Top Five Underrated Reggae Bands, According to the Lions

Categories: Bands We Like

The Lions
By: Brittany Woolsey
When people think of reggae music, Bob Marley usually comes to mind. But Dan Ubick--guitarist/producer of the Lions--acknowledges some possibly lesser-known names. While the band prep for Saturday's show at Alex's Bar in Long Beach, we ask Ubick to reflect on the top five underrated reggae bands that inspired his band's creation and sound.

5. The Mighty Diamonds
They are probably one of the most famous Jamaican vocal-harmony groups. The blend of Tabby, Bunny and Judge's [Donald Shaw, Fitzroy Simpson and Lloyd Ferguson, respectively] three voices is beautiful and has an undeniable harmony. They each have such unique tonalities that sound so good together. Their most famous song, the one that most people would know, is "Pass the Dutchie," but my favorite is "Diamonds and Pearls." It has a great groove and lyrics about love making you wealthier than material possessions. The groove is just ridiculous in that song.

4. The Abyssinians
They're underrated and have genius-level originality. There is nobody in the world who sounds like the Abyssinians. Their vocal harmony is insane. Few people can even attempt to do it; they just twist and turn in ways that no other singers do. [Their sound] has the whole Ethiopian influence and spiritual influence. The way they twist their harmonies around melodies is unbelievable. My favorite songs by them are "Jah Love" and "Wicked Men" from one of my favorite records by them, Arise. It has great lyrics and that classic Abyssinian harmony that's just beautiful.

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I totally agree with Mighty Diamonds, Heptones & Gladiators. As of Justin Hinds, I realised I don't know much of his music. I'm currently doing a research on The Mighty Diamonds, and try to place all of their singles in chronological order. It's crazy to realize that over 70 songs that aren't included on albums were recorded by them during the peak of their career (1975-1985) and the majority of them are still exclusive to vinyl singles. I'm puzzled that no record compasnies have ever made a compilations with these. No compilation really do justice to their career. It's easy for someone to get lost in their 20+ album career. Suggestion to discover the band properly: if you want a compilation, the only one that works is Go Seak Your Rights. Albums that should be considered (in order of preference) Right Time (1976), Deeper Roots (1979), Stand Up To Your Judgement (1977), Planet Earth (1978), The Roots Is There (1982), Leaders Of Black Countries (1983), Ice On Fire (1977)*** (some reggae fans don't like Ice On Fire as it sound too much like Motown music, but I personally think it's a great album). I would also place the album Changes (1981), but at the moment it's still exclusive to vinyl, so a little more difficult to get in this digital age. For more details on the Diamonds, you can visit my research by googling 'mighty diamonds' and 'soulrebels'. The main site can be access via the fourth link, or click any of the links.

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