CHESTERFIELD: John Tams and Barry Coope go down a storm at folk club

John Tams
John Tams

Chesterfield Folk Club consistently manage to pull in a big crowd. The reason is probably because they also consistently book artists with worldwide reputations and impressive credentials.

The February concert was no exception and saw John Tams and Barry Coope take to the stage.

Barry has been singing traditional and self-penned songs on the international scene for a good few decades now. John Tams has recently been the musical director for ‘Warhorse’ both at the National Theatre and in Hollywood while making the film with Steven Spielberg. He is perhaps best known as Rifleman Daniel Hagman in the television series, ‘Sharpe’. Oh yes, and he has won the BBC

Radio 2 Folk Awards no less than five times!

He claimed not to have done a gig in Chesterfield for 45 years. However, he certainly made up for lost time as he and Barry turned in a superlative evening.

If I had to pick out highlights then for me ‘Amelia’ was amongst the best live folk performances I’ve witnessed. In the second half a song about the fishing industry in Whitby showed how the duo

were able to produce a studio quality sound on a live stage. John has clear bell-like vocals and all the songs were beautifully atmospheric and enhanced by Barry Coope’s well-honed harmonies and

keyboard accompaniment.

The support band were a trio of faces familiar to the local folk scene who go under the name of ‘Mondegreen’. They had a refreshingly easy-going style and their set included some of Dave

Bateson’s own well crafted songs. All their songs were carefully arranged and chosen to provide a good mix of harmony and humour.

For me this has to have been one of the best nights I’ve been to at Chesterfield Folk Club and I’m looking forward to seeing Jez Lowe and Kate Bramley on Friday, March 8, at the same venue. Just to

give you all a ‘heads up’, Jez Lowe has been honoured by a Sony Radio Academy Award and has been described by BBC radio as ‘one of Britain’s best songwriters’. Sounds like another night not to be