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Hold On to Me

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Album Review

Legend has it that Joe Camilleri was kicked out of one of his earliest bands for sounding too much like Mick Jagger. If that's the case, Camilleri managed to overcome his problem in a unique way by the time of this, Black Sorrows' fifth album: Here, he makes himself sound just like Van Morrison instead. In fact, on tracks like "Glorybound" and "The Chosen Ones," Camilleri manages to channel the voice and persona of the Belfast bluesman so convincingly, it's hard to believe that Camilleri's performance pseudonym "Joey Vincent" isn't actually a cover for the "Van the Man" himself. Still, as impressive as that achievement may be, Hold On to Me isn't merely some sort of second-rate Van Morrison knock-off or tribute album. Camilleri and company may borrow many of the same ingredients that Morrison uses to make his music — blues, soul, and R&B, as well as flashes of gospel, country, folk, and even Brill building pop — but the trick is in mixing those well-worn ingredients together and coming up with something new. That's where Black Sorrows show that they're fit to be mentioned in the same breath with artists like Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones (or more contemporary critical favorites like John Hiatt, Paul Kelly, or Nick Lowe) — every song on Hold On to Me sounds like it could be a classic (and classy) radio staple, without sounding like a copy of anything else. Not only is Hold On to Me's literate songwriting (by Camilleri and lyricist Nick Smith) superb, but the playing is also uniformly excellent (and, at times, positively inspired), and vocalists Camilleri and Linda and Vika Bull (the latter two making their debut on a Black Sorrows record) are soulful and gritty throughout. In the Sorrows' native Australia, Hold On to Me spawned three hit singles (the title track, "The Crack-Up," and "Chained to the Wheel"), and came to be regarded as an all-time homegrown masterpiece. But Hold On to Me deserves to be remembered as more than just an Australian classic — this is a record that deserves to be heard and hailed by music fans the world over.

Customer Reviews

You won't/can't stop swinging along

A classic from the iconic Australian Black Sorrows. From the go get this album is packed with the best of what these great artists have to offer. The harmonies provided by Linda & Vika Bull complement the vocals of the legendary Joey Vincent. I am lucky enough to have this album on vinyl and the credits are a who's who of the cream of Australian based artists in 1988. Do yourself a favor..


Formed: 1984 in Australia

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Joe Camilleri, the man behind the Black Sorrows, is one of Australia's most talented artists. Camilleri started during the '60s with bands such as the King Bees and Adderley Smith Blues Band. His reputation grew during the '70s after appearing with Lipp and the Double Dekker Brothers and the Pelaco Brothers, but it wasn't until he formed Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons in 1975 that he achieved national fame. Renowned for their live performances, they released several albums and singles before breaking...
Full Bio
Hold On to Me, The Black Sorrows
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  • $16.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 20 September 1988

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