The Mighty Diamonds

Profile:
Mighty Diamonds are a Jamaican harmony trio, recording roots reggae with a strong Rastafarian influence. The group was formed in 1969 and remained 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.

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 '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 début 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][6][7][8]

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][9]

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[10]) 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.[11]

The group continued to release albums regularly, adapting successfully to the prevailing digital rhythms of the 1980s and beyond.[12] Tabby, Bunny and Judge have produced over forty albums in their long career.
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Albums

wb 02 The Mighty Diamonds - When The Right Time Come (I Need A Roof) album art The Mighty Diamonds When The Right Time Come (I Need A Roof) (Album) Well Charge wb 02 Jamaica 1976 Sell This Version
PZ 34454 The Mighty Diamonds - Ice On Fire album art Mighty Diamonds* Ice On Fire (Album) Virgin, Virgin PZ 34454 US 1977 Sell This Version
BG 2102 The Mighty Diamonds - Planet Earth album art The Diamonds* Planet Earth (Album) Bad Gong Records BG 2102 Jamaica 1978 Sell This Version
none The Mighty Diamonds - Stand Up To Your Judgement album art The Mighty Diamonds Stand Up To Your Judgement (Album) Channel One none Jamaica 1978 Sell This Version
FL 1010 The Mighty Diamonds - Planet Mars Dub album art The Icebreakers (2) With The Diamonds* The Icebreakers (2) With The Diamonds* - Planet Mars Dub (Album) Front Line (2) FL 1010 UK 1978 Sell This Version
none The Mighty Diamonds - Trinity Meet The Mighty Diamonds album art Trinity (4) Meet The Mighty Diamonds Trinity (4) Meet The Mighty Diamonds - Trinity Meet The Mighty Diamonds (Album) Gorgon Records none Jamaica 1979 Sell This Version
none The Mighty Diamonds - Disco Showcase album art Leroy Smart Featuring The Mighty Diamonds Leroy Smart Featuring The Mighty Diamonds - Disco Showcase (MiniAlbum) Gussie Roots Sounds none Jamaica 1979 Sell This Version
VIFL 1045 The Mighty Diamonds - Deeper Roots (Back To The Channel) album art Mighty Diamonds* Deeper Roots (Back To The Channel) (Album) Front Line (2), Virgin VIFL 1045 US 1979 Sell This Version
JJ-020 The Mighty Diamonds - .... Tell Me What's Wrong album art The Mighty Diamonds .... Tell Me What's Wrong (Album) Hit Bound JJ-020 US 1980 Sell This Version
none The Mighty Diamonds - Dubwise album art The Mighty Diamonds Dubwise (Album) Music Works Records none Jamaica 1981 Sell This Version
LP 11981 The Mighty Diamonds - Changes album art The Mighty Diamonds Changes (Album) Music Works Records LP 11981 Jamaica 1981 Sell This Version
SHAN 43004 The Mighty Diamonds - Reggae Street album art The Mighty Diamonds Reggae Street (Album) Shanachie SHAN 43004 Canada 1981 Sell This Version
none The Mighty Diamonds - Heads Of Government album art The Mighty Diamonds Heads Of Government (Album) Revolutionary Sounds none Jamaica 1982 Sell This Version
AL 8303 The Mighty Diamonds - Indestructible album art The Mighty Diamonds Indestructible (Album) Alligator Records, Alligator Records AL 8303 US 1982 Sell This Version
Shanachie 43009 The Mighty Diamonds - The Roots Is There album art The Mighty Diamonds The Roots Is There (Album) Music Works Records Shanachie 43009 US 1982 Sell This Version
SRE 31 The Mighty Diamonds - Leaders Of Black Countrys - Showcase Album album art The Mighty Diamonds Leaders Of Black Countrys - Showcase Album (Album) Mobiliser Music SRE 31 UK 1983 Sell This Version
MWRT 11986 The Mighty Diamonds - Backstage album art The Mighty Diamonds Backstage (Album) Music Works Records MWRT 11986 Jamaica 1983 Sell This Version
C25Y0086 The Mighty Diamonds - Pass The Kouchie album art The Mighty Diamonds Pass The Kouchie (Album) Bad Gong Records C25Y0086 Japan 1984 Sell This Version
C25Y0138 The Mighty Diamonds - Live In Tokyo album art The Mighty Diamonds Live In Tokyo (Album) Overheat Records C25Y0138 Japan 1985 Sell This Version
C25Y0175 The Mighty Diamonds - Struggling album art The Mighty Diamonds Struggling (Album) Live & Learn Records C25Y0175 Japan 1985 Sell This Version
LL CAS 022 The Mighty Diamonds - If You Looking For Trouble album art The Mighty Diamonds If You Looking For Trouble (Album) Live & Learn Records LL CAS 022 US 1986 Sell This Version
GREL CD 102 The Mighty Diamonds - The Real Enemy album art Mighty Diamonds* The Real Enemy (Album) Greensleeves Records GREL CD 102 UK 1987 Sell This Version
CD029 The Mighty Diamonds - Never Get Weary album art The Mighty Diamonds Never Get Weary (Album) Live & Learn Records CD029 US 1988 Sell This Version
none The Mighty Diamonds - Get Ready album art Mighty Diamonds* Get Ready (Album) Greensleeves Records none Jamaica 1988 Sell This Version
PCCY-00008 The Mighty Diamonds - Live In Europe album art Mighty Diamonds* Live In Europe (Album, Comp) Greensleeves Records PCCY-00008 Japan 1989 Sell This Version