Israel Vibration Biography

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Birth Place: Jamaica
Years Active: 1970s - present
Genres: Reggae

Israel Vibration is a reggae group that formed in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. The founding members Lascelle “Wiss” Bulgin, Albert “Appel Gabriel” Craig, and Cecil “Skelly” Spence were childhood friends that met at the Mona Rehabilitation Clinic while recovering from polio. The trio remained in contact and formed Israel Vibration as teens, getting their musical start performing on the streets of Kingston.

Spence was a member of the band Hot Lickers, appearing on Jamaican television with the group at the age of 12. He also played in the Jamaican wheelchair basketball team, but was forced out in 1969 after adopting the Rastafarian faith, something which the three had in common when they were later reunited.

Spence and Craig got together in Kingston and sought out Bulgin, who at the time was working as a tailor. They formed a vocal group, initially adopting the name Israel Vibration Israel Vibrates, soon becoming simply Israel Vibration. They survived on money earned singing in the streets for several years, and in 1975 attempted to launch a recording career at Channel One Studios, but the track they recorded there, “Bad Intention,” was not released.

Funding for their first album came in the form of a grant from the Twelve Tribes of Israel branch of Rastafarai after Hugh Booth, a member of the Twelve Tribes, overheard the three men singing in a wooded area outside Kingston. Apple and Wiss were living in the area, which they had converted into a home. Recorded at the Treasure Isle studio in 1976, their debut release was the single “Why Worry,” released on the Twelve Tribes label late that year. The single was successful enough for the group to be offered support slots at shows by artists such as Dennis Brown, Inner Circle, and Bob Marley

They then began working with producer Tommy Cowan, releasing “The Same Song” (on which they were backed by members of Inner Circle) on his Top Ranking label in 1977, and their debut album of the same name followed in 1978. The album and its dub counterpart, “Israel Tafari” (“Same Song Dub”) were a success internationally, leading to a deal with EMI label imprint Harvest to reissue the album in the U.K., The label also released Israel Vibration’s second album, “Unconquered People,” in 1980.

For their third album, 1981’s “Why You So Craven,” they worked with Henry "Junjo" Lawes but disagreements meant that they left the album unfinished, with Lawes getting The Tamlins to complete it. The group relocated to New York in 1982 to seek professional health care, and escape the growing dancehall movement in Jamaica, but struggled to break through there and they split up.

They each attempted to launch solo careers, with Bulgin releasing the “Mr Sunshine” album in 1985, but by 1987 they decided to re-launch Israel Vibration. Having all been turned down when they approached Gary “Dr. Dread” Himmelfarb, founder of RAS Records, during their solo period, they received a positive response when they approached him as a group.

They went on to record a new album at the Lion and Fox Recording Studios in College Park, Maryland, backed by the Roots Radics. “Strength of my Life” was the group's fourth album, released in 1988.

The band stayed with RAS into the 21st century, releasing more than a dozen albums for the label.





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