Aussie band Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons could almost have been Graham Parker and the Rumour under another name. They also sounded like Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Ian Dury’s Blockheads and Rockpile, all rolled into one.
The Falcons’ records skirted the edge of the Australian Top 10 between 1979 and 1982, and the group made several overseas forays. But their chart success was always overshadowed by their stunning live performances – building an impressive wall of saxes and axes and belting out modified reggae shuffles and new wave pop gems (such as So Young, Hit and Run and Shape I’m In) to enthusiastic and capacity audiences.
But when band leader Joe Camilleri led the group out of R&B and into the Latin-tinged era of the Cha album, Australia wasn’t quite ready for a sophisticated mixture of hip-hop and salsa.
Camilleri wound-up Jo Jo Zep in 1983 and started “a little cafe band” called the Black Sorrows.