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Friday, February 5, 2016

Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons...Don't Waste It...1976 album

In late 1975, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons were formed in Melbourne as Jo Jo Zep and His Little Helpers. The band was put together after Ross Wilson (ex-Daddy Cool, Mighty Kong), who was waiting out his recording contract, had turned to producing other artists for the label, Oz Records. He decided to produce a version of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run", as a one-off Christmas single for Mushroom Records. Contractually, Wilson could not perform the vocals himself, so he asked his friend, Joe Camilleri (ex-The Pelaco Brothers with Stephen Cummings) to sing and play on the recording. Camilleri's nickname was Jo Jo Zep, which was derived from a traditional Maltese nickname for "Joseph", so the group was named Jo Jo Zep and His Little Helpers. The line-up included bass guitarist, John Power (ex-Foreday Riders).

Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons signed with Oz Records and, in July 1976, released their first single, "Beating Around the Bush". The track was written and sung by Wayne Burt and peaked at No. 73 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. The song was also one of two tracks by the group on Wilson's soundtrack for the feature film Oz (1976). The follow-up single was a cover of Otis Redding's "Security" sung by Camilleri, which peaked at No. 98. In February 1977, the band released their debut album, Don't Waste It, which was produced by Wilson and contained both singles. The album featured lead vocal turns by Camilleri, Burt and Power. The songwriting was mostly by Burt, with a few cover tunes, and one song by Camilleri. Although the intent was to be a serious R'n'B band, the musical direction was never set in stone.


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