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Pass the Knowledge - Reggae Anthology
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  • A trio consisting of Donald "Tabby" Shaw, Fitzroy "Bunny" Simpson, and Lloyd "Judge" Ferguson, the Mighty Diamonds are Jamaica's longest-running vocal group still active with the original members, delivering the same smooth, easy-rocking, and thoughtful harmonies for some 40 years now. It comes as a bit of a surprise, then, that this three-disc set (two CDs and a DVD) from VP Records is the first real career-spanning anthology of the trio's key tracks to hit the 21st century digital world. Covering the Diamonds' peak years from 1975 to 1986, and featuring productions done over those years by the likes of Gussie Clarke, Joseph Hoo-Kim, Donovan Germain, Tappa Zukie, Ossie Hibbert, Errol Thompson, Junior Booth, and Joe Gibbs, among others, along with rare dubplate versions of "Hypocrite" and "Survival," this woefully overdue compilation simply underscores what fans of vintage reggae roots music have always known, that these guys are simply one of the best vocal groups the island ever produced. The Diamonds' most essential sides are here, including the genre classics "Right Time," "Have Mercy," "I Need a Roof," and "Pass the Kouchie," and track after track glides by full of sharp, crisp rhythms and those trademark velvet-smooth and laid-back harmonies, even as the songs serve witness to poverty and desperation with defiant ghetto pride, determination, and the sly certainty of redemption. The DVD included in this package contains a delightful concert film from 1992 of the Diamonds live at Reggae Sunsplash. ~ Steve Leggett
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