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People are important - here are some of the best.

First, everyone who signed my guestbook from 2001 to 2005. There are so many of you this page will load v e r y slowly in a separate window!

John Tams and Barry Coope have worked together on numerous projects over many years - albums, theatre, television, cinema and on bandstands throughout the UK and Europe. Barry, well known as one third of the foremost acapella trio Coope Boyes and Simpson, and the larger vocal group Blue Murder featuring members of the Watersons' extended family, is also a masterful keyboard player. He has had a central part in Tams' ventures: Stalking Horses, The Questionnaires, the John Tams Band on the double-award winning album Unity and most recently on Home. Tams in turn has contributed material and vocals to various Coope Boyes and Simspon projects, and Barry can also be found directing the Rolling Stock Choir, founded by John Tams and Roy Bailey some ten years ago. Despite this long association it wasn't until 2002 that the pair decided to work together as a duo, a decision that has won acclaim from audiences wherever they play.

The personnel from the albums Unity and Home:

Keith Angel Versatile and happy looking percussionist with a lot of other jobs including playing for Bill Jones. "Look at him, sat down here with all these drums. None of them work, you know." John Tams Keith can also be seen performing in Angelsingh

Andy Seward Tall dark handsome bass player (both sorts, but the electric sort in the JT Band) who also works for Kate Rusby and produces and engineers things. Andy has a new website!

Graeme Taylor Outstanding, studiously ecstatic lead guitar. He and JT go way, way back. "He's from Surrey, but that's all right." John Tams Graeme has his own website at www.graemetaylor.com, or try the Graeme Taylor Appreciation Page in much the same spirit as this one.

Alan Dunn Kind of musical odd job man (accordion, whistle, piano, Hammond). He was in the Home Service when they reformed without John Tams. Alan has recently been touring with Bob Geldof and has also, along with Graeme Taylor, played for Rolf Harris. "Smiles a lot..." John Tams Both Graeme and Alan have recently been providing music for the play The Good Hope (see the Theatre page)

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The album Unity also featured as a guest singer Linda Thompson, who had worked with JT in the past. At the Folk Awards in 2001 he said "I never managed to pay Linda, 'cos we'd run out of money by then, but she's priceless anyway." The extent of this typical piece of understatement may be guessed at from this comment by Linda, on the back of her album Dreams Fly Away: "I'd just like to say John Tams is a huge talent and he saved my life." Linda has just put out a new album, and also appeared in The Good Hope (see Theatre page.)

The 2005 album The Reckoning reunites JT with Roger Wilson, who has worked with him on various projects including the Music of Sharpe CD and The Mysteries at the National Theatre. A really nice chap who plays fiddle and sings at the same time!

Recently promoted to be my second favourite folk singer is the wonderful John Kirkpatrick who can be found with all his squeezeboxes at www.johnkirkpatrick.co.uk . He has worked with John Tams in the past but seems to have more or less recovered now.

Bill Caddick, who was in the Albion Band and Home Service with John Tams, has recently released a 36 track "best of" double CD entitled Unicorns. "Buffalo Bill Caddick, that's him. I'm more... Doc Holliday" John Tams

I first heard the Fraser Sisters singing with Coope Boyes and Simpson and Georgina Boyes, in their Garland of Carols presentation. Their latest album "Going Around" was produced by John Tams and is utterly gorgeous. Let's just say my clarinet wants to run away and live with them.

Two colleagues who go back more years than they claim to remember are Lester Simpson (another third of Coope Boyes and Simpson) and Mick Peat. Mick and Lester broadcast a great two hours of folk and acoustic music every Monday night on BBC Radio Derby, and John Tams pops into the studio now and then for a spot of chat. Here he is recently discussing the re-release of Rise Up Like The Sun - click on the picture to go to the Folkwaves website.


Picture copyright BBC

Sebastian Graham-Jones

At times like this I am deeply grateful to John Tams for finding time to do justice to a job I am not equal to...

Sebastian Graham-Jones died on Sunday July 18th 2004 aged 56. He passed like a King - the last great cavalier surrounded by family and friends, in a room brimmed with love and peace.

I first met him almost 30 years ago, preparing The Passion, which would become the keystone to The Mysteries. He was, with Bill Bryden, the double act that created the legendary Cottesloe Company. They went on to make Larkrise to Candleford, The World Turned Upside Down, Dispatches, Glengarry Glenross, The Eugene O'Neil season, A Midsummer Night's Dream... The list goes on - with Brian Glover, Michael Gough, Brenda Blethyn, Tom Wilkinson, Mark McManus, Jack Shepherd, Sir Robert Stephens, Paul Scofield, Stacey Keach, Bill Owen, music from The Albion Band and writers including Tony Harrison, Keith Dewhurst, Michael Herr and David Mamet.

If you picture D'Artagnan, translated to the epitome of English gentlemanliness, add a generosity of spirit that was legendary, an inclusive attentiveness that made everyone feel important and a mastery of his craft - then double it - and you will still be short of the full picture of this uniquely special man.

He was a musician and composer working with long-time collaborator Duncan Browne for stage, screen and television. He worked and directed with, amongst others, Serge Leone, Sir Peter Hall, Lord Olivier, Sir Ralph Richardson, and Sir John Gielgud. He learnt his television craft directing Coronation Street, and later, series such as Floodtide, Travelling Man and Brother Cadfael, as well as numerous single dramas. He lectured and shared his gifts at drama departments throughout the British Isles. More recently he directed the Radio 4 drama output for Promenade Productions and was about to start work on Michael Eaton's radio adaptation of Pickwick Papers with Tim Spall, which will sadly now be his memorial.

I will miss him as the best friend anyone could wish for.
I will miss him as a colleague of immense skill and vision.
I will miss him for our long nocturnal discussions on the world, the stage and all it's players.
I will miss him for his pasta - the best this side of Tuscany.
I will just bloody miss him.

My family extend our deepest sympathy to Alison and his family.

Save us a table by the window Seb.

Love Always

Thine

Tam

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