Although two of the bands in which Joe Camilleri played (Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons and the Black Sorrows) had a good number of chart records in his native Australia between the late '70s and late '80s, his name doesn't mean much overseas. This two-CD compilation of highlights from his recording career won't change that, though it's a thoughtfully culled and annotated selection, adding up to two-and-a-half hours of music. Camilleri can't fail to recall a number of white singers who draw heavily from R&B/soul music, particularly Van Morrison, but also blue-eyed soul singers like Boz Scaggs and bar bands such as Huey Lewis & the News; some Elvis Costello also pokes through at times. Those aren't bad names to be compared to, but the trouble is, Camilleri doesn't have nearly as much to offer in the way of originality (or even in vocal personality or a way with a radio-friendly hook, if you're lowering your expectations to Scaggs or Lewis rather than Morrison or Costello). It's passable journeyman roots rock, sometimes bringing in influences from reggae, rockabilly, and even middle-of-the-road pop. I Believe to My Soul: The Best Of 1977-2003 is certainly wide-ranging, including a lot of material from both Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons (who were around in the late '70s and early '80s) and the Black Sorrows (who spanned the mid-'80s to the late '90s), as well as some solo tracks and recordings with other bands. But such a bulky, time-consuming retrospective doesn't quite seem justified by the quality of the music.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Joey Vincent
Track Listing - Disc 2
feat: The Revelators