Black Sorrows are back with a new album and national tour

For Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, the new album 'Citizen John' is about perpetual change. Picture: Supplied
For Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, the new album 'Citizen John' is about perpetual change. Picture: Supplied

"I'm on my 49th album. 21st with the Black Sorrows," says Joe Camilleri with a sideways glance that dares you to believe it.

"So there's a lot of sins I got to repent."

For those who came in late, the 48 recordings that arrived before new disc Citizen John range from the '70s soul-ska revolution of Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, the peerless FM radio conquest of Hold Onto Me and Harley & Rose and, from the Drollies circa '65 to Bakelite Radio and the Revelators, which is probably more soul-fed, sweat-soaked bar bands than he cares to count.

Right now though, it's all about Citizen John, and as the new album opens onto the rain-soaked black-country panorama of Wednesday's Child, it is the only album that matters to Joe.

All that came before - six decades' worth of songs that flow like molten gold through the annals of Australian music - has been leading to this expertly crafted world of soul and intrigue.

A staggering 55 years on, Citizen John drinks from the same bottomless well that made Jo Jo Zep and the Falcon's Screaming Targets and the late '80s Black Sorrows blockbuster Hold Onto Me indelible landmarks in the history of Australian music.

In one sense however, the key is what remains the same: the gut-wrenching stories of lyricist Nick Smith and the deep roots in rhythm and blues of countless shades that sustain long-time touring companions Claude Carranza (guitar), Mark Gray (bass) and Angus Burchall (drums).

And as is the norm, The Black Sorrows take to the highways of Australia to showcase the new album, including a feature performance at Bluesfest in Byron Bay, before heading back to Europe for a string of dates in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

And as is the norm, The Black Sorrows take to the highways of Australia to showcase the new album, including a feature performance at Bluesfest in Byron Bay.

And as is the norm, The Black Sorrows take to the highways of Australia to showcase the new album, including a feature performance at Bluesfest in Byron Bay.

For Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, the new album is about perpetual change.

"I'm not a heritage act. I've never been a heritage act," Camilleri says.

"I've always been a constant player. The Sorrows continue to thrive and grow not because we're an '80s band, or a '90s band, or any other kind of band.

"We exist because of the now. Just treat me like a new act. It's just that this one's got a very old face."

The Black Sorrows have two gigs at the Camelot Lounge in Marrickville on April 10 and 11.

The April 11 show is a sell out but there are still tickets available for Wednesday, April 10 at 8pm