Israel Vibration (formed in 1970) is a popular Jamaican roots reggae band that rose to prominence in the late 1970s and opened for the likes of Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica.
Originally formed of members Lascelle “Wiss” Bulgin, Cecil “Skeleton” Spence, and Albert “Apple Gabriel” Craig, the trio met whilst recovering from polio at the Mona Rehabilitation Clinic in Kingston. Prior to Israel Vibration’s formation, Spence made his television debut alongside the band Hot Lickers at the age of 12. Spence subsequently began making music with Craig, later seeking the musical talents of tailor, Bulgin. The trio funded their excursions by performing on the streets for change, strongly developing Israel Vibration’s confidence and live performance skills.
In 1975 the trio recorded the track “Bad Intention” at Channel One Studios, however failed to find an official release. Despite this, a year later Israel Vibration earned their big break when they received a grant from the Twelve Tribes of Israel branch of Rastafarai and subsequently issued their debut single “Why Worry”. The record earned significant radio play and led the group to open for the likes of Denis Brown, Inner Circle, and Bob Marley. Alongside producer Tommy Cowan, the band followed the release with the single “The Same Song” released on Top Ranking Records in 1977. The full-length of the same name followed the year after, as did the dub counterpart CD “Israel Tafari”, the success of which led Israel Vibration to sign with the EMI imprint Harvest.
The full-length “Unconquered People” arrived in 1980, followed a year later by the recording of “Why You So Craven” with iconic dancehall producer Junjo Lawes, however due to disagreements the band walked out on Lawes. Following an enthusiastically reviewed performance at 1982’s Reggae Sunsplash, with the domination of dancehall in Jamaica and greater medical provision, the trio moved to New York City, U.S.
The move, initially a disappointment, was made fruitful in 1987 when the band approached RAS Records’ man Doctor Dread, who signed the group to his roster. Israel Vibration’s first album since moving to the U.S. “Strength of My Life” features contributions from the Roots Radics and is largely regarded as a return to form for the trio. The group continued to craft their brand of roots reggae well into the 1990s, most notably on 1990’s “Praises”, “Dub Vibration” and “Israel Dub”, the 1992 live album “Vibes Alive”, 1993’s “IV”, and 1995’s “On the Rock”. A pair of albums followed before Israel Vibration’s Craig left the group to go solo and later released the full-length “Another Moses” in 1999. Undeterred by Craig’s departure, Spence and Bulgin continued to please their loyal fan base by issuing a prodigious eight albums over the next 15 years, cementing their position as icons of the roots reggae genre.