This Australian R&B band was formed in Melbourne, Victoria in 1976 and based around talented frontman, Joe Camilleri, who shaped the band’s musical direction and provided the focal point on stage. Initially the band recorded covers of well-known blues and R&B material, before eventually writing their own songs in the same vein. As a popular live act on the Melbourne circuit, their performances were exciting, their musicianship high and the band was well regarded in the industry. Joe Camilleri gathered quality musicians around him, such as John Power (bass) and Wilbur Wilde (saxophone) and two ex-members of Daddy Cool, songwriter Wayne Burt (guitar) and Gary Young (drums). The band continued the tradition of hard work, playing the pubs and smaller venues along the Australian east coast. A contract with the Australian label Mushroom Records started an association with English producer Pete Solley, which led to five hit singles in Australia, and ensured that their records were released in the USA and the UK where the band also toured. The hits dried up and Camilleri shortened the name to Jo Jo Zep in 1982 for a new 11-piece band and a more modern sound. The band continued in a reduced format until the end of 1983, remaining a successful live act. In 1984 Camilleri’s next project, the zydeco-influenced Black Sorrows was launched.
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