The story of international
reggae group Israel Vibrations success starts out with their humbling beginnings as
children in a Jamaican rehabilitation center, battling polio, a disease that attacks the
central nervous system, producing muscular atrophy and often death. The whole island of
Jamaica had an outbreak of this epidemic in the 1950s after a shipment of used clothing
from England was found to contain the polio virus and many of the islands poor people
could not afford to raise these children.
After spending several years at the Mona
Rehabilitation Clinic on the outskirts of Kingston, Lacelle Bulgin (Wiss), Albert Craig
(Apple) and Cecil Spence (Skelly) began to exhibit interests in music playing piano and
other instruments that were laying around at the clinic. They also became very close
friends and as they became teenagers they started to adhere to the teachings of Rastafari.
This caused some consternation with the administrators of the clinic and they were ordered
to trim their locks, stop preaching to the other patients about Jah Rastafari or they
would be asked to leave. Steadfast in their beliefs they were unable to eschew their
religion and were eventually thrown out of the clinic.
With no money or family to care for them,
these three soldiers found themselves sleeping under trees in a field at night with only
cardboard as their bed. Sometimes passersby would give them some food or money to help
them get through another day. This sufferation caused them to begin writing songs and
creating harmonies where each member took a turn singing lead, with the other two
providing a type of harmony where their voice would vibrate. This distinctive style lead
to them taking the name Israel Vibration since they has become members of a Rastafarian
organization known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Eventually word of these homeless singers
spread and noted Jamaican producer Tommy Cowan brought them to a studio in Kingston to
record what would become their first LP "The Same Song". This was picked up by
EMI in England and their fame now became worldwide. Even Bob Marley picked them as his
favorite group and had them play with Bob on a number of shows in Kingston. Jamaica. Their
next album, "Unconquered People" was recorded at Bobs Tuff Gong Studio and
featured many of the Wailers as musicians.