Dark ‘knights’ eye reggae Grammy


Reggae Knights goes up against Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express Live!, Stephen Marley’s Revelation Pt 1: The Root of Life, Ziggy Marley’s Wild and Free and Shaggy’s Summer in Kingston.

The Grammy Awards take place in Los Angeles on February 12.

Released digitally in November, 2010 by Mediacom, Reggae Knights hears original members Lascelle ‘Wiss’ Bulgin and Cecil ‘Skelly’ Spence working with the Roots Radics Band, Robbie Shakespeare and Dean Fraser.

Little has been heard locally of the 14-track set which some critics say lack the punch of the group’s earlier work. The Reggaeville.com website panned the album, saying ‘While fans of Israel Vibration might be contented with Reggae Knights, it is a little too uninspired to become a classic such as The Same Song, Strength of My Life, or Forever or On the Rock.’

Interestingly, Bad Intention, one of the stronger tracks from the album, was recorded in 1976 when the group was a trio. Bulgin, Spence and Albert ‘Apple’ Craig formed Israel Vibration while they were patients at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre in St Andrew.

They recorded sporadically during the roots-reggae craze of the 1970s. Their big break came in 1979 when they recorded the inspirational The Same Song for producer Tommy Cowan.

The song, which called for unity among the different Rasta houses, remains Israel Vibration’s signature piece. They were struggling to make it musically when they met Gary ‘Dr Dread’ Himelfarb, owner of RAS Records, a fledgling, all-reggae independent company in Washington, DC.

Himelfarb had been a fan of the group since he heard The Same Song and helped relaunch their career in 1988 with the album, Strength Of My Life. It set the pace for other strong albums and songs like Rudeboy Shuffling.

Most of the RAS projects featured the Roots Radics which included bass player ‘Flabba’ Holt, guitarist Dwight Pinkney and drummer Lincoln ‘Style’ Scott.

In 1997, Craig left the group for a solo career. Israel Vibration continues to record and tour, especially in Europe and North America.





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