Saturday, December 10, 2016

Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons - The Sound Of (1983)

(Australian 1975–1983, 2001-present)
One of the more popular Australian bands of their day, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons was primarily a vehicle for frontman Joe Camilleri, who assembled the group in Melbourne in 1975. The band's lineup fluctuated regularly over the years; in addition to Camilleri, the nucleus consisted of guitarists Jeff Burstin and Tony Faehse, bassist John Power, saxophonist Wilbur Wilde and drummer Gary Young. At the outset, the Falcons were a gritty, sax-powered R&B unit -- a sound dominant on their 1976 debut LP 'Don't Waste It' -- but they remained wildly unpredictable in the years to follow, moving from genre to genre with ease. 'Whip It Out' appeared in 1977, with 1979's 'Let's Drip Awhile' continuing the trend of unsavory album titles; that same year, the Falcons moved to the Mushroom label, soon issuing the LP 'Screaming Targets'. However, after 1980's 'Hats Off Step Lively' fared poorly, the band kept a low profile for several years before announcing their retirement in 1983.

Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, and primarily Joe Camilleri, will be remembered for their musical influences and styles. From 1975 to 1983 Joe investigated, invented and interpreted more avenues of music than most of his contemporaries and as you read below the entire history of Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons evolves.

Joe Camilleri talks about each track

1. RHYTHM AND BLUES -1975-1977

"SECURITY":  O.Redding. 2.55. From "Don't Waste It".
Otis sounds like Bob Marley here. We did the film clip at Pentridge Gaol in the condemned area. In return we had to play a concert for all the lifers one afternoon and my usual stage patter started as it would normally; 'Good evening ladies and gentlemen'!

"DANCING SHOES": W.Burt. 5.03. From "Don't Waste It".
This is a traditional R&B song in the same vein as John Lee Hooker. I played saxophone, with Wayne Burt on vocals, who had written this song about five years before recording it.

"HONEYDRIPPER": Joe Liggins. 4.18. Live version available on "Loud & Clear" and "Let's Drip Awhile".
Falcons at their best playing Soul/R&B. This song has been with me all the way and we originally learnt it before recording the first album. It's a great vehicle for the sax and a live concert classic.


"SO YOUNG": Camilleri/Burstin/Faehse 3.36 From "So Young" E.P.-1978.
I wrote this in Hawthorn. Melbourne and it was our first chart single. It's Reggae meets son of Blues, with many different time changes. It took the band a week to learn because it was so intricate and not like anything else we'd tried.

"HIT AND RUN": Camilleri/Burstin/Faehse. 4.36. From "Screaming Targets" - 1979.
This is the start of producer Peter Solley in our lives. He'd seen us play with The Sports when he was here working with them. At the time I think he just wanted a holiday but he came over anyway! I'd sent a tape to him without "Hit and Run" on it but when he heard it in the studio he was sold on the Falcons and has been ever since.This is my most exciting record, every day was big; recording, releasing and playing it and the band were at their best.

"SHAPE I'M IN": Camilleri/Burstin/Faehse. 3.30. From Screaming Targets" - 1979.
Peter Solley came to Australia to produce the Falcons on the strength of this song. It wasn't a giant hit but became a live monster with the crowds chanting the chorus. It used to happen all over the country, from Perth to Brisbane: it astounded us that the live version had taken on its own entity. Wilbur and I playing sax against each other. Tony's guitar solo is great.

3. POP-1980-1981.

"ALL I WANNA DO": Lilley/Cook. 3.02. From "Hats Off Step Lively" - 1980.
With the release of this and the "Hats Off" album, it was my most commercial time and it went well. The film clip was fun doing, with John Power's Roosevelt Dance and the monkey that sat on my head and tore hair out! Solley brought the song from England and already had the arrangement in his head and it fitted in with the songs I had written for the album. It had a sense of humour about it. We arrived home from overseas and every major radio station had picked it up which was magnificent.
Coincidentally, I met one of the co-writers in England, Cook, and he was the spitting image of Wayne Burt!

"PUPPET ON A STRING":  Camilleri/Burstin/Faehse. 3.31. From "Hats Off Step Lively" - 1980.
We were doing so well at this stage and I was happy when I wrote it. It has a pop beat and a good concept and it sees my own vocal style emerging, no longer sounding like anyone else.

"I WILL RETURN":  Camilleri/Burstin/Faehse.   3.19. From "Hats Off Step Lively" - 1980.
Here's the first attempt at using strings in the recording. We had a great arrangement for it and I had the whole song down and recorded apart from the very first bit which I just could not sing in tune for ages!

"SWEET": Camilleri/Burstin/Faehse. 3.43. From "Dexterity" mini-album -1981.
This was recorded specifically to go on the second American album "Step Lively". I had realised by this time that we didn't have to record every year and "Sweet" was a radical departure from previous material using modern drum sounds, heavy metal guitar and falsetto vocals. It was also a radio disaster - they stayed away in droves It was this song that was the basis of, and made possible, the "Cha" album; a totally fresh approach.

4. LATIN BIG BAND 1982-1983 - Using all previous influences.

"TAXI MARY": Camilleri/Burstki Faehse. 3.43. From "Cha"-1982.
Written about the same time as "Sweet", it was the first time for me with a big band and it was so hard to produce the song live. Jane Clifton's falsetto vocals added colour and it became a good sing-along track. It stood on its own, apart from the "Cha" album and like "Hit and Run" I didn't play it to Solley until we were in the studio.

"WALK ON BY": Bacharach/David. 3.49. From "Cha" - 1982.
Peter Solley and I recorded this classic arrangement on our own and it is his best keyboard work ever. Once again it was a radical departure but a good follow on to "Taxi".

"SHERRIE"   Camilleri Kelly (3.46) Cha - 1982.
Paul Kelly and I have written half a dozen songs together Since the 'Screaming Targets' days and although we are from different styles musically writing with him is always a pleasure.
I had the melody and the basic chorus for Sherrie and Paul added the lyrics and expanded my writing concepts for songs.

"LOSING GAME": Camilleri/Gyllies. 4.29.
On single only. This nearly went on "Cha" but we decided on a single instead and it's the first single for us in America. I produced it with Eddie Raynor which could be a promising team for the future.

Michelle Higgins talks about Jo Jo Zep

While thriving on watching bands every day of the week, the greatest possible thing is to be hit by lightning. Going to a concert or to an hotel gig and without warning, seeing and hearing a band on stage that stops you in your tracks is one of the most pleasurable feelings and one exclusive to the music fan. When we talk of Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons 1975-1983 we are really talking about Joe Camilleri, for even though in the beginning he was not the band instigator, he named the band and became the band leader.

Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons' most important contribution to music is the multiplicity of brilliantly treated styles they pursued, from R&B through Soul, Rock, Reggae, Ska and Salsa. The Falcons have given audiences in Australia and overseas some of the best live concerts known to man. Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons are worth getting hot and sweaty for. That saxophone belting into "Security", you can hear a pin drop during "Walk on By ", guitarists Jeff Burstin and Tony Faeshe singing higher than soprano vocals on "Sweet"!
There are very few places in Australia Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons haven't worked in the last eight years and they have always had a legion of fans who never tired of the tour campaigns. "F.F.F.F.Falcon Fanatic", "Your Town Our Target", "Falcons Lift-Off"- positive stuff.

Positive yes. The ongoing strive to let the world know about Joe Camilleri and Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons (not yet complete) has been a continual business by a large team of managers, record company people, media, agents, promoters, friends, crews, producers and engineers. And it's not often you've got all these people on the one side at once and all dedicated fans. Joe Camilleri is a man of great musical enterprise, initiative and knowledge that he doesn't hesitate to pass on to other musicians; and he also has the pizazz of a true star. For years the Falcons never had a song list on stage, Joe would just get to the end of a song, say "Hit and Run" and depending on the crowd feeling he would automatically throw the band into "Honey Dripper" or"Taxi Mary"!

A delight live and a recording success: gold albums, top ten singles and albums, awards and an ever-increasing audience. This album is designed as the complete guide to Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons: tracking stories, band changes, discographies. To get to the nucleus of the band however, its tremendous personalities and characters, the music really is the final word.Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons were my favourite band. Joe Camilleri - a great musician and a gentleman. [Cover notes by Michelle Higgins]
I have fond memories of seeing Jo Jo Zep play many of the tracks on this compilation, along with other hits such as "Girl Across The Street" and "Don't Wanna Come Down", on many occasions at La Trobe Uni, Bundoora back in 1977. They were a big favourite with the Uni crowds at the time and always produced an exciting stage show. Joe and Wilbur were certainly the show stoppers. I also had the privilege of seeing them play at other venues such as Bombay Rock and Martini's.

This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy that was recently given to me by a mate (thanks Ian). This completed my collection of Jo Jo Zep albums which I have being collecting since their conception, so I thought I'd share it here with you. Full album artwork for LP and CD are included along with label scans.
I have also included the two tracks listed previously as bonus tracks, the live version of "Girl Across The Street" taken from their 12" EP Live! Loud & Clear (see cover below) and "Don't Wanna Come Down" taken from 'Screaming Targets'. So get ya dancin' shoes on folks and get ready for some classic R & B, Soul, Rock, Reggae, Ska and Salsa, cause Joe and the boys are back in town.
Track Listing
01 - The Honeydripper     4:01
02 - Dancing Shoes     5:03
03 - Security         2:53
04 - I Will Return     3:20
05 - All I Wanna Do     3:04
06 - Sweet         3:44
07 - So Young         3:35
08 - Losing Game     5:16
09 - Shape I'm In     3:31
10 - Hit & Run         3:44
11 - Puppet On A String 3:32
12 - Walk On By     3:49
13 - Taxi Mary         3:59
14 - Sherrie         3:39
15 - Girl Across The Street (Bonus Live) 5:26
16 - Don't Wanna Come Down (Bonus)     3:23

Jo Jo Zep were:
----------- 1975 --------
Joe Camilleri (Vocals, Sax)
Jeff Burstin (Guitars, Vocals)
Wayne Burt (Guitars, Songwriting)
John Power (Bass, Vocals)
Gary Young (Drums)
----------1977 -----------
Wilbur Wilde (Sax, Vocals)
Tony Faehse (Guitar, Vocals)
---------- 1982 ----------
Simon Gyllies (Bass, Vocals)
Fred Strauks (Drums)
---------- 1982/83 -------
Jane Clifton (Vocals)

Jo Jo Zep FLACs Link (387Mb)
Jo Jo Zep MP3's Link (147Mb)


  1. Have owned this for yonks, thanks for saving me a rip.

  2. Joe is a living legend. Thanks so much for sharing this

  3. Replies
    1. Hey - sorry, but not sure what you are asking. (Both downloads work so no need to re-upload)

  4. Thanks AR never ever thanked you for this.


  5. Thanks for sharing this, Guy.

    Hobart Tony