Perhaps the most famous of all the southern soul groups, the Tams have a recording history which covers three decades or so. Most of this output has been pop rather than soul - although the continuing charm of titles like "Hey Girl Don't Bother Me", "Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy" and "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am" is undeniable. But the reason the group appears on these pages is the extraordinary voice of lead singer Joe Pope. Pope's rasping throaty delivery lent weight to even the fluffiest of the Tams discs and when the material was more soul orientated he could raise the quality of the resulting track with consummate ease.

The group - Joe Pope and his brother Charles, Horace Key, Robert Smith and Floyd Ashton - came from Atlanta, GA and were gigging around for several years before they came to the notice of leading local musical impresario Bill Lowery. He leased their first few 45s to Arlen in Philly before putting them with ABC on the back of the success of "Untie Me". Big national hits followed, largely penned by Joe South and Ray Whitley, and recorded at Fame Studios. By the mid 60s recordings took place in Atlanta and the backing band was the Classics IV later the Atlanta Rhythm Section. South Carolina's Julius Cobb wrote the excellent deep ballad ListenThere's A Great Big Change In Me which gave Pope one of his most compelling vehicles. You can compare Cobb's own version of the song here. The other number that gave him similar room was ListenWhat Do You Do When Your Lover Leaves You - a haunting ballad with the guys chanting a repetitive refrain behind a liberated Pope who gives a first rate soul vocal.

Although the hits dried up into the 70s the group continued to perform around the world, hitting big in the UK in 1971 with a resurrected "Hey Girl". The group got another lease of life as the Carolina beach scene grew and they had a big regional seller with "There Ain't Nothing Like Shagging" a title which has a particular resonance for UK residents. Joe Pope sadly passed on in 1996 but various version of the Tams continue touring to great acclaim today.

What kind of fool (do you think I am) - ABC 10502Untie me - ARLEN 711


If Love Were Like Rivers / Vacation Time  ~ HERITAGE 101 (1961)
Untie Me / Disillusioned  ~ ARLEN 711 (1962)
Deep Inside Me / If You're So Smart ~ ARLEN 717 (1963)
You'll Never Know / Blue Shadows  ~ ARLEN 720 (1963)
Find Another Love / Don't Ever Go  ~ ARLEN 729 (1963)
What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am) / Laugh It Off  ~ ABC 10502 (1963)
Find Another Love / My Baby Loves Me  ~ GENERAL AMERICAN 714 (1964)
It's All Right (You're Just In Love) / You Lied To Your Daddy ~ ABC 10533 (1964)
Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me / Take Away  ~ ABC 10573 (1964)
Silly Little Girl / Weep, Little Girl  ~ ABC 10601 (1964)
Truth Hurts / Why Did My Little Girl Cry ~ ABC 10614 (1965)
Unlove You / ListenWhat Do You Do When Your Lover Leaves You ~ ABC 10635 (1965)
Concrete Jungle / Till The End Of Time  ~ ABC 10702 (1965)
Carryin' On / I've Been Hurt  ~ ABC 10741 (1965)
Untie Me / Find Another Love  ~ KING 6012 (1965)
Riding For A Fall / Got To Get Used To A Broken Heart  ~ ABC 10779 (1966)
Holding On / Is It Better To Have Loved A Little  ~ ABC 10825 (1966)
Shelter / Get Away (Leave Me Alone ~ ABC 10885 (1966)
Breaking Up / How 'Bout It  ~ ABC 10929 (1967)
Everything Else Is Gone / Mary, Mary, Row Your Boat  ~ ABC 10956 (1967)
All My Hard Times / Little More Soul  ~ ABC 11019 (1967)
Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy / That Same Old Song  ~ ABC 11066 (1968)
Trouble Maker / Laugh At The World  ~ ABC 11128 (1968)
Sunshine, Rainbow, Blue Sky, Brown Eyed / ListenThere's A Great Big Change In Me  ~ ABC 11183 (1969)
Love, Love, Love / Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy  ~ ABC 11228 (1969)
Long Distance Operator / Numbers  ~ APT 26010 (1970)
Too Much Foolin' Around / How Long Love  ~ 1-2-3 1726 (1970)
Tams Medley (The) / Wire Help  ~ CAPITOL 3050 (1971)
Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me / Weep, Little Girl  ~ DUNHILL 4290 (1971) Don't You Just Know It / Making Music  ~ ABC 11358 (1973)
Alley-Oop / What Did He Do For You  ~ M-G-M SOUTH 7023 (1974)
Making True Love / My Baby Sure Can Shag  ~ COMPLEAT 109 (1983)


Presenting ~ ABC 481 (1964)
Hey girl don't bother me ~ ABC 499 (1964)
Time for ~ ABC 596 (1967)
A little more soul ~ ABC 627 (1968)
A portrait of the Tams ~ ABC 673 (1969)
Mighty mighty Tams ~ SOUND SOUTH 16011 (1978)
Beach music from the Tams ~ COMPLEAT 501 (1983)



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