Wallis and Matilda- The Story So Far
Like millions of Australians, John Wallis studied the poems of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson during his school days, and to quote John,
"I have always been aware of Paterson, I cannot remember a time when he did not exist for me, he was often overlooked and consequently taken for granted, so I have endeavoured to re-introduce Banjo Paterson to Australia".
The concept of their first album 'Pioneers' released in 1981, was a result of John's initial interest in relating poetry to music, and is a tribute to some of the old bush people and their characters within them. By presenting the poems in different music styles the album aimed to attract people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Wallis and Matilda used their musical instuments as tools in which to create and illustrate Paterson's ideas and emotions. Pioneers received it's fair share of airplay due to the ever popular "Clancy of the Overflow" and the classic "The Man from Snowy River", and went on to achieve Platinum status within weeks of release. To this day it still their most successful work.
Their second conceptual album 'The Old Australian Ways' was just that, and concentrated on past happenings and experiences as told by Paterson. While it did not have the initial success of Pioneers it is still a very popular work and sales remain consistent to this day.
Both these first two works were recorded with the original line-up
Vocals, Guitar and Percussion: John Wallis
Their third concept work released in 1984 ‘A Singer of the Bush’ saw the line-up change by two members Steve Lada took over the Bass and Ian Eccles-Smith added keyboards as well as recorder and flute. This line-up remained unchanged for the compilation work ‘Australian Gold’ released for Australia’s Bi-Centenary in 1988, it contained the most popular of the previous works, and along with three previously unreleased poems, these included ‘Prelude’ the first of several works to be recorded with the Australian Children’s Choir.
It was fifteen years before Wallis and Matilda ventured back into the studio again to record their fourth concept work, 2003 saw the release of ‘Song of the Federation’ a work of Paterson poems written primarily about or after Federation in 1901, this gave Wallis and Matilda the chance to progress musically using the latest technology available.
With this new release, the four original members still remain, however David Costiff has now taken over on keyboards and woodwind and Richard Evans along with Steve share the bass and some of the vocals.
In 2008 two more conceptual works 'Over the Range' and 'Song of the Pen' were completed and became part of The Great Wallis and Matilda Collection 2nd edition.
©Wallis and Matilda
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