Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

Gaf The Horse In Tears

Gaf The Horse In Tears
Gaf The Horse In Tears
Photograph courtesy: Tamworth Herald
The Gallery

Musical Type/Genre:
Formed: 1985 Split: 1985

Band Members:
Tony Cole
Also in Eyes
Stuart Bailey
Also in Eyes
Robin Browne
Also in Eyes
Ted Wilson - Guitar (Dosthill)
Also in Omen, Great Express

One On One
Gaf The Horse In Tears
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald – 05/04/85
Musicbox – Sip this – a real musical cocktail
TWO of Tamworth’s most original bands will hit the Arts Centre stage on Saturday for one of the most eagerly awaited gigs in the town this year. The highly-rated One On One will join forces with a band going by the bizarre name of Gaf The Horse in Tears for a very promising double-bill.

For Gaf, it will be their first ever gig in Tamworth, while for Bank holiday festival entrants, One On One, it will be another chance to sharpen up their stage show in front of a capacity audience.

Gaf have only been together a short while in the present format. Three of the members Tony Cole, Stuart Bailey and Robin Bowne used to play with Eyes, while the fourth member Ted Wilson will best be remembered for playing in Omen a few years back.

All four musicians have been itching to get back on stage and have worked flat out to prepare for tomorrow’s event.


“Eyes were a very lazy band really so I wanted this one to be different,” said Robin. “After just a couple of practices with Ted we knew it was going to work and we set ourselves a time for playing our first gig,” he added.

For Ted, finding Gaf was a great relief after several months of doing virtually nothing.

”I tried other bands but they never came up to much and I was ready to give it up altogether until I met this group,” he said.

Like One On One the band is made up of experienced musicians who feel their music cuts across normal barriers. Trying to pin them down to what they sound like is about as easy as crossing the Atlantic on a rubber duck.

“Ever song is different which makes it impossible to label us,” said Ted. The group did admit a few influences but even those didn’t help as they ranged from The Police to Rush.

The emphasis is on short relatively commercial songs which the band hope will appeal to w wide cross section. But what I am sure most people want to know is where on earth did they get that name?

“It’s from a book. We wanted to get away from one word names,” said Robin. Tomorrow looks like being a testing time for Gaf but for headliners One On One there are no such worries.


Few people would argue that as musicians they have no equals in the town. Tim Latham is in my opinion the best and most consistent guitarist in the area for the past five years. Andy Malkin is a first class bassist; Nigel Rowed one of the most inventive keyboard players around; Davie Ingham has a superb voice and Stu ‘Have-drums-will travel! Blaine is certainly the best drummer in Tamworth at the moment.

Put together, you have an amazing musical cocktail and one which will probably be drunk eagerly by the Arts Centre crowd.

Tamworth Herald – 19/04/85
Musicbox – A dedicated pair offers style – and smile!
One On One/Gaf the Horse In Tears – Tamworth Arts Centre
Caption: One by One…moving too far away from the melodic sound? From left to right: Andy Malkin, Stuart Blaine, Dave Ingham, Gary Lancaster and the area’s number one guitarist Tim Latham.ALTHOUGH attendances at Tamworth gigs have never been better, there are still a great deal of young music fans who never go to concerts.

Many do not go because they suffer from that age-old Tamworth disease of apathy, but many even less inspiring people refuse to go because they moan ‘none of the bands in the area can play their instruments.’

Well, there is little we can do to stop the apathy, but if One On One and Gaf The Horse In Tears have anything to do with it, the myth of unprofessional musicianship can be blown forever.

For here are two bands who have so much technical ability as any I have seen in my six years as a Tamworth music follower. Even those who do not like the music the two bands create, cannot help but admire the way they create it which smacks of dedication and talent from start to finish.

Gaf’s ability is particularly noteworthy as they have only been together in their present format for a few months. Altough musically they tend to veer towards the mid-Seventies (which I regard with the sort of affection that a pretty teenager regards a facial wart) they do have a certain spring in their step which is endearing.

Their opening number for example was a jovial, well-paced song called ‘Time Dancing’ which appeared to mix the commerciality of Phil Collins with the feel of King Crimson or Crème.

“Machine Motion” is even better, as it is built around a mesmerising much-repeated guitar riff from Ted Wilson – a superb guitarist who has been away from the scene far too long.


What also makes the band a treat is that unlike many technically impressive outfits they do have a great sense of humour. Tony Cole has a neat line in between track chat (although I wish he hadn’t worn those shorts!) and the band as a whole seemed happy to play a two minute minuter which (I kid you not) sounded like an unholy alliance between Supertramp and The Wombles. All I all a very interesting debut set indeed.

For One On One the gig was yet another personal triumph which was lapped up by their eager followers. They hardly put a note – let alone a foot wrong and once again the key word of the night was professionalism.

But I do have a ‘but’. The thing that slightly disappointed me about the band was the direction their new material seems to be taking.

What used to make One On One so special – and unique – was that they could combine a progressive rock feel with a nice array of melodies. This ensured that not only rock fans could enjoy their progressive sound.

However, it seems that the melodies and commercial elements have been pushed aside in search of ever-more technical prowess. This became noticeable when One On One played their oldies such as “Fade Away” and “Don’t Stop The Captain”.

These are clearly songs that can appeal to everyone whereas I thought some of the new material as perhaps a little self-indulgent and potentially less attractive to a wide audience.

Still, that apart, it was nevertheless an enjoyable set. Everyone performed with exuberance and enthusiasm particularly Gary Lancaster (who is not Nigel Roe in disguise!) on keyboards and Dave Ingham on vocals.

To me, Dave is a man who belongs on a far bigger stage that the Tamworth Arts Centre. He has the looks, talent, charisma and style to go a very long way and although a strong team unit, I feel the more they promote Dave the better their chances are of attracting national interest.

So, a memorable gig for a number of reasons. It showed two bands with similar appeal in the full flight of enjoying the music they produce. The market for their music is potentially enormous and I sincerely hope that both bands will seek out that hole in the market and fill it before someone less worthy does so.

Tamworth Herald – 07/06/85
Musicbox – What a Dickens of a good time
Caption: One On One…taking a Chance tomorrow weekA HOST of Tamworth bands will be on show in the next few days in what promises to be the most exciting week so far this year.

The Dream Factory, Dickens, One On One, Gaf The Horse In Tears and Love On Board will all be in action in the next few days making it a week to remember.

Top ‘billing’ must go to The Dream Factory who on Saturday will step out in front of an amazing 20,000 at Castle Donington.

Major event

Then on Thursday the Dickens world tour comes to Tamworth Assembly Rooms for a three-band show which looks like being a major event in itself.

And finally tomorrow night sees One On One bringing their rich talents to the Arts Centre where they will be lining up with Birmingham outfit Chance.

For the Factory there is no doubt that their appearance at the Monsters of Soul event is a career highlight so far. The band were confirmed on to the bill two weeks ago and it means they will be playing with the burly, boisterous Bad Manners and the highly-rated Meteors. The event is seen as the scooter event of the year and there is no doubt that hundreds of local riders will travel along to cheer on their heroes.


The Factory, who looked in good form when I caught them at The Warren last week – should include the neo-legendary Dave Smith in their line-up making sure that one Royal Family – if not the other – is represented at the event.

The gig is the highlight of a spate of shows for the band and with all the expected media and spectator interest, it could really be a big break for the enthusiastic outfit.

Enthusiasm is also something which Mick Rutherford and Dickens will bring to the Assembly Rooms on Thursday. The band have many prestigious gigs lined-up all around the country but there is no doubt that there is something special about ‘coming home’. The gig, to start at around 8pm costs £1.50 and punters will also have the chance to see two exciting support acts. They will be joined by the hard-to-define but easy-to-enjoy Gaf The Horse In Tears and the happy-go-lucky but determined-to-succeed Love On Board.

Dickens will be selling copies of their excellent album ‘Standing Out’ on the night and there is a good chance music company executives will be watching. EMI, CBS and Virgin have all confirmed they will be sending A and R men to watch the band on tour and the group have also heard that they are to get a half-hour show on the Steve Williams Radio Mercia show on June 16.

On film

As well as coming out of the airwaves Dickens may also come out of the little screen shortly as two gigs at Stafford and Nuneaton are being filmed for possible television shows. A Thursday night gig not to be missed.

Less grandiose maybe, but equally important to the group, is One On One’s show at the Arts Centre tomorrow. There the band will be able to test out the numbers they are hoping to record on to new demo next week.

It will be the band’s second trip into the studio following an excellent demo early last year. One On One will be playing with Chance a band who are not unfamiliar to me! Entry to this gig is just 60p and it looks like being another enjoyable night.

So a week full of excitement. For One On One to test out new material to be recorded. For Dickens a chance to get the ‘home’ verdict on ‘Standing Out’ and for The Dream Factory a chance to go further down the road to their inevitable success. It is further proof that Tamworth’s music scene is buzzing at a wonderfully alarming rate.

Tamworth Herald – 21/06/85
Musicbox – A kaleidoscope of sounds – despite PAs!
There have been several interesting gigs in the town recently and Musicbox has been keeping tabs on most of them. Sam Holliday took a look at the Dickens/Gaf The Horse in Tears and Love On Board show; metal correspondent Kev Unwin saw Scarab’s BHX benefit and the ever-enthusiastic Martin Webster put pen to paper about The Folk Circus. Here are a few snippets of opinions on these very different gigs…

SCARAB – Opening with ‘Tonight We Take No Prisoners’ they played their usual set in a different order. After a brief moment when lead singer Paul tried to excuse the rather expensive entry price, the audience lapped it up. The flame fountain was there again as was the ‘gas mask’.

Unfortunately the power of Mick Goodby’s voice was too much for the Scarab P.A. and it blew a fuse, 20 seconds into the song.

LOVE ON BOARD – Not even an extremely and unhelpful and stubborn PA could stop Love On Board impressing me that they have improved greatly recently. The old numbers seemed insignificant next to new powerblasts like ‘Responsible For this’ which was as exciting as it was memorable. Particularly impressive was the general musicianship of Nick Reed, Neil Jones and Glen ‘Lofty’ Lewis all played skilfully but the real honours were won by drummer John twist who was simply superb and sounded better than he has ever done.

GAF THE HORSE IN TEARS – Despite the fact that Tony Cole was still wearing THOSE shorts, Gaf turned in another interesting, varied set. They have so many facts and influences in their sound, that tying them down to one musical style is like trying to climb up a wall covered in grease. You get so far towards your goal and then you slip down again. Best number was a newie with an unpronounceable German title although I still have a soft spot for the catchy ‘Machine motion’ which was given two refreshing airings.


FOLK CIRCUS – Perhaps Folk Circus is not such an apt title for this motley crew because you will never hear ‘Greensleeves’ or ‘Wild River’ at this gathering. No, mainly it is a celebration of what is good about modern contemporary acoustic music where all styles, blues, country, rock and roll and so on are covered. It’s free, fun and friendly and yet further proof of Tamworth’s rapidly expanding kaleidoscope of modern music.

DAN (part of Folk Circus)
All the way from the wilds of Canada we have Dan who is easily the most popular performer ever to grace the Tavern in the Town stage. He sung of “Wildwood Wood” and “Two Women Blues” with an infectious good humour that touches your heart and makes your soul sing.

DICKENS – With a spirit and enthusiasm that has always been Mick’s hallmark, Dickens took to the stage. The set (I had to leave early unfortunately) was largely made up of the band’s fine album ‘Standing Out’ and was for me dominated by ‘Hit and Run’ a show stealer if ever there was one. The sound coming out of the PA speakers, however, was not nearly as sharp as the one that comes out of the speakers of your record player and some of the more delicate touches that symbolise the band’s panorama of sound were perhaps sadly lost in the vast Assembly Rooms arena. Still a very enjoyable set and let us hope it helps them to conquer the world as they begin their epic global adventure.

Tamworth Herald – 27/09/85
Musicbox – TamAid’s genial chief pops up
Midnight guy still smiling
WOULD YOU buy a second-hand demo fro the pictured-above gypsy? No? Well think again, for the gentleman above is none other than Paul Speare, the man who produced TAMAID and also added the sax on the tracks.

Paul is pictured from the inner-sleeve of the last Dexy’s album “Too-Ry-Aye” where our resident Rosie Lee performed on such mega hits as ‘Come On Eileen’ and ‘Jackie Wilson Said’.

The question is how can anyone who has spent hour after hour with that difficult genius Kevin Rowland still be smiling? Questions on a postcard to Expresso Bongo Studios, Lichfield Street, Tamworth.


A slightly less famous band than Dexys are Gaf The Horse In Tears who have decided to split up. The band, who have made quite an impact in their short career, have decided to change their name, line-up and sound. Ted, Stuart and Robin are staying together and now they are seeking new musicians to build a fresh group altogether.

Bass players and keyboard players are especially welcome…

Also changing are Depth Charge who appear to have recruited the ever-loveable Mick Goodby as lead vocalist. A wise move indeed lads, but just a warning – Mick’s dog is a killer. In a word, AVOID!

Certainly not to avoid are Breaking Point who have completed their line-up by acquiring a new drummer, Jason Farrow. The ex-Wolfsbane, Childs Play amd Lost Johnny drummer has delighted bassist Daydo, who even had a shave by way of a celebration.

“He seems to fit in really well and we are delighted he has joined us,” he said.

Still on joining things, Ian “When does he find time to sleep?” Gibbons has been appointed as the first ever rock representative on the Arts Advisory Council which overseas the Arts Centre. Ian has more devilish tricks to unveil and all will be revealed in the near future.

And finally, a sad farewell this week to Femme Fatale bassist ‘Jean-Jacques’ Higgs who is leaving the area at the weekend to go to college.

According to the handsome man-in-black bassist, he will still be returning occasionally to keep the Femme Fatale ball rolling.

The real question is how will he ever be able to drag himself away from the beautiful, picturesque and completely unviolent (!) City of Coventry?

Tamworth Herald – 18/10/85
Musicbox – Looking out and listening in…
TED WILSON and Robin Norman, the former Gaf The Horse In Tears members, are still looking for musicians to form a new and original rock band. They have plenty of ideas and ambition and want to meet any available musicians who want to try and do something different, initially in an informal workshop atmosphere.

Tamworth Herald – 07/03/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
FORGET ALL about musical unemployment – there are a lot of bands out their looking for new members so here is our won situations vacant column…

A new band formed out of the members of Gaf The Horse In Tears are on the look out for a new vocalist.

U2 and Simple Minds are the bands they are trying to follow and if you are interested in finding out more details contact Tony or Ted.

The Gallery

Gaf The Horse In Tears


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