Review Summary: A genuine reggae classic!
The Mighty Diamonds are a fantastic roots reggae harmony group comprised of Donald ‘Tabby’ Shaw, Fitzroy ‘Bunny’ Simpson and Lloyd ‘Judge’ Ferguson that have been going for over forty years. Right Time, their debut album is a shining beacon of sweet, dreamy vocal harmonies, swish guitars, light piano riffs and subtle rhythms. It has been recognised by many critics as being one of the genres masterpieces.
Right Time is a sturdy album that has that mystical reggae ambiance that many pillars in the roots genre have, no surprise when you consider that it was recorded in Jamaica’s venerated Channel One Studio. It demonstrates a group that is on top of its game. Although the sound is primarily roots reggae, the album blends elements of soulful subtleness and a blues influenced sub text. ‘Shame and Pride’ would be a fine example of this. The melody carries the listener to dizzying heights, whilst the razor sharpness of the one-drop drum beat provides an aural safety net. The rhythm section on many of the albums key tracks are the formidable ‘riddim’ duo of Sly and Robbie. Sly Dunbar’s drumming is a web of syncopation and poly-rhythms that beautifully compliments the melodies of the vocalists and the horn section.
The album focuses on many traditional roots reggae topics such as poverty: ‘I Need a Roof’, which has one of the best vocal harmonies on the album, and despite the lyrical content sounds surprisingly upbeat. Marcus Garvey: ‘Them Never Love Poor Marcus’, a song that sounds strikingly downbeat compared to the rather up tempo feel of the album. Rastafarian idioms: ‘Have Mercy’, perhaps the best track on the LP demonstrates the more soulful side of the album. Strong melodies and an undeniably smooth rhythm that could satisfy the harshest reggae critic. It was also their British single debut. ‘Why Me Black Brother Why’ is a plea for men not to commit crime and domestic violence.
The tempo of the album seems slightly faster than most reggae albums. It does not dither through prolonged, slow instrumental sections or repeat the same vocal hook sixteen times in a row. For this reason I would recommend it to people who are just getting into reggae and want to hear pertinent and snappy tunes.
‘Africa’ beautifully ends the album with a whimsical, subtle piano and horn line that beautifully follow the vocals. It leaves the listener in a positive and chilled mood.
Overall the whole album oozes magnificence, it is rightly placed on many critics list as one of the greatest reggae albums of all times. If the harmonies do not grab you the rhythms will. It is an ideal album for people interested in getting into reggae. Despite what ever weather conditions you are facing, listening to this album will put warm, summery feelings into your heart.