In the late 1950s 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.
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!
While the group has over twenty albums, spanning three decades, in their catalog, it is true to say that they have never surpassed the initial achievement of the first album, that enduring classic – The Same Song.