Tuesday, 31 July 2018
The Mighty Diamonds - Go Seek Your Rights
This is actually a compilation of three albums from the roots reggae band The Mighty Diamonds. Some critics I have read are not happy with it, feeling somehow the record company are "cheating" the fans. Why? It is just a collection of good material allowing people, like me, to get into the music of The Mighty Diamonds. Which is pretty good, as it happens. In fact, all ten tracks from 1976's album, "The Right Time" are included on here anyway, and in excellent remastered sound too. The Virgin "Front Line" reggae series is outstanding both in its breadth of material and sound quality.
On to the music - The Mighty Diamonds were kings of harmony and, while their material its rootsy - Rasta consciousness, devotional "message" - it has a light, melodic quality to it. The bass is perfectly lilting and certainly not as speaker-shaking as some roots/dub reggae can be (not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes the qualities of a song benefit a lighter vibe). "Have Mercy" is just sublime - excellent vocals, crisp, razor sharp percussion and that small beautiful bass. "Why Me Black Brother Why" is similar. The singing is magnificent and the brass backing vibrant. That brass is just as impressive on the intuitively nonchalant "Shame And Pride". "Right Time" is a slice of militancy but, as with all the material, it is gently delivered. The Mighty Diamonds are similar to The Gladiators in their lightness of touch. Both of them brought roots reggae to life, beautifully.
"Gnashing Of Teeth" is a dread warning about "weeping and wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth.." from Matthew 13:42. In the hands of The Mighty Diamonds, it is bassy and almost beatific, as opposed to hellishly terrifying. "Them Never Love Poor Marcus" is incredibly catchy. Once again the bass is intoxicating and uplifting.
I love roots reggae like this - clear but warm bass sound, great vocals and irresistible tunes. I forgot to mention that the rhythm backing is played by Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Impeccably, of course.
"One Brother Short" is a Marley-esque "woy-oy" irrepressible skanker. The riddim is hypnotic. Just listen to those addictive drums and horns on "Master Plan". You also get the jaunty, romantic "Sweet Lady" which has the Diamonds sounding like Aswad, all commercial as opposed to rootsy.
I won't go into every track in detail, because they are all good, I am sure you have got the picture by now. If you want to dip into the roots reggae music that was so intrinsic to those wonderful "punky reggae party" years of 1976-1979 then you can't go wrong with this.