A cappella field hollers, gospel, folk blues and spirituals.
01 That Suits Me 3:53
02 I Want My Crown 4:03
03 I Wonder Will My Mother Be On That Train 2:21
04 The Soul Of A Man 4:19
05 Leave You In The Hands Of My God 3:32
06 Grinning In Your Face 4:07
07 If I Had A Ticket 3:19
08 Youre Gonna Need Somebody 4:29
09 Going Home Big Boy 1:57
10 Then We'll Need That True Religion 4:06
11 Can't Nobody Hide From God 2:59
12 Go Down Old Hannah 1:56
13 13 Gallis Pole 3:34
14 14 He's Got The Whole World In His Hands 2:15
15 15 Hey Rattler Hey 2:10
16 Victory Is Mine 2:11
17 Sheep Sheep 1:47
18 Yonder Come Day 2:38
19 Grey Goose 2:26
20 20 Army Of The Lord 4:02
X PRESS MAGAZINE
BLUES AUSTRIA - August 18, 2022
Bereits im Jnner 2005 rezensierte Clever auf Blues.at eine CD von Steve
Tallis “loko”. Nun erhielten wir neuerlich ein Stck aus dem fernen
Australien. – Steve Tallis hat sich wieder ins Studio begeben, diesmal trgt
die CD den Namen “jezebel spirit”.
Und whrend auf “loko” alle Nummern von Steve selbst komponiert worden sind,
nimmt er sich nun der Einflsse aus Blues, Gospel und Spirituals an. Er hat
alte Bluesstandards zusammengetragen, teilweise umarrangiert, und verleiht
ihnen seine ganz eigene, persnliche Note.
Ich habe die CD whrend der letzten Wochen die ganze Zeit laufen lassen und
war immer mehr hingerissen von ihr. Steve Tallis verfgt ber eine sehr eigene
Stimme, an die ich mich erst gewhnen mute. Seine Lieder sind auch nicht
perfekt gesungen, aber voller Hingabe, und man kann sich vorstellen, da genau
so die Nummern ber die Musiker-Generationen weitergetragen worden sind.
Besonders gut gefallen mir die A Capella-Nummern, er hat auch sehr viele
Gospels auf die CD gebrannt. Alles in allem 20 Songs, die meisten von ihnen
wohlbekannt, daher so etwas wie ein “Best of” von Blues und Gospel. Da finden
sich Covers von Blind Willie Johnson und Leadbelly, Lieder wie “The Soul of a
Man” oder “If I had a ticket”.
Ich finde, diese CD ist ein sehr empfehlenswertes Stck, und vielleicht kommt
Steve einmal auf einer seiner Tourneen nach sterreich, da werde ich dann
sicher bei einem Konzert dabei sein.
Rezension zu “loko”
HP Steve Tallis
ABC DIG INTERNET RADIO – STUART MATCHETT
ABC DIG INTERNET RADIO - STUART MATCHETT - June 29, 2006
Steve Tallis is a dedicated and prolific Perth blues guitarist and
singer. He performs old authentic blues and their precursors, field
hollers. His capturing of the original feeling of these mostly
traditional songs is what is important here.
Stuart Matchett @ Dig Internet Radio / ABC (29/6/2006)
MOJOS AND JELLYROLLS -2EARFM – TONY JAGGERS
MOJOS AND JELLYROLLS -2EARFM - TONY JAGGERS - August 18, 2022
I gotta be honest if you told me six months ago that I’d be listening to
a CD like yours I’d have scoffed……but its beauty is its emotion and
the simplicity – man you’ve turned my head around!
Tony Jaggers @ Mojos and Jellyrolls (2EAR FM, Eurobodalla, NSW)
MELBOURNE BLUES APPRECIATION SOCIETY – GRANT COLLIE
MELBOURNE BLUES APPRECIATION SOCIETY - GRANT COLLIE - June 1, 2006
Steve has a strong hard voice but still puts enormous feel and meaning
into his music. This CD has 20 tracks, most of them being penned by
Steve. He plays acoustic guitar with plenty of verve and supplies plenty
of backing for the tracks. The Style of music is towards country blues,
gospels & ballads. This is a most enjoyable, well produced CD with many
different tracks. Steve can be found at www.stevetallis.com
Grant Collie @Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society – June 2006
ABC RADIO NATIONAL – THE PLANET
ABC RADIO NATIONAL - THE PLANET - Doug Spencer / Lucky Oceans - May 1, 2006
“Fiercely independent, uncompromising Perth-based singer/guitarist Steve
Tallis’s new CD Jezebel Spirit is a stripped back but intense collection
of field hollers, blues and spirituals. Born in the Perth suburb of
Maylands, he grew up surrounded by the music of his Macedonian ancestors
and was drawn to blues and other powerful music with incantational
qualities. On Jezebel Spirit, when he’s not singing solo, he
accompanied only by his slashing acoustic guitar and Gary Ridge
Doug Spencer / Lucky Oceans @ The Planet (Radio National)(May 2006)
GROOVE MAGAZINE (QLD) – MIKE FREEMAN
GROOVE MAGAZINE (QLD) - MIKE FREEMAN - August 1, 2006
Quite intrigued by the title of Steve Tallis new CD Jezebel Spirit, I
looked it up on Google. Jezebel was a Queen of Israel around 800BC and she
seems to have been blamed ever since for painting her face and introducing
pagan practices that were frowned upon by the prophetic powers that were.
There are still hugely bipolar views between her supporters and detractors
(Google her yourself its a good read), and Jezebel Spirit seems to
epitomize the struggle in the collective consciousness of the Deep South
between the Church and darker and perhaps older religions. Within this
struggle is the argument about recognising (or not) a female aspect to deity.
There are twenty fine songs on Jezebel Spirit, which is a window onto the
Deep South in the early part of the twentieth century. Most of the songs are
traditional, but the CD also includes arrangements of songs by Blind Willie
Johnson, Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly) and Eddie (Son) House. Within this
collection you can hear unaccompanied field hollers and acoustic guitar songs
evocative of a by-gone time when the blues and folk blues as we now know them
were in their formative years. Steve himself describes it as a cappella field
hollers, gospel, folk blues and spirituals.
For a capella try I Wonder Will My Mother Be On That Train and Sheep Sheep
Dont You Know The Road, both replete with religious messages and both very
powerfully sung by Steve. For folk blues try the excellent rendering of
Gallis Pole as originally arranged by Leadbelly and later of course quite
differently by Jimmy Page as Gallows Pole. Steve Tallis arrangement is
acoustic thunder and has a vocal intensity to suit. And try also I Want My
Crown, a mans reflection in later years and his conclusion that hes still
got some get up and go in him.
Gospel messages (and the evident enthusiasm with which they were and are sung)
feature heavily in Jezebel Spirit. With old rousing favorites like Hes Got
The Whole World In His Hands, Victory Is Mine and Army of the Lord
theres plenty of happiness to balance the fear of the Gallis Pole.
The vocal and guitar work on Jezebel Spirit are both superb. Steve has a
rich earthy voice that projects beautifully the original messages of the songs
and the aura of their time without in any way being pretentious. His 6 and 12
string guitars are beautifully recorded to bring a depth, breadth and power of
sound. Steve is joined on the album by Gary Ridge who brings an amazing
accuracy to light percussion. You can hear every string sing and every gentle
sound of the cabaca (if that indeed is what it is) on this album, which was
jointly produced by Steve and Gary. Congratulations to them for a high quality
I wonder how this traditional music would have originally sounded in the Deep
South of the 1920s and before. Some of it was being sung generations before
the advent of mass produced recording technology. For those that were
recorded, the passage of time means that remaining copies are as rare as hens
teeth and probably not terribly playable. The folk who can remember how it was
originally done are sadly a much diminished group. But this is a very credible
offering for 2006 and is highly evocative of African American society nearly a
hundred years ago. Its also inevitable that todays interpretations are
influenced by music that has come in between. After listening to this CD you
just know for instance that Bob Dylan has drawn from the same musical well.
Steve acknowledges Dylan as an inspiration alongside other greats such as John
Coltrane, Muddy Waters, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Jack Bruce and of course
Steve Tallis hails from Maylands in Perth and his website
http://www.stevetallis.com features an impressive list of albums that go back
to 1968. This includes the curiously named 8 CD box set entitled Anthology
Volume 1: The Sacred Path of the Fried Egg From Maylands to the Gates of
Hell (1962-2001), which is claimed to be the only such box set offering from
an Australian musician. His special guest and support listing on the website
is a veritable whos who of music. You can hear some of Jezebel Spirit on
the website alongside selections from other albums and you can order the CD
from there as well.
Steve doesnt seem to be planning on coming our way just yet, but you never
know. He looks like being booked for the Thredbo Blues Festival in NSW next
January though. Keep us posted Steve!
Mike Freeman @ Groove Magazine (QLD) – Blues Association SE QLD (August 2006)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD – JOHN SHAND
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD - JOHN SHAND - August 18, 2022
“They seem predisposed to sing the blues over Perth way – one of
the unforeseen side-effects of the commodities boom, perhaps.
Steve Tallis has been hard at it for some years, with a voice
like barbed wire and an acoustic guitar that rings loudly enough
to wake the dead. The songs are mostly traditional tunes, often
predating the development of the blues form, and Tallis brings so
much urgency and commitment to them as might drive all thoughts
of money from a stockbroker’s mind – temporarily.”
GLITTERHOUSE (GERMANY) - August 18, 2022
Das neue Album vom Voodoo-Blueser. Tallis ist nebenbei der Mitbegrnder
unserer dauerhaften Australien-Connection. Mittlerweile beschrnkt er
sich wieder auf das Musik machen. Das neue Album, wie der Untertitel
sagt: Acappella Field Hollers ? Gospel ? Blues ? Spirituals. Beim 2006er
Album also ohne Voodoo und Weltmusik-Seitensprnge, beschrnkt sich hier
auf den traditionellen Dialog des kehligen Gesanges mit der 6-12-String.
Trockener, nchterner und erdiger ist Blues so nur selten noch zu hren.
Allenfalls Gary Ridge ergnzt hie und da mit Percussions das
bluesakustische Spiel. Viel ehrlicher, nackt und pur, inspiriert und
integer kann man den Blues von Son House, Leadbelly oder Blind Willie
Johnson kaum interpretieren. Ausserdem hat er eine Menge berlieferte
Traditionals parat, eine Fundgrube auch fr Bluesgeschichtler.
Immer wieder beschrnkt sich Tallis auf Gesang, lamentiert ber den
guten Gott und die schlechte Welt. Seine Arbeit zeichnet sich immer
wieder dadurch aus, dass er auf knstliches Gekrse verzichtet, er will
auch nicht mit ellenlangem solieren in den Ursprung der Stcke
eingreifen, die Schmucklosigkeit, die bedingungslose Verpflichtung zur
Tradition hat ber die Breite des Albums bald einen meditativen
Charakter. Was der verwhnte Hrer sonst an berproduktion
gewhnt ist, weshalb das Album anfangs sprde und einfach erscheinen
knnte, erscheint im weiter hren immer unwichtiger, der Vortrag ist so
eindringlich und dem Blues verpflichtet, dass man nachher mal wieder
sprt, was und warum es diese musikalische Erzhlweise gibt, was sie war
und vielleicht auch heute noch sein sollte.
Ein berzeugungstter, ein bisschen verrckt, seit beinahe 50 Jahren in
Australien und der Welt unterwegs, nicht wirklich verwandelt oder
verbogen vom Zug der Zeit. Mit einigen Macken und Marotten gesegnet, ein
Musiker, der sich selbst nur ungern objektiv betrachtet, so habe ich ihn
kennen gelernt, ganz typisch und nichts ungewhnliches. Dabei knnte er
sich jederzeit im Spiegel betrachten und die Wahrheit sagen, ein ganzes
Leben mit Musik verschwendet, verbracht, vergoldet.
Unverbesserlich, solche echten Typen sind heute sehr selten geworden.
REAL ROOTS CAFE (NETHERLANDS)
REAL ROOTS CAFE (NETHERLANDS) - Rein van den Berg - August 18, 2022
I had never heard of Steve Tallis before, which is not impossible,
In particular when you come from a far-flung corner like Perth. After
looking at his homepage, he has apparently been active in music since he
was twelve years old. His first recordings date from 1965.
After listening to his music for the first time, I would never have
guessed that his background could be American or Australian. Almost all
the songs are so-called traditionals, apart from a few exceptions;
three numbers by Blind Willie Johnson, two by Leadbelly and one by Son
House. At the second song; I want my Crown (of the in total 20 songs)
I was convinced it was a Kevin Coyne song, however it is a historical
The numbers are played passionately, as if he is playing with his life
on the line, the respect for these old numbers is unmistakable. On the
cover of Jezebel Spirit the perspective of the CD is excellently
described; A Cappella, Field Hollers, Gospel, Blues and Spirituals.
Steve seems to me to have a complex personality, someone who likes to
investigate the human spirit and somewhat less obvious philosophies. The
music he makes, though, has a pleasant unadorned natural charm, and
could certainly be called worldly.
A beautiful and enjoyable CD, provided you have some affinity with
abovementioned genres. (Rein van den Berg)
Ik had nog nooit van Steve Tallis ehoord, want op zich best mogelijk is,
zeker wanneer je afkomstig bent van een uithoek als Perth. Na het
doorlopen van zijn homepage blijkt hij al sinds zijn twaalfde actief in
de muziek te zijn. Zijn eerste opnames luiden van 1965. Na een eerste
beluistering had ik ook nooit kunnen raden dat zijn achtergrond een
Amerikaanse of een Australische zou zijn. Bijna alle songs zijn
zogenaamde traditionals op een paar uitzonderingen na; 3 nummers van
Blind Willie Johnson, 2 van Leadbelly en 1 van Sex House. Bij het 2de
nummer; I Want My Crown(van de in totaal 20 stuks!) was ik er van
overtuigd dat het een Kevin Coyne nummer betrof, maar het is wel
degelijk een historische klassieker. De nummers worden gepassioneerd
gebracht, hij speelt alsof zijn leven op het spel staat, het respect
voor deze oude nummers is onmiskenbaar. Op de hoes van Jezebel
Spiritwordt uitstekend de invalshoek beschreven; A Cappella, Field
Hollers, Gospel, Blues en Spirituals. Steve lijkt me een complexe
persoonlijkheid, iemand die zich graag verdiept in de menselijke geest,
en de ietwat minder voor de hand liggende filosofien. De muziek die hij
maakt heeft echter een aangename naakte charme, is zondermeer mondiaal
te noemen. Mooie en genietbare CD, mits je een beetje affiniteit hebt
met bovengenoemde genres. (Rein van den Berg)
LA HORA DEL BLUES (SPAIN)
LA HORA DEL BLUES (SPAIN) - August 18, 2022
Que podemos decir que no se haya dicho ya anteriormente acerca de este msico australiano? Steve Tallis nos propone, en esta ocasin, una nueva visin de lo que es su msica, su blues, su religin. Para Tallis sus canciones son pasin, comunicacin, respeto, vida y muerte al mismo tiempo, poesa, creatividad, religin. En definitiva es la magia propia del ser humano. Steve es uno de esos profetas visionarios, poetas atemporales donde lo que prima es la bsqueda interior y la supervivencia del espritu. Al escuchar el disco queda claro una vez ms que sus influencias musicales van mas all de Blind Willie Johnson, Leadbelly, Son House o Willie Dixon. Nuestro guru bebe tambin sin complejos de las fuentes de la msica folklrica de pases como Grecia, India o Ghana. Un lbum que har las delicias de todos aquellos con una visin holstica, no solo de si mismos, sino tambin del cosmos y el universo. MUY BUENO.
What can be said about this Australian musician that has not been said before? Once again Steve Tallis gives us his personal vision of his music, his blues, his religion. For Tallis his songs are passion, comunication, respect, life and death, poetry, creativity, religion. In short, the human being own magic. Steve is one of those visionary prophets or timeless poets who emphatize the inner research and the spiritual survival. When you listen to the cd it becomes evident his musical influences go further up Blind Willie Johnson, Leadbelly, Son House or Willie Dixon. Our guru drinks on the sources of folk music from completely different countries such as Greece, India or Ghana. An album that will be appreciated for those of you with an holistic vision of yourselves, the cosmos and the universe. GREAT.
SA ROOTS AND BLUES – DAVID STOECKEL
SA ROOTS AND BLUES - DAVID STOECKEL - April 19, 2006
A blues baptism by Steve Tallis and kindred spirits!
The primal snarls remain but gone are the primitive shamanistic chants of Loko. Instead we are confronted with raw hollers that echo through Southern Baptist church halls, drift clear across cotton fields of the Mississippi delta and resonate with the chilling cry for redemption in the 21st century. Jezebel Spirit finds Steve Tallis standing at a crossroad where the paths of gospel, folk and blues intersect. There is a gloom here that reflects how tough life can be. No devilish transactions are undertaken here though because the road that Tallis chooses to leave by is the one that leads to salvation through song.
Rejoice in the revivalist spirit of Steve Tallis. Traditional songs born out of the milieu of the deep south of the 20s and 30s are dusted off and given the raw primal treatment that only Steve Tallis is capable of. Immerse yourself in this 60 minute baptism conducted by Tallis and the kindred spirits of Blind Willie Johnson, Son House, Lead Belly and all those anonymous blues troubadours that traveled down the same dusty road
all those years ago.
David Stoeckel @ SA Roots and Blues (19th April, 2006)
FOLK WORLD (GERMANY) – TOM KELLER
FOLK WORLD (GERMANY) - TOM KELLER - August 18, 2022
Australian singer-songwriter Steve Tallis (-> FW#31) put away the schamanistic and experimental folk sound of previous recordings and turned back to a more conservative approach, traditional blues songs plus a bit of Blind Willie Johnson, Son House and Leadbelly. It’s just Steve on guitar and vocals and percussionist Gary Ridge and a powerful rendition of classical blues, gospel and (a cappella) field hollers a la “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand”. Well, at least that’s the one everybody knows. He’s strumming the guitar like hell, and his husky voice is in top form. I hadn’t that much fun with religion for a long time. And it’s suitable for Christians of all colours and creeds, and even muslims, jews, buddhists, atheists, and the like.
P.S.: It is reported that Steve is about to move to Europe. So there is a chance to catch him live more often.
Tom Keller @ Folkworld (Germany)
TRAD AND NOW MAGAZINE – NICK CHARLES
TRAD AND NOW MAGAZINE - NICK CHARLES - August 18, 2022
Steve Tallis: CD Review
Ive had the pleasure of recently reacquainting myself with the wonderful music of Steve Tallis.
His live show has a unique energy and draws an eclectic palette that represents the best of many roots music forms.
His latest recorded offering, Jezebel Spirit, captures that energy in abundance.
Its fearless in its approach. Some of these tunes, I dare say, particularly the Blind Willie Johnson numbers, have never been previously covered.
Steve has a real affinity for this material. Likewise the Leadbelly tunes.
Its good to hear other music from our favourite prison inmate other than the endless versions of Black Betty and The Midnight Special.
Steves relentless 12 string playing is an integral part of that authenticity. That instrument, favoured by many earlier bluesmen, including Leadbelly, is a physical challenge to say the least. Steve handles it with ease and the result is a great bond between vocal and guitar.
Of course there are many originals on this disc to please as well, 14 in all, and they are at one with the almost evangelical intensity.
Steve tackles field hollers, straight blues and gospel with rare urgency and I suggest you take a chance to grab hold of this great addition to the Australian roots music must have catalogue.
Available through www.stevetallis.com
RHYTHMS MAGAZINE – AL HENSLEY
RHYTHMS MAGAZINE - AL HENSLEY - July 1, 2006
A Western Australia Music Industry Hall Of Fame inductee, Steve Tallis has been on top of his game for over a decade, though his musical history goes back much further than that. Tallis is a widely travelled musician who has lived and worked in Europe, America and Asia, exploring diverse cultures and uncovering the roots of world music. His knowledge and understanding of the blues has long been established and recognised Australia-wide and his musical journey is well documented and recorded. On Jezebel Spirit he traces blues back to its incubation in the fields and chuches of the American south, stripping his vocal accompaniment down to 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars with occasional percussion.
Tallis acknowledges a range of influences from Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, Bukka White and other country bluesmen to R&B, soul and gospel legends like Arthur Alexander, Ray Charles Rev. Gary Davis and Sam Cooke, as well as urban blues heroes like Slim Harpo and Paul Butterfield. Hailing from a vastly different background, Tallis displays the same dedication and commitment to his music, boldly asserting his strong affiliation with it at every turn. Like a method actor from the fifties morphing into his character in a play, Tallis becomes the song, whether it be an a cappella field holler, a blues or an old Southern Baptist spiritual.
It’s great that an Aussie performer with a deep comprehension of such a specialised musical form exposes his personal interpretation so uncompromisingly, sacrificing commercial aspirations for artistic integrity. Tallis draws on Texas songster Blind Willie Johnson for three contributions including the immortal ‘Soul Of a Man’. Leadbelly is the source of ‘Gallis Pole’ and ‘Grey Geese’ while Son House’s ‘Grinning In Your Face’ is performed bare-boned with only voice and percussion. A noted singer-songwriter, Tallis recycles 20 tradional songs on this outing, many of which are relatively obscure. Alongside Mahalia Jackson’s gospel classic ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’, they share similar distinctive qualities as Tallis’ harsh nasal-toned voice rejoices in their righteous spirit. At over an hour in length, it’s a challenge to appreciate the album’s distinguishing elements in one sitting. In smaller doses, however, Tallis’ flawless strumming, passionate vocals and acute timing are profoundly engaging.
Al Hensley @ RHYTHMS MAGAZINE (July 2006)
NOVA MAGAZINE – PHIL BENNETT
NOVA MAGAZINE - PHIL BENNETT - July 1, 2006
Reviewed by Phil Bennett@ NOVA Magazine (July 2006)
There is something deeply reassuring about the release of a completely unadorned acoustic performance album in this day of ipods and samples.
Particularly when the material selected consists of traditional blues chants and hollers that have preserved their depth and humanity through decades of worldwide change.
Steve Tallis is the master of unearthing priceless hidden gems and resurrecting them as reminders of where the heart and soul of music lies.
Songs of simple truths that resonate with a universality that crosses time and culture.
Wont somebody tell me what is the soul of a man?
Dont you mind people grinning in your face.
You can hide from people but you cant hide from God.
All encompassing questions and answers that say more than reams of poetry from the likes of Blind Willie Johnson, Son House and a host of truly great spokespeople whose names have been buried by the sands of time. And delivered with the intensely charismatic fervour of West Australias prime traditional blues artist.
With a mix of strummed acoustic guitar, evocative and mysterious percussion and unaccompanied vocal performances, Jezebel Spirit is, quite frankly, Tallis most honest, raw, cut to the core album yet.
And boy is it powerful.
Dynamic and exhilarating.
GROOVE MAGAZINE – SYLVESTER FOX
GROOVE MAGAZINE - SYLVESTER FOX - August 18, 2022
Hes done his best Steve Tallis Jezebel Spirit Zombi Music
For a man whose own words are many when talking about his music and lyrically he has weaved many a magic spell over a number of albums, its strangely reassuring to hear Steve Tallis sing somebody elses stories for a change. The questions these tales ask resonate through a century or two of heartbreak, hard work and self realisation. What is in the soul of a man? asks Blind Willie Johnson as channelled by Tallis through a vibrant reedy vocal and twelve string. Dont you mind people grinning in your face? is another question in another song this time by bluesman Son House. This is one of many a cappella tracks beautifully peppered with the one and only Gary Ridge on all manners of percussion. And the questions keep coming in the call and response tradition. If I had a ticket can I ride? is another example of Tallis pulsing along on the twelve string with Ridges famous fish scratching along side. The subtle changes in production give this album full of field hollers, gospel, blues and spirituals many unexpected colours. When you buy this silver and gold youve got the whole world that matters in your hands.