formed - 1978
Cecil 'Skeleton' Spence
Albert 'Apple Gabriel' Craig
Lascelles 'Wiss' Bulgrin
Israel Vibration consists of three young men who met in a
polio rehab center. Their voices are among the holiest of
Jamaican trinities. Dr. Dread of RAS Records arranged their
reunion following a mid-'80s period of breakup, and reggae
fans have been thanking him ever since. Ever soulful, ever
sure, their voices are so close to the roots you can hear
the earth itself in their blending. After debuting in 1978
with Same Song, Israel Vibration recorded steadily
throughout the 1980s and 1990s, issuing three sets -- Feelin'
Irie!, Israel Dub and Free to Move -- in 1996 alone.
-- Courtesy (Roger Steffens, All-Music Guide) --
In the late 1950's a polio epidemic hit Jamaica. Three of
the many youths who fell victim to the disabling impact of
the virus were Cecil Spence, Albert Craig and Lascelle
Bulgin, later to be known respectively as "Skeleton",
"Apple" and "Wiss". The boys formed a vocal trio whilst
inmates of Kingston's Mona Heights Rehabilitation Centre,
eventually becoming known collectively as Israel Vibration.
As the doctrines of Rastafarian faith began to spread
through the island of Jamaica the youthful trio fell under
its influence and they began to grow dreadlocks - with the
result that they were expelled from their 'caring
institution'. For around the next five years they lived on
the streets on the streets of Kingston, literally busking a
living, until adopted by the Twelve Tribes of Israel
organisation. Other Rastas had refused to work with them
through the belief that Jah had caused their disability as
some form of punishment for previous wrongdoings.
In 1977 the Twelve Tribes financed their first single
release, "Why Worry". Recorded at the Treasure Island
studio, the tune appeared as a 7" on the Orthodox label
showing the trio as "Israel Vibration" and the backing
musicians as the Twelve Tribes Band.
The song and its delivery were markedly in the cultural
Rasta tradition - for reference check the early recordings
of Burning Spear. The record was a success, and after
appearing in talent contests the trio stepped up to become
an in-demand item for live shows, supporting the likes of
Dennis Brown, Inner Circle, Rita Marley etc. At this stage,
executive producer Tommy Cowan became interested and
financed further recordings, notably "The Same Song" for his
own Top Ranking imprint, the "b side" was a dub version "Jam
Musicians at the session for "The Same Song" single included
the Lewis Brothers, Roger and Ian from Inner Circle, known
at the time as Fatman Riddim Section.
Audiences at live performances were dumbfounded at the sight
of three handicapped young men delivering Rastafari's
righteous message via their own trademark - real time dubbed
vocals - whilst joyously skanking away on their crutches!
In 1978 different versions of both "Why Worry" and "The Same
Song" were recorded for the debut album which carried the
title of the latter hit song and was released on Top Ranking
in Jamaica and licensed via Harvest (EMI) in the UK. The set
was acknowledged as an instant classic in London's then
lucrative reggae market, there were even rumours of a
replica pirate version on sale! The quality of the companion
dub set, Israel Tafari, helped to cement the roots
reputation of Israel Vibration who had arrived on the scene
when fans where on the look-out for the next big vocal group
in the lineage and tradition of the Wailers, Heptones,
Wailing Souls, Mighty Diamonds etc. At the time "The Same
Song" album seemed to sell forever!
In 1980 Israel Vibration released the follow-up album
"Unconquered People" and have since continued in the same
vein with a string of melodic harmony-based sets.
To date they remain popular internationally and their live
performances are guranteed to be passionate affairs still
fully committed to the Rastafarian way of life. However it
is true to say that through their recording they have never
surpassed the initial achievement of the first album that
enduring classic - "The Same Song".
This is the classic set presented for vinyl reissue. The
reissue cut on CD for the first time contains the bonus of
an extended version of "The Same Song" replete with a dub
version, plus the 12" cut of a later single - "Crisis" -
featuring a melodica version by Augustus Pablo.
-- Courtesy (Steve Barker, "On The Wire", BBC Radio