The official John Tams website for gigs and album sales information (including ordering the new album) is now fully operational. Add www.johntams.co.uk to your Favourites for the latest news as it breaks! I might be too excited to put it on here! There is also a very good guestbook so I have archived mine to the Friends page of this site. Thanks to everyone who has supported this site and left messages over the years.
Yes, you heard right, the new album The Reckoning will be released September 5th. So what can you expect from this, the third solo Tams offering? I think perhaps the most summing line is offered by the second track, Safe House: "come in, lie easy lay down your weary brow, you're welcome here kind stranger". Despite the gritty desolation of the sleeve artwork, all rusting skylights and weedy warehouses, this album avoids the edginess of its predecessor Home, that flummoxed many. But it's by no means a shallow album. There are Songs From The Shows, both from the recent Tams/Coope concert partnership (Amelia) and a reprise of a suite from the National Theatre production The Good Hope. There are old favourites such as the Sea songs which have been sloshing around in the repertoire since Albion Band days, and new gems still damp from the old grey word processor. There are the silver shadows of Barry Coope's vocals, welcome golden threads of brass from Steve Dawson and the unmistakeable
wares of Purveyor Of Pluckable Stringed Instrumentation to the Gentry, Graeme Taylor. Not to forget of course the other members of the Reckoning Band: Keith Angel, Andy Seward and Roger Wilson. And there's much more, believe me, right through to the last track which is possibly my favourite... During the making of this album one noted record label owner was heard to say "I am convinced Tam is making the finest album of his life." I'm inclined to agree - until the next one!
Tsunami Relief Concert February 2005
A fine array of performers from Derbyshire and slightly beyond, their talent matched only by the bigness of their hearts and and the generosity of the audience, assembled for an evening of fine music at the Derby Assembly Rooms. Missing from the photo but not to be forgotten - Feet First and The Rolling Stock Choir who entertained the guests in the foyer. Plus all the companies who donated to the raffle and encouraged us to empty our pockets and raise a total of £9423.65 for the Tsunami Relief Fund. And of course the technicians who worked so hard to make the evening run smoothly, heck well everyone really thanks and well done! See photos by Andrew D C Basford. (External link)
Merry Christmas everybody
The Christmas concert at St Benedict School was if anything even better than last year's. Local lads Dan Lowe and James Pecz of the Tyler Syndicate opened the proceedings and then John and Barry entertained us with such classics as the Derby Ram, the Old Man's Song and Who Will Blow the Candle Out Tonight. Highlight of the evening for the youngest member of the audience should have been a rousing rendition of Mrs Merry's Ball, last heard on the 1973 Muckram Wakes album A Map of Derbyshire. For this John and Barry were joined by Fi Fraser, Sally Tams and Mick Peat, and my son and heir to whom the song was dedicated slumbered blissfully through it! So here is a reminder of a great evening and thanks to all concerned. Sally would also like to thank everyone who supports John and Barry, writing and phoning and becoming such good friends. Your messages and encouragement are a real source of inspiration.
And now you can read more about the concert on the Articles page!
Slightly older news
The latest album from veteran Tyneside artist Bob Davenport is now out on the Topic label. It includes two tracks featuring John Tams in company with Jim Boyes, Barry Coope and Lester Simpson and joined by Barry's wife Fi Fraser on one. Other artists appearing on the album include Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy and Chumbawamba.
Mr Tams has been very busy by all accounts. In between writing music for plays and finishing off the new album, folk luminaries in the persons of Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey and Coope Boyes and Simpson have been flocking to record in his studio. The album is due for release in May 2005, with a southern launch planned at the Electric Theatre in Guildford and a northern one somewhere nearer home
Finally, following their successes in 2004, some gig dates for John Tams and Barry Coope are starting to come in for 2005. I've put some on the gigs page and will fill out further details as they arrive. Meanwhile here is a reminder of the Solent Folk Festival in September...
John and Barry being interviewed by Siobhan and Chris Nelson
Classic folk-rock work re-released
Ground breaking in its time and to many people still unsurpassed in its field, Rise Up Like The Sun by the Albion Band is now re-released in all its glory by Fledg'ling Records. The new CD has the same tracks as the 1992 release but features additional liner notes from John Tams and an absolute beauty of a (contemporary) picture of him inside the case. The pictures of the band members on the back are also now in colour. There's never been a better time to buy this album if you haven't yet!
John Tams HOME
"A bleak album, but not an unambitious one, Tams' narratives are loaded with understated drama and subplots... It's quality stuff" (fRoots magazine)
"A definite grower of an album... Just because it's not Unity don't mean it ain't class" (BBC website)
"Tams' expressive vocals recall none other than the mighty James Taylor... Home transcends the genres to deal in truths to which we can all relate" (Colin Hall in What's On In London)
Top ten folk album 2002 (Mojo)
Roots Album of the Year (Whats On in London)
Further words from John about the album are to be found on the Articles page of this site under "Home Interview with Colin Hall". The album can be ordered online from the Topic Records website, who also have special offers to tempt you. If you've bought the CD and would like to tell us what you think, do visit the Guestbook which you can find by clicking the Messages button on the homepage.