If its roots you want, then roots dem’ll give you when vintage reggae legends The Mighty Diamonds bring their vocal harmonies to downtown Riverside’s Mission Tobacco Lounge. For the uninformed, the Diamonds, with Israel Vibration and the Abyssinians, form part of the trifecta of Jamaica’s premiere vocal groups from the ’70s. Yeah, a little grey has crept into their dreads, mon, but the Diamonds (who formed in 1969) are roots royalty responsible for the hit and ode to herbal sharing “Pass The Kouchie.” Historians note: A great cultural crime was committed when pop reggae-lite act Musical Youth absconded with this song (substituting a reference to marijuana to one for a cooking pot—for shame!) and watered it down into the ready-for-radio 1982 anthem “Pass the Dutchie. But the Trenchtown-bred Diamonds—Donald “Tabby” Shaw, Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson and Lloyd “Judge” Ferguson—endured through the decades through the power of their Rastafarian faith and dedication to gorgeous vocals that equally sustained both their protest songs (“Why Me Black Brother Cry”) and more romantic compositions (“Shame and Pride”). The group’s debut, Right Time, is considered an album worthy of any and all who claim to have a library of essential roots classics. The group continues to be a regular on the Reggae Sunsplash Festival circuit, and this weekend they’ll be doling out soulful sufferation in downtown Riverside. Dem never love poor Marcus, but I and I will dig the Mighty Diamonds, my bredren.
The Mighty Diamonds w/The Revivers, Distant Drum Crew & MC Junor Francis at the Mission Tobacco Lounge, 3630 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 682-4427; www.missiontobaccolounge.com. Sun., July 5, 8PM $17. 21 and over.