Israel Vibration

Live & Jammin'

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Recorded during the duo's February 2003 tour of France, Live & Jammin' easily lives up to its title, with 16 songs and 70-plus minutes of sizzling music. Drawing from across their entire canon, this set could almost pass as a greatest-hits collection, bar the exclusion of numbers written and performed by former member Albert "Apple" Craig. With his departure, the Vibes lost the signature sound of their harmonies, and on-stage the duo rarely even duet; instead, each is individually supported by the harmonies of La Venia Brisset and Kimberley Miller. So this is not the Vibes of yore, but they sound great regardless. The show kicks off with a blistering version of the Soul Vendors' classic "Rockfort Rock," with the rhythm team of Macasea Bey and Errol "Flabba" Holt, along with rhythm guitarist Errol Moore, pumping away. Holt's sinuous, twisting, palpitating basslines are the centerpiece of all the arrangements, but that doesn't prevent lead guitarist Richard Butler and keyboardist Richard Johnson from easily grabbing their share of the glory across the set. And what a set it is, beautifully intermixing recent material like "Level Every Angle," "Jah Runnings," and "Jammin'" with such '90s faves as "Feeling Irie," "Vultures," and "Red Eyes." But then they reach further back in time to include a clutch of now ancient numbers drawn from their debut album -- "Ball of Fire," "Why Worry," "Licks and Kicks," and, of course, the title track, "The Same Song." There are over two decades' worth of numbers that are now truly timeless, with the band -- regardless of age -- ensuring that each sounds remarkably fresh and thoroughly contemporary, without stamping out their original appeal or turning them into modern parodies. Both Cecil "Skelly" Spence and Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin are in powerful form, the band magnificent, the atmosphere superb, and the music just keeps on flowing on. A fabulous live moment that everyone can now share.

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