The Mighty Diamonds

Speak the Truth

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After the gentler vibes of the effervescent Paint It Red, the Mighty Diamonds now offer up much punchier fare with Speak the Truth. From the opening punch of "Knock Knock," there's no reining the trio in. It's equally evident they're determined to mix things up as much as possible. The gorgeous "Hey Mommy" is doo wop with a kick, with Fitzroy Simpson beautifully handling the lead vocals. Lloyd Ferguson takes center stage on "This Time," his incandescent falsetto hovering over the sweet melody. That number conjures up the marvels of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; "Knock," delivered up ska-style, hints at the Wailers; while "Why" returns the group to its own roots, as it offers up a sizzling variation on its own classic, "Why Me Black Brother Why"; "Planet Earth" is also revisited, in sparkling, upbeat fashion, under the title "Live in Love." There's a flood of coursing new numbers -- slamming dancehall pieces served straight-up or flavored with driving reggae; perky, percolating keyboard melodies; or seething with Dean Fraser and Clive "Azul" Hunt's superb brass. Self-producing the set themselves, the trio ensures that the entire set sparkles. Donald Shaw's performances shimmer and shine, while his bandmates' harmonies glitter and soar. The sleeve notes provide song lyrics, a quick career run-down, and boast an interview with Simpson explaining each track's theme and how the number came to be written. A modern classic.

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