Featuring ‘The Suicide Ghosts’
01 Crow Magick 6:10
02 All God's Children 3:35
03 Bury My Body 4:17
04 Silence Is The Most Powerful Cry 1:57
05 Cut Your Mouth Out Mama 6:59
06 Paradise 6:16
07 Midnight The Cloud Of Darkness 1:38
08 Boko (Sorcerer) 4:41
09 Abobo (There Is No End) 5:17
10 Love Is The Road That Will Walks 2:37
11 Mama Lola 6:45
12 Big Boat Up The River 1:52
13 Jealousy (The Ripoff Man) 5:07
14 When My Blood Will Come 0:57
15 I Am Your Dream 4:30
16 He Is Coming 1:30
17 The Spirits Are Back 7:02
Rootstime (Belgium) – Eric Schuurman
Als er een vorm van blues is die specifiek is voor Australië, moet het de blues van Steve Tallis zijn, aangezien zijn blues geen kopie of variant is van de bekende vormen, die decennia geleden in de Verenigde Staten ontstonden.
De charismatische en kleurrijke Steve Tallis kan al terugblikken op een carrière van bijna zestig jaar. Deze singer/songwriter van Down Under begon al te musiceren in 1962. Vanaf zijn jeugd is hij ondergedompeld geweest in de muziek van zijn Macedonische voorouders en etnische muziek uit Griekenland, Joegoslavië, Bulgarije en Turkije. Afrikaanse, Indiaanse en Islamitische muziek zijn altijd zijn inspiratiebronnen geweest. In zijn zoektocht naar de roots van de muziek die hij zelf graag hoort, belandde hij in Afrika. Tallis verbleef en trad op in de States, Europa, Mexico en Azië.
Steve Tallis verwezenlijkte ondertussen al twee van zijn doelstellingen: touren in Indië (1997) en in Pakistan2003. Zijn speurtocht in de leer van de vodou (Tallis verkiest de Engels/Amerikaanse naam als naam voor de Haïtiaanse religie), Tantra, Boeddhisme, Soefisme, Bijbel, Hindoeïsme, Taoïsme en de Amerikaanse Indianen hebben hem diep getroffen.
Tallis ontving al meerdere erkenningen, waaronder “Songwriter of the Year”, “Most Original Work” en “Album of the Year”. Hij is ook ingewijd in de Western Australia Music Hall of Fame. WAM erkent sinds 2004 die leden van de industrie, die gedurende hun carrière een uitstekende bijdrage hebben geleverd aan hedendaagse muziek in WA. Tallis ontving in 1994 de ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll of Renown”.
Voor dat Tallis solo ging maakte hij eerst deel uit van verschillende projecten als o.a. de JellyRoll Bakers, The Opposition, Hangover Triangle, The Guano Club en Apache Dropout, met wie hij in de studio stond.
Met tussen 1968 en 2020, meer dan 52 album releases, kan niemand beweren dat Tallis zijn muziek niet uitdrukt door middel van opnames. Uit Steve Tallis’ solo oeuvre belichten we in dit portret vier van zijn albums. Zijn 1999-album ‘Zozo’, wat niet zijn debuutalbum was want in 1993 verscheen ‘Zombi Party’ en in 1997 ‘Monkey Skulls and Thunderstones’. Verder Loko’, dat hij in 2004 opnam met The Holy Ghosts, ‘The First Degree’ (2014) en zijn laatste album, ‘Where Many Rivers Meet’ (2020).[..]
Met multi-instrumentalisten Gary Ridge en Dave Clarke nam Steve Rallis 17 tracks (16 originele nummer + 1 traditional) voor het album ‘Zozo’ (1999) op. De foto op de hoes -een voodoo masker?- en de lange lijst met instrumentatie -surdo trommel, timpani pauk, kanjira, de Braziliaanse berimbau…- verraden al direct de exotische sfeer die er rond de release hangt…
Zoals enkele andere blanke muzikanten -als Captain Beefheart, Dr. John en Tom Waits- heeft Tallis ook hier getracht de diepste wortels van de blues aan te boren. ‘Zozo’ haalt misschien niet het niveau van het beste werk van die artiesten, maar is op zijn minst zeer respectabel en maakt hoogstwaarschijnlijk contact met enkele van de originele bronnen van de blues. De tribale gezangen (“When My Blood Will Come”), het veldgeroep (“Silence is the Most Powerful Cry”) elementaire riffs en beats linkt Tallis aan meer eigentijdse teksten en visioenen en roept hiermee -net als Howlin’ Wolf- een voodoo-moerasgevoel op. Het lijkt, als in de opener “Crow Magick”, alsof Tallis op de vlucht is voor demonen en geesten en ze oproept om hem te hulp te komen. Met méér dan 70 minuten is het een (te?) lange cd, gezien veel van de nummers op dezelfde groove en soms vervelende, sombere aura drijven. Voor de juiste sfeer kiezen de drie muzikanten naast de traditionele patronen op gitaar en mondharmonica en wat mandoline of viool, voor meer ongebruikelijke veldopname-achtige klanken ter ondersteuning, waarbij de percussie, op vaak voor ons onbekende instrumenten erg belangrijk is. Ik verwijs hier o.a. naar “Midnight the Cloud of Darkness”, “Abobo (There is No End)”, “Love is the Road That Will Walks” en “Jealousy (The Ripoff Man)”. Dat het ook meer “traditioneel” kan bewijst de gospelachtige songs “Big Boat Up the River” en “He Is Coming”, “I Am Your Dream” of de bluesy, wat rockende afsluiter “The Spirits Are Back”. ‘Zozo’ is Steve Tallis in Afrika, tijdens zijn zoektocht naar zijn roots.
HOME OF ROCK – GERMANY – REVIEWS
HOME OF ROCK - GERMANY - Fred Schmidtlein - August 28, 2002
REVIEWS HOME OF ROCK (Munich, Germany)
Borderline areas in Blues. A contradiction itself? No!
Steve Tallis, Australian, is a borderline case.
Since 1962,Tallis makes music. LPs, cassettes, singles, videos and of course CDs. He is a Shaman. He is a Griot. He is a Blues musician.
Griot: Word and speech artist, who appears at funerals, weddings or christenings. Griots are musicians, singers, speakers, mediators or chroniclers and also appear as mouth pipe for important people. Origin: West Africa (Source: www.africa-in bayern.de). Shaman: Indian idea for medicine man, healing person.
Steve Tallis was born in Macedonia, well on the Balkans. In his music we find sounds of ancient music of South Europe. In his music we find African sounds, as well. As well as Indian and American Indian music sounds. He combines that to traditional Blues. With Jazz. With Rock. With Cajun. With everything that we can imagine.
Dear reader, that sounds confusing. It is. But not, because the music would be inedible throughout the unbelievable variety. The three existing CDs of Steve Tallis are confusing, because they are magic. Hypnotising and pull the listener inevitable in a suction, which is hard to put into words.
We talk of Voodoo.
I wont omit about Voodoo. To much untruth, superficial knowledge and dull prejudice are connected with that. Therefore another quotation of www.afrika-in-bayern.de
The word Voodoo is form Togo: Ewe wade means protection ghost, but as well God. Voodoo combines elements of Catholicism with race religion of West Africa (especially Benin). In the Voodoo cults the highest God Bondey (French Bon Dieu: the good God) is adored. Besides however further Gods are existing, so among other the mediator between Gods and human Legba, the Fruitfulness God Damballah (Snake) und his wife Ayida-Weddo, the Rainbow God (Lady of the Heaven Snake).
Besides in Voodoo a strongly ancestor and death cult exists. Ghost as well, the so called Loa or Orixa, are adored. Loa vary according to the region. They are African God creatures, who have been transferred the features of catholic saints or angles as well. Further catholic elements of Voodoo are candles, bells, crosses, prayers, the christening ritual as well as doing the sign of the cross. To the African cult elements belong dance, drums, the belief in zombies and the adoration of ancestors. Voodoo ceremonies are guided by the so called Hougan or a priestess, the so called Mambo.
During the ritual, the believers call for the Loa via drums, dancing and singing that she takes possession of the dancers. Each dancer act than in a way, typical for the ghost. During the period the dancer is in trance or ecstasy, he carries out the healing and gives instructions. We differ between white magic (Umbanda) and black magic (Quimbanda) rites. At bloody ceremonies animals are sacrificed (which had to give there approval before), to break black magic influences or to calm down goddess. Today Voodoo is practiced above all in Haiti, but as well in Cuba, Trinidad, Brazil and the south of the USA (federal state Louisiana).
To the music.
The first official realised CD of Tallis was the album Zombi Party of 1993. The Band is a classic trio plus a saxophonist, Jamie Oehlers.
To describe the CD only as Rock or Blues Music would be wrong. Of course, pieces like A Woman Is A Secret, Misquotes or In The Lonely Hours Of The Spirit Rockmusik. Tallis singing reminds me sometimes on a moderate Roger Chapman, but than always a comment of the saxophonist, who is miles apart of conventional Rock & Roll. Freestyler like John Coltrane I would attribute such things, actually. Long improvisation, sprinkled song structures, implored (instrumental) phrases, important words of the song writer Tallis. But all of a sudden you will find yourself in a marching Rock song.
Zombi Party is fascinating from the cover until the end of the CD, not easy to listen to, intensive, wild, beautiful, and weird. And the recording was played only in 15 hours live.
On 13.12.1996, a Friday, the next CD was recorded.
Monkey Skulls And Thunderstones had another concept. No more saxophone, but an acoustic guitar, violin and many exotic percussion instruments. An Indian drum named Dholak, a Kanjira, broom, Talking Drum, Tibetan prayer balls, an African rattle (Caxixi), the Berimbau of Brazil.
Because of the sparingly use of instruments Steve Tallis is getting more special emphasis as a singer and song writer. But however the Blues side is getting stronger.
All in all seven songs of Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, interprets Tallis on the album. Stripped to the bone Blues with acoustic guitar, violin, harmonica and the named percussion instruments.
And again a fascinosum: It works!
I dont know from which year Leadbellys Looky Looky Yonder is, he died in 1949, but the transport into our time has worked. Or isnt it or time? Maybe more a time between, a universe, which hasnt revealed yet?
Similar the interpretation of Tom Waits Way Down In The Hole. It isnt a conversation. Tallis has made the song his own. He has adopted it, it is a new created work.
When guitar and violin at Be The Echo Of My Cry all of a sudden remind us on gypsy music, in Screaming purr Acoustic Rock intonates or with On A Monday Country Blues a cappella is performed respectively at Rock Island Line the singing is similar to Gospel, one has the impression of easiness and normality. But at the latest this is over immediately, at the long Lying With The Worms. Mysterious, mystic sounds and noises, worrying exorcise words.
Once again: I wont interpret this, I havent the background, the knowledge for doing this. But this music CAN leave nobody cold. One night, when I was listening I switched the light on. I felt unwell and I had the feeling, not to be alone. But I was alone
For me Monkey Skulls And Thunderstones is one of the best acoustic albums at all. Nothing is to be foreseen, you are surprised and astonished, constantly. You are troubled from thrills, doubts and question as well. Again at the final version of Black Betty. Only one man and his voice.
From Australian magazines ZOZO was elected the Blues album of the year 1999. It has its rights, if you absolutely have to find a drawer for this.
In 1997 Tallis was in India and many of these influences are to discover on this masterpiece. Steve himself describes his music as my kind of blues blues form the Maylands delta
This you cant interpret. Because you cant otherwise grasp this album, rationally.
The long-term companions Gary Ridge and Dave Clarke take care again of the musical background, with a never ending variety of instruments. Mandolin, violin, the named drums and other percussions influence this CD. But even more Tallis influences everything. The singing more forceful than ever, the words more dangerous than in the past, the mood more intensive. It is a trip into a world of the shaman, the Voodoo man. Who is not getting the greatest respect at Cut Your Mouth Out Mama for what is happening around him and with him has a real problem of understanding. Even the actually harmless Gibson SG produces (pleasant?) fright.
This time there are only his own compositions, apart from a traditional (Big Boat Up The River). But what sort of! Short, exorcise songs, which sound like created for a ritual, change with long interpretations of Blues. You get lost (as listener) in the easy but effective compositions. Sometime you dont recognise the end and the beginning of individual songs. It is a big flow which carries you with it. But where to? You cant spot, where the fascination comes from. The guitar with twelve cords, the drums, the violin, the voices, the words?
The CDs of Steve Tallis and his SUICIDE GHOSTS are (not) yet available in Germany. Readers with courage for new things should hurry to discover Steve. Before he discovers you
Fred Schmidtlein, (Impressum, Artikelliste), 28.08.2002
LA HORA DEL BLUES – VICENTE HUMEL (SPAIN)
MAYO 2004 / MAY 2004
Steve Tallis “Zozo”. Zombi 1999. Steve Tallis es un msico australiano que no practica un blues convencional, sino que va ms all de este estilo, para integrarse en una msica ms tnica y fusionada que algunos expertos califican como World Music. Su personal manera de interpretar y concebir la msica le ha llevado a ser considerado por la crtica como un creador de un estilo musical obsesivo, hipntico, repetitivo, sin ataduras y sobre todo brillante por la manera personal y caracterstica que tiene de desafiar los convencionalismos estructurados. Este lbum no difiere demasiado de sus anteriores, y quien ya conozca la obra de Steve Tallis sabe a lo que me refiero. Violines, tambourinas, triangulos o timbalas es lo que vais a escuchar en este lbum, adems de otros extraos instrumentos que se apartan de lo comn, todos ellos junto con la guitarra de doce cuerdas que Steve toca en muchos de los diecisiete temas que se incluyen en este disco. (Sin Calificacin). Steve Tallis is an australian musician who does not play a conventional blues. He always goes further and integrates blues with a more ethnic merged music that some experts would define as World Music. His personal way of conceiving and performing music has led him to be considered as the creator of an obsesive hypnotic repetitive and free style but over all very bright for the personal special way of challenging music structured conventionalities. This cd follows the same path than his previous ones and those of you who already know Steve Tallis work exactly know what I am talking about. Violin, tabors, triangles or kettledrums are what you are going to hear, plus other unusual uncommon instruments, together with Steves twelve string guitar he plays in most of the seventeen songs included on this cd. (No qualification)
August 18, 2022
Best Australian Blues Album 1999 Rhythms Magazine Readers Poll
Welcome to Perths underbelly. ZOZO bubbles and spits like a malevolent sea and is as fresh, swampy and scary as Dr Johns seminal 1969 Gris Gris. Gritty, rootsy melting pot, with Waits-esque filthy guitar riffs, hypnotic eastern rhythms, chants and field hollers, driven by Tallis deep, grainy Captain Beefheart growl. But this is no mumbo-jumbo; Tallis knows his stuff, and has an attitude to rival the Drs. Check out what hes sick of on Cut Your Mouth Out Mama.
_Patrick Donovan @ The Age (****)_
An intense and uncompromising performer who lives with demons, talks to ghosts and dances with zombies. African mysticism. Voodoo imagery. Trance-like rhythms. The lyrics convey disconnected images, some dark, disturbing and vague, others with a clearer social message, demanding attention. I dont know anyone else producing music quite like this. It defies categories, yet has strong links to the roots of the blues field hollers, work songs and a cappella gospel ring shouts, overlaid with polyrhythms and instrumental approaches that echo other cultures. Dont ignore this! It may be at the outer limits of the Blues, but it is worth hearing.
Mark Doherty @ Rhythms Magazine (***1/2)
The coming of age of WAs own Voodoo Man. This weird, wired, cross-cultural collection of songs trance-inducing spiritual music, full of disturbing Voodoo incantations – as original and strange as anything Captain Beefheart dreamt up in the desert or Tom Waits growled in his back shed. He is part Buddha, part Demon, part Mad Angel .
Ray Purvis @ The West Australian (***1/2)
The missing link between the ancient and the modern. An innovative and unusually evolved, avant-garde form of contemporary blues,
sauntering into realms previously unexplored by many bluesmen. An album of diverse adventure that merely hints at the depth of this ageless genre. An intriguing amalgam of meaty grooves, volatile lyrics and organically inspired playing. One of Perths richest but most undervalued assets.
Phil Bennet @ Nova Magazine
Stunning! Exciting! Bizarre! Utterly unique. Intriguing. As individual as Tom Waits or Corey Harris. Distinctive, original, definitely one of a kind. A quantum leap from traditional blues. Absolutely compelling, extraordinarily mesmerising, transcendental, as scary as music can be yet beautiful, hauntingly so. This music has to be explored during that exploration you may find a little something of yourself, so deeply personal, remarkably forthright and honest are the lyrics and melodies. Sensational! Ecumenical! A genuine musical experience. Some of the most uplifting, praiseworthy music in Australia! A monster work. I am compelled to award ZOZO the highest possible rating it is that good!
_Big Mike Hotz @ Rhythms / SA Blues Society _
Before you put ZOZO into your player, be sure youve made peace with your ancestors. Multi-textured, defiantly eclectic grooves definitely grounded in the blues though vigorously embracing all manner of musics, philosophies and hoodoo charms. Confronting, sensuous, dark and dangerous atmosphere spilling readily from his pen. The most interesting and challenging lyrics youll have heard in a long time. Kaleidoscopic variety of sounds, primeval chants preternatural lyrics and anarchistic rhythms, pushing the boundaries of the blues. Stretch your mind!
_Helen Farley @ Rave Magazine ( Qld )_
Steve once again combines the mystical, spiritual and elements of nature to the sounds of music and voice. A touch of tribal, rhythmic Afro beats, sporadic layers of modern riffs, a barrel of blues, a whiff of culture, loads of originality interesting and entrancing. An air of a modern day Rodriguez who has spent the last 10 years in the jungles, emerging with the sounds of the various tribes. New millennium roots music with its heart stemming from African deltas and a passionate freedom of expression. Very uplifting, impossible to stop listening to and refreshing. A magnificent recording-essential listening!
Mark Radar Watson @ Mr Blues
Voodoo Child! The architect of his own musical world. The voodoo troubadour is one of the most individualistic performers in Australia, with a self-propelled inclination to merge ancient wisdoms with freeform blues. Beguiling moods. Rich acoustic guitar – whisky tinged voice. This weird, creepy-crawly kaleidoscope of healing and finger pointing blues, field hollers and African tribal chants.
Terry Reilly @ The Age (Melbourne)
A mystical journey of spiritual trance-like blues. Tallis is in a league of his own. Brilliantly made. A well constructed piece of work. Close your eyes and be taken to another world.
Andrew Williams @ Drum Media
A killer! A gem! Something special. Reminds me of Tom Waits Mule Variations.
_Stephen Green @ Australian Music Biz (****)_
A long way from the regular covers of Chicago blues classics and deep into voodoo territory. Delving into musical mysticism, Tallis blends ideas from Haiti through Native Americans to old time, pre-blues and comes up with a kind of new blues. Give it a try.
Mike Garner @ The Bluesletter / NZ Blues Society
A musician with the vocal power and intense concentration to subtly and successfully tune up a guitar on stage, while pulling out all stops on an a cappella field holler at the same time is something to be seen and heard. Defying categorisation, deftly sidestepping analysis, he weaves his deep interest in the spirit world into his music making. This trance-like effect moves continuously throughout his evolving and involving music, which commands your attention and seeps into your bones on further listenings. He connects with his audience in an unconventional way they stay to listen. Performances are intense, continuous, uncompromising, taking you on a spiritual exposition or journey. The field hollers are something else.Tallis tackles human and spiritual issues head-on with songs that haunt you. Towards the end of the gig, he quietly wended the way from one rhythmic number to the next. The edges blurred between a user-friendly bluesy version of Hoochie Coochie Man into a percussive wind-down, almost like a lullaby. The change was barely discernible, upon you before you realised. A bit like life really.
Linda McClintock @ Mixdown Magazine
In a musical milieu that values tradition he is a bit of a loose cannon, a maverick, a highly individual performer with a strong sense of self worth. Ive never heard anyone outside the black music idiom perform a cappella field hollers with such power and commitment. A major talent!
Mark Doherty @ Rhythms Magazine
Haunting. Seriously hypnotic. Sensual harmonica. Dazzling berimbau.
Australian Musican Magazine