. issue XIV : i .

by barathron

. artist : the mighty diamonds .
. album : pass the knowledge .
. year : 2013 .
. label : 17 north parade .
. grade : a .


The Mighty Diamonds are one of Jamaica’s legendary vocal groups, still together in their 44th year with the same three original members. This very worthwhile 40-song retrospective touches on many of the high points of their career. They started at the tail-end of the rocksteady era, and their early material is highly soul-influenced: check out “Ghetto Living” (straight outta Philly!) and “Have Mercy” (equal parts soul and roots). During the roots era the Diamonds were a smoother alternative to aggressively militant vocal trios like Culture and Black Uhuru: “Bodyguard” and “Mr. Chin Slippers” are great examples. They hit the big time in 1981 with “Pass The Kouchie” (don’t miss their own answer song and this collection’s title track, “Pass The Knowledge”). Also of note here: fabulous roots-dub circa 1980 (“Gates of Zion”) and a half-brilliant, half-mystifying cover of the two biggest hits from the musical Hair (“Let Jah Sun Shine”). Pass The Knowledge also includes all of their Jamaican top-sellers, a handful of dubplates, and much more. Another superb package from VP Records’ archives – keep ‘em coming, please.

by Bill Lupoletti