“You take the job on for various reasons. Sometimes it’s the money. Sometimes you got nothing to do. Other times it’s the challenge. It’s a hardcore thing, to go back to some songs that, whether you’ve done them justice or not, are part of Australian history. It’s a brave thing to do.”
Joe Camilleri knows something about Australian history. In nearly 40 years on stage, the Black Sorrows is just one vehicle he’s driven clear into this country’s rock’n’roll pantheon. The acoustic album ONE MO’ TIME is like a short cut to the heart of it with no baggage, a hand-tooled model of a national treasure.
“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the more prepared I am, the better I understand a song, the better I am at expressing those emotions to someone else,” he says.
“I tried a few new songs but I felt that wasn’t really the answer to this project. It’s not about me trying to show someone that I’ve moved on. I know I’ve moved on. This is more an opportunity to pay homage to these songs, to have a look at them again, to take a breath and see what’s there.”
ONE MO’ TIME picks 14 jewels from the Sorrows’ crown, a trip from cult r’n’b obscurity to top of the pops circa ‘89/ ’90 and back to Joe’s roots heartland. It spans from one of the first tunes Joe and lyricist Nick Smith ever wrote, Country Girls, to a lost gem called That’s What I’d Give (For Your Love) – “always a Sorrows song, we just never got around to recording it.”
Sorrows classics Harley and Rose and Hold Onto Me are among the tunes reborn by the spirit of discovery that’s always fuelled his music. Ain’t Love The Strangest Thing is one of those that grows stronger with the singer’s own authority and life experience.
“I thought the Chosen Ones came up a treat with the new chord progression,” he says. “The songs that had a nice flow already worked naturally: Lucky Charm, Dear Children I thought was pretty good, Daughters of Glory. They seem to stand the test of time, those songs.”
ONE MO’ TIME was recorded in six days with guitarist Jeff Burstin, pianist James Black, Ed Bates on pedal steel, Tony Floyd on drums, Steve Hadley on bass with Joe Creighton, Nick Smith and Joe himself on backing vocals.
“Sometimes you get a few people in a studio and you just go ‘Boom’,” he says. “This is just like walking softly through what you do. These songs were in my head and my heart. Some of them I still play today. It was easy.”
1 Harley and Rose
2 The Chosen Ones
3 Dear Children
4 Daughters of Glory
5 Ain't Love The Strangest Thing
6 Snake Skin Shoes
7 Brown Eyed Girl
8 That's What I'd Give (For Your Love)
9 Hold On To Me
11 Lucky Charm
12 Country Girls
13 Better Times
14 Come On Come On