Album review
Rise Up
Mighty Diamonds
Charm-Jet Star
10 - 06 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Leaders
  2. The Life Your Living
  3. Look In Your Eyes
  4. Trap
  5. Rise Up
  6. Back Stabbing
  7. My Youth
  8. Living Like A King
  9. Drifting Away
  10. Stranger
  11. Sample
  12. Angels
  13. Love Just Walk Through That Door
  14. Bookworm
  15. The Have Not
  16. John Gotti
  17. Searching
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3

The legendary Mighty Diamonds - consisting of lead vocalist Donald "Tabby" Shaw and harmony and occasionally lead singers Fitzroy "Bunny" Simpson and Lloyd "Judge" Ferguson - are one of the few classic vocal groups to have survived with the same original line-up since this outfit was formed around 1968. After having recorded unsuccessfully for a number of Jamaican producers including Rupie Edwards their major breakthrough came when they teamed up with Channel One's Joseph Hookim who produced the group on a series of hits, leading to a contract with Virgin Records in 1976. With albums like "Right Time", "Deeper Roots", "Stand Up To Your Judgement" and "Changes" the Mighty Diamonds made a serious impact and thus they took their place in the forefront of reggae music. Throughout the seventies, eighties and first half of the nineties The Mighty Diamonds have released over 30 albums including several live recordings. Although they went on recording in the second half of the nineties for producers like Donovan Germain and Gussie Clarke - and also saw their tunes incidentally unleashed on 7" singles - their fans had to wait for a brandnew album until the new millenium.
Having heard the 17 tracks of this King Jammys produced "Rise Up" album one can only draw one conclusion... the wait has been worthwhile. The Mighty Diamonds are captured in very fine form. Their immaculate harmonies are tight as always and each and every track fully displays their ability to write catchy, meaningful songs about reality issues as well as matters of the heart. Lloyd "King Jammy" James' production work is outstanding. He not only supplied a fine selection of impeccable and well varied riddims laid by such great Jamaican and British musicians like Sly & Robbie, Mafia & Fluxy, Steely & Clevie, Jazzwad, The Firehouse Crew and Dean Fraser, but he seemingly managed to create the right vibes in order to get the best out of the Mighty Diamonds. Everything fits perfectly well and for those who doubt it, "Rise Up" unmistakably proves that the Mighty Diamonds are still a first rank vocal group. All tracks - with the exception of the soul-oriented "Searching" - are above par and very enjoyable to listen to. Standout tunes are "Leaders", "Rise Up", "Back Stabbing", "Living Like A King", "Stranger", "John Gotti" and "Trap" their great cut for Jammy's rub-a-dub riddim "Thank You Father".
The Mighty Diamonds have delivered an album that can stand comparisons with some of their best works to date. "Rise Up" is a goodie, a treat for all fans of the Mighty Diamonds in particular and distinctive vocal outfits in general.

Teacher & Mr. T.