Donald “Tabby” Shaw and Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson, from the legendary reggae trio the Mighty Diamonds, tragically passed away last month within three days of each other. Lead vocalist Tabby, along with harmony vocalists Bunny and Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson, formed the iconic group in 1969. Combining Rastafarian influences with Motown-inspired harmonies, they were innovators of the roots reggae golden era that arose from Kingston, Jamaica, to international acclaim in the 1970s, together with artists such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Black Uhuru and Burning Spear. The band were estimated to be the longest-running reggae act in the history of Jamaican music and, over the course of their career, they released more than forty-five records. In 2021, they received the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican government for their musical legacy.
The Mighty Diamonds penned several hits in Jamaica in the early 70s before gaining worldwide recognition following the release of their debut album, ‘Right Time’, on Virgin Records in 1976. The record included timeless songs such as “Right Time”, “Have Mercy”, “Shame and Pride”, “Why Me Black Brother, Why?” and “Gnashing of Teeth” and was described by Rolling Stone magazine as “one of the finest reggae LPs ever released”.
The band travelled to New Orleans in 1977 to record and release their next album, ‘Ice on Fire’, produced by Allen Toussaint, before returning to Jamaica and the famous Kingston studio, Channel One (where they had made some of their first records), to create the albums ‘Stand Up to Your Judgment’ (1978), ‘Deeper Roots’ (1979), ‘Reggae Street’ (1981) and ‘Changes’ (1981).
The Mighty Diamonds are perhaps best known for their 1980 work “Pass The Kouchie”, which became an international success when it was adapted by British reggae group Musical Youth in 1982 and released as “Pass the Dutchie”. The single was a #1 hit in the UK , reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to sell over 5 million copies globally.
Together with our co-publisher Keep On Kicking Music, Kassner Music is proud to represent works across many of the Mighty Diamonds’ albums. To listen to a selection of their songs, access our Spotify playlist above.