Israel Vibration Biography

Comprising Cecil ‘Skeleton’ Spence, Albert ‘Apple’ Craig and Lascelles ‘Wiss’ Bulgrin, this vocal group was formed while the members, all crippled in infancy during the polio epidemic that swept Jamaica in the 50s, were inmates at Kingston’s Mona Rehabilitation Centre. Resident since childhood, they were expelled after they began to grow dreadlocks in accordance with their Rastafarian beliefs. For six years they lived rough, literally singing for their supper. Their attempts to survive on handouts from the institution in which they had lived for most of their lives were met with indifference, hostility, and sometimes brutality. Their first release, ‘Why Worry’ (1976), financed by the Twelve Tribes organization to whom they had become affiliated, and recorded at Treasure Isle Studio, was a big success, as were their live shows supporting Dennis Brown and Bob Marley. In 1978 they teamed up with Inner Circle’s Lewis Brothers, Ian and Roger aka the Fatman Riddim Section, to record their debut, The Same Song, for Tommy Cowan’s Top Ranking label. It swiftly became hailed as an instant roots classic, as did its dub companion, Israel Tafari. Same Song and its follow-up, Unconquered People (1980), appeared through a licensing agreement with Harvest Records in the UK, as did the 12-inch ‘Crisis’, which featured a melodica version by Augustus Pablo. The group’s unique brand of gentle, rural-sounding harmonies and sincere Rasta lyrics has sustained them across a number of albums - mostly released through RAS Records in the USA - over the years, especially in the international market, where they continue to flourish.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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