The group has remained unchanged for 47 years and so have the sweet harmony and conscious lyrics which have kept The Mighty Diamonds, Donald “Tabby” Shaw, Fitzroy ”Bunny” Simpson and Lloyd “ Judge” Ferguson in the forefront as one of Jamaica’s most soulful and prolific groups.
Yet another product of Trench Town, Jamaica’s musical mecca of the 60s, the Mighty Diamonds were formed in 1969 and with their soulful harmonies and polished performances, quickly became known as the young group with the Motown sound.
Rated as one of the most internationally popular reggae groups to emerge from the ’70s roots era, they balanced their spiritual and political messages with sweet romantic material, which gave them a more universal appeal than militant groups like Burning Spear, Culture or Black Uhuru.
During the early ’70s, they recorded for several producers, including Stranger Cole and Rupie Edwards, without much success. Finally, in 1973, they notched their first hit Shame and Pride for producer Pat Francis (aka Jah Lloyd).
From there, the group moved on to JoJo Hookim’s Channel One label in 1975, scoring two quick hits with Country Living and Hey Girl, and then had their biggest success yet with Right Time. Signed to a major, international label deal with Virgin, the group released their first album, also titled Right Time in 1976. It was an instant hit, tackling a multitude of social and spiritual issues with powerful yet graceful music, and spawned further hits in I Need a Roof, Have Mercy, Why Me Black Bredda Why, Back Weh, Them Never Love Poor Marcus and Africa. The Right Time album is now rated as an all-time “must have” classic for every collector of reggae music.
In the early ’80s, the group started working with producer Gussie Clarke, reworking old Studio One rhythm tracks into new songs on their 1981 album Changes. One of those new songs, Pass the Kutchie was a major hit in Jamaica, and in 1982 it was covered by the English-based Musical Youth as Pass the Dutchie which became a smash hit in both the UK and the USA, selling millions.
Tabby, Bunny and Judge have produced over 40 albums in their long career and while it is hard to select just one album as a favourite , many critics rate Deeper Roots as the definitive Mighty Diamonds album. This album proves that the Mighty Diamonds are truly the best in the business.
The trio has toured the world extensively and has a strong following in Europe and Japan as well as in the USA and the Caribbean. In Jamaica they are forever loved, and have delivered many outstanding performances on previous Startime shows; so it was a must that they had to be one of the top rated acts selected for the Return of the Original Startime at the Mas Camp on Saturday January 9.
This highly anticipated staging of the Original Startime is a Monymusk Plantation Rums premium event in association with Ting, Jamaica Observer, Kool 97FM, Chung’s Catering, Starlight Productions, On Stage TV, Creative Production and Training Center (CPTC), Devon Bourne’s Rubis Service Station, Seals & Engravables, Christar Villas Hotel, Kingston Hireage, Happy Ice, Interlinc Communications … host of the startime.com.jm website and security by Securipro.