He left school at 15 without any qualifications and went to Chesterfield Technical College where he spent two years on a GCE course, concentrating on the arts.
He first worked as a reporter for the Ripley and Heanor News, and then as an editor on the Belper News - where he notably interviewed the then deputy prime minister George Brown - and for the Alfreton Observer.
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.
The A to Z of sex and disability is a raunchy and light-hearted look at the loves and lusts of disabled people in Britain today.
He also worked for BBC Radio Derby and BBC Radio Nottingham, and as a freelance reporter for the Melody Maker and the New Musical Express.
Tams was a member of Derbyshire folk group Muckram Wakes in the 1970s, then worked with Ashley Hutchings as singer and melodeon-player on albums including Son of Morris On, and as a member of the British folk rock group Albion Band.
In the event it won a Sony Gold Radio Academy Award for Song of Steel and a Bronze award for Thirty Years of Conflict. 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.