One of the best of the roots vocal groups big in the late '70s, Israel Vibration made a successful comeback in 1986 after an extended sabbatical at the beginning of the dancehall era. Washington, D.C., reggae label RAS was there to bring the trio to a wider audience than before, releasing several slicked-up roots titles during the late '80s and throughout the '90s. Having met originally at a polio rehab center, singers Lacelle Wiss Bulgin, Albert Apple Craig, and Cecil Skelly Spence rode to the top of the international reggae circuit with their sweetly smoky, minor-mood vocal style. The band garnered some of that success thanks to their longstanding relationship with the great Roots Radics Band, one of the best outfits to emerge during the early dancehall years. This fine dub release shows both singers and players in top form on a selection of retooled tracks from the group's first two RAS albums. While the sound is less adventurously rustic than King Tubby's trailblazing dub sides from the '70s, Dub Vibration does strike an admirable balance between the digital sheen from electric drums and synthesizers and the roots riffing of bass, guitar, organ, and horns. Longtime producer Doctor Dread tweaks the mix just enough to still spotlight the basic tracks (no avant-garde sonic deconstructions á la Scientist here). Special mention goes to Radics' standouts like bassist Style Scott, drummer Flabba Holt, saxophonist Dean Fraser, and special guest player Augustus Pablo on organ and melodica. Highlights include "Dubbing Against Apartheid," "Dub Corner," and "Wavy Gravy Dub." Expect a few overly sweet cuts in an otherwise impressive set.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook