John Tams is one of our finest musicians and singers and one of our greatest songwriters. His contribution to the idiom is unique. John Tams’ ongoing projects do much to illuminate an increasingly vibrant tradition. Without his endeavours, the light of political song would not burn nearly so bright.
John Tams‘ debut Topic album, Unity is a collection of great beauty and emotional depth. Collaboration has always been central to his work and although a solo record, this release is no exception. Keith Angel, Andy Seward and Barry Coope, (of Coope, Boyes and Simpson) were joined by former Albion Band comrade Graeme Taylor and Alan Dunn from the Bob Geldof Band. The legendary Linda Thompson also makes a rare appearance, on an album that may yet prove to be the pinnacle of this anthemic and commanding style of folk music.
“(Unity is) one of the very finest records of the last century. A timeless expression of stories, people and deep emotion…songs of rare quality performed exquisitely.” fROOTS
Awarded the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Album & Best Song Harry Stone
Home is the follow-up to John Tams’ award-winning Unity and reasserts the claim that there is no greater writer of English songs on the current folk scene. John Tams’ writing and performance grows with each new project and he and the band assembled for the previous album are now a fully integrated unit producing a new contender for “album of the year”.
“Understated drama…… sensitive arrangements – quality stuff” fROOTS
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A collection of dark traditional songs reset in the present day by Ashley Hutchings. Sung by Coope, Boyes & Simpson, Steve Knightley, Cara Dillon, Dick Gaughan, Helen Watson, Vin Garbutt, Judy Dunlop, Dave Burland, Kathryn Roberts with Equation, John Tams, June Tabor, Pete Morton and Nasreen Shah.
An outstanding new album conceived and produced by one of the most significant creators in the folk music field. Traditional music has always changed and adapted to fit and respond to the society that it reflects. Ashley Hutchings has re-written a dozen traditional songs and set them in the present day – don’t be alarmed, the experiment has worked beautifully and the results may well pass into tradition themselves.
Each song is based on a traditional work and has retained the original tune – only the words have been changed. A cast of major contemporary interpreters of traditional song was chosen, song by song, and each has contributed mightily – producing a program of outstanding performance. In addition to that, the sensitive arrangements and backings have enhanced the whole project still further – producing an album that is both adventurous and highly enjoyable.
John Tams is one of our finest musicians and singers and one of our greatest songwriters. He can sing traditional material wonderfully and, at the same time, has written some of our best songs ever. Harry Stone, otherwise known as Hearts of Coal, and the beautiful Hugh Stenson and Molly Green are just two of his songs that have entered the canon in the last few years. On this album, John deals the tradition – reworking several classic songs – and then adds his own unmistakable originals to produce a landmark new album.
• Top 10 Folk Album of the Year 2005 Mojo
• ” An album that seems to grow in stature with every play – a poetic songwriter and singer of real character – a consummate reflection on an evocative, living tradition. An exceptional album. Album of the Month” ★★★★ Mojo
• “The true “Folk album of the year” is undeniably John Tams’ The Reckoning. A stunning collection of original and traditional material, the album defies easy categorisation. Outstanding” ★★★★ What’s On In London
• “Bitter Withy as arranged here is the best version I have ever heard. Brilliant.” fRoots
• “The new album, The Reckoning, is absolutely superb – one of the main folk happenings of the year.” Mike Harding BBC Radio 2
• “An absolutely fantastic album – I love Amelia, love Safe House, love it all, and the Bitter Withy is out of this world.” Linda Thompson
• “The Reckoning is a beautifully composed CD – masculine yet tender, full of integrity – so beautifully expressing things that should be said and felt. As for the Bitter Withy – it’s just wonderful – hypnotic, and moving forward in a quite extraordinary way; so steady – so compelling.” Shirley Collins