The Mighty Diamonds

Vital Selection

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Considering the plethora of hits the Mighty Diamonds amassed in Jamaica, the stream of excellent albums they released during the '70s (and beyond), and their popularity in Britain, it's amazing that Vital Selection remained the only Diamonds best-of compilation available for almost a decade, until Go Seek Your Rights arrived in 1990. The Diamonds deserved better than that; their exquisite work in both the cultural and romantic realms demanded much more. But at least this compilation attempted to address this injustice, bundling up a dozen representative numbers, including many of the group's hits. The sequencing is sympathetically done as well, and the compilation opens with a clutch of powerful cultural hit singles, then moves into more personal territory for the classic sufferer's song "I Need a Roof." Then it's on to the idyllic "Country Living" and into matters of the heart with the lovely, romantic "Sweet Lady" and the heart-wrenching "Shame and Pride," before ending with two more strong cultural songs. Of course, there were many, many more equally vital numbers to hear, but as an overview of the Diamonds' oeuvre, it's a more than fair one. Better, more expansive compilations would appear in the '90s, but Vital Selection kept the Mighty Diamonds' roots-era reputation shining bright until then.

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