Judge to sing ‘sweet’ song for Tabby Diamond; funeral on Friday
Lloyd ‘Judge Diamond’ Ferguson has selected a special song from the Mighty Diamonds’ extensive catalogue to pay tribute to his lifelong friend and group member, Tabby Diamond, at Friday’s thanksgiving service for the life of the much-loved lead singer. It is titled Sweet Lady; however, Judge has spent some time tweaking the lyrics.
“It’s a nice, quiet tune,” a reflective Judge Diamond shared with The Gleaner. “Is years ago we sing that tune. Maybe a lot of people don’t know it ... is a lot of songs we do yuh know; 46 albums and a lot of singles. But on this Diamonds’ tune, I change up a couple of the lines to suit Tabby.”
It was only last Wednesday that Judge attended the funeral for ‘Bunny Diamond’, the other original member of the trio, who passed away on April 1 after a prolonged illness, a few days after Tabby died violently. Judge is still wrapping his head around what he terms “an experience”.
“In the space of couple days the two of dem gone?” he asked, still sounding a bit dazed. “Mi kinda a bear a weight right now, but yuh haffi just gwaan trust in God and keep yuh head above di water. Mi working with time to get the healing.”
He expressed gratitude to all his friends within the industry, and fans across the globe, who have been sending words of encouragement and love. The deaths of two members of the group could signal the end of the journey for the Mighty Diamonds, but Judge has taken the decision to press on.
“So many people have been telling me that I should get some good people around me and go on the road. Music is what we have been doing for more than 50 years — me, Bunny and Tabby. The song nice man,” he said, referring to Sweet Lady.
“ I went back there last night along the shore/I see your face in every wave that breaks/Holding on to memories that fill my mind ... Sweet lady just smile for me once more...” the lyrics state in the first verse.
The service of thanksgiving for Donald ‘Tabby Diamond’ Shaw will take place at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre on Friday, starting at 11 a.m, a release from Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange stated. Judge Ferguson will lead a musical tribute that will also feature performances by Bongo Herman; Dr Carlene Davis; Dean Fraser; Duane Stephenson; and Leroy Sibblies, along with members of the Shaw family.
On Thursday, May 19, there will be a public viewing at Perry’s Funeral Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“In keeping with the wishes of the family I am asking that there be no taking of photographs or videoing of Tabby’s remains at the viewing or at the thanksgiving service. I again express my deepest sympathy to Tabby’s daughters, Samantha, Josheina, Kelee, Dasheica, and Ishika, and to his sons, Donald, Javian, Jahmarley and Tarrow, and to Judge Diamond,” Grange said.
Shock waves passed through the music industry when news came on the night of March 29 that 67-year-old Tabby Diamond was one of two people murdered on McKinley Crescent in St Andrew. The Mighty Diamonds are responsible for some of reggae music’s anthems, including Pass The Kouchie, Right Time, I Need A Roof and Heads Of Government.
During the National Honours and Awards ceremony on October 18, 2021, the Mighty Diamonds were bestowed with the Order of Distinction for their contribution to the development of Jamaican music.