The George Beattie Project - A Poet Lost in Time




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Early life
Tams was born in Holbrook, Derbyshire, the son of a publican. He left school at 15 without any qualifications and worked in fairgrounds before training as a journalist. He first worked as a reporter for the Ripley and Heanor News , and then as an editor on the Belper News  and the Alfreton Observer . He also worked for BBC Radio Derby and Nottingham, and as a freelance reporter for the Melody Maker and the New Musical Express.
There was a strong musical background in his family and by the age of 11 he was playing the B flat horn in Riddings Brass Band, and began playing the guitar in his teens.





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Folk musician
In December 2009, Tams released a single of "Love Farewell" with the Band and Bugles of the Rifles. The recording of this song, dating from the Peninsular War, was for the benefit of Help for Heroes, a charity dedicated to supporting injured British service personnel and their families.





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Collector and stage actor
In 1974, Tams and Neil Wayne went to County Clare to make field recordings of highly regarded traditional players of the concertina. The recordings were issued on the "Free Reed" label in the '70s. These recordings then became very scarce until 2007 when all the tracks were issued as a 6-CD set called The Clare Set.
He also worked as a music consultant at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on Holding Fire (opened July 2007), and on War Horse  (opened October 2007) at the National TheatreWar Horse has been described as the most successful show ever staged by the National and has resulted in several awards. It received six nominations for the Olivier Awards, including one for the Best Sound, for Tams and fellow team members Chris Shutt and Adrian Sutton.




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Television actor
Solo singerJohn Tams may be best known to the general public through having played one of the supporting roles in the ITV drama series Sharpe as one of the "Chosen Men": rifleman and former poacher Daniel Hagman, a whimsical, sober, steady hand in the 95th Rifles; always ready with a deadly eye behind a Baker rifle, a folk remedy for an ailment or a song for a weary heart. He also co-wrote the music for each film (18, as of Nov. 2008) alongside Dominic Muldowney.
The accompanying book to the Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten lists Unity as one of its classic albums. Two of his tracks appear in the boxed set, Bitter Withy from The Reckoning is track sixteen on the first CD and Unity (Raise Your Banners High) from Unity is track one on the fifth CD.
In 1996, Tams and Muldowney released the best-selling album Over the Hills & Far Away: The Music of Sharpe to accompany the series. This album has sold over 120,000 copies.


Solo singer
Tams has released three solo albums to date, Unity (2000), Home (2002) and The Reckoning (2005); all of which have met with critical acclaim. At the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Tams won Best Album for The Reckoning, Best Traditional Track (for Bitter Withy) and Folk Singer of the Year. Tams is the only artist to have won the Album of the Year award twice, the first time was with his first solo album Unity in 2001. At the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2008 he and singing partner Barry Coope were presented with the prestigious Best Duo award from actor Sean Bean, alongside whom he acted in the Sharpe TV series. Tams has now received ten nominations, resulting in six BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
The accompanying book to the Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten lists Unity as one of its classic albums. Two of his tracks appear in the boxed set, Bitter Withy from The Reckoning is track sixteen on the first CD and Unity (Raise Your Banners High) from Unity is track one on the fifth CD.






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Radio producer
In 2006, Tams became musical director of the BBC Radio 2 2006 Radio Ballads, an updating of Ewan MacColl's Radio Ballads. The series was short-listed for two Sony Radio Awards in 2007. In the event it won a Sony Gold Radio Academy Award for Song of Steel and a Bronze award for Thirty Years of Conflict. It has been nominated for a Clarion Award. The song Steelos, written by Tams for the Song of Steel episode of the 2006 Ballads, was nominated Best Original Song at the 2006 Radio 2 Folk Awards. Currently, Tams is also working on a stage version of Steelos to be performed at the Magna Centre in the Rother Valley in 2009. He worked on John McCusker's commission 'Under One Sky' alongside Graham CoxonRoddy WoombleJulie Fowlis and others.

In November 2007, Tams was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University, then in January 2009 another Honorary Doctorate from Derby University.




















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