte allt man vill ha. Katalogen består till stor av samlingsskivor och greatest hits. Men några klassiska guldkorn går det allt att gräva fram Och det har jag ägnat ett par minuter åt att göra.

Ladda ner länken nedan, så får du tillgång till 20 av de bästa och mest klassiska reggaealbumen som Spotify har att erbjuda. Jag har bara valt album av en artist eller grupp. Det ingår alltså inga samlingsskivor. I mesta möjliga mån har jag försökt att hitta originalalbumet, och inte någon nyutgåva eller greatest hits. Allt för att försöka få till någon form av originalkänsla.


u-roy1Den observante märker nog att jag i princip endast valt gamla alster. Den absoluta merparten av skivorna är från 70-talet. Varför? Svaret är lika enkelt som det är sant; det var ju då det gjordes bäst reggae.

Hade jag valt ur den egna skivsamlingen hade listan på de 20 bästa reggaealbumen sett lite annorlunda ut. Exempelvis fattas skivor från Studio One helt, vilket inte är särskilt rättvisande.

Har du exempel reggaeskivor på Spotify som inte är med på listan, men borde vara där? Tips och åsikter tas givetvis mycket gärna emot.

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