Tony Head was born in Bournemouth on 14th January 1943 and began his musical career playing skiffle in The Riversiders with his mates Stan Osbourne and Ricky Mitchell on guitars, tub thumper David Diggins, tea chest bass plucker Len Onslow and washboard scraper Lawrence Waters. The six school friends underwent the rite of passage destined for most budding Bournemouth musicians by braving the rowdy Saturday morning matinee crowd at the Moderne cinema in Moordown. By 1960 Tony had left school and found gainful employment in the building trade as a pointer by day and fronted The Furies, a rock n’ roll group, by night. He replaced their original singer Les Fisher, joining bassist John ‘Jet’ Berryman, drummer Howard ‘Eddie’ Parsons and guitarist Al Kirtley. The revamped quartet became Tony and the Ramrods and then Dave Anthony and the Ravers after Tony changed his name following a suggestion by Dave Jay, assistant to their agent Reg Calvert. Reg liked the group’s sound and smart look of matching dark suits, apart from Tony who looked resplendent in an eye-catching light blue jacket and gave them plenty of work including support slots with the totally bonkers Screaming Lord Sutch and a couple of Larry Parnes boys, Johnny Gentle and Vince Eager. In 1961 Reg upped sticks with his wife Dorothy and moved their centre of operations to Clifton Hall, Warwickshire, a crumbling estate close to Rugby. For a while he looked out for the Ravers and arranged a tour of clubs around the Midlands but he soon lost interest in his charges and switched his allegiance elsewhere, leaving the group to fend for themselves.
In August 1961 a revamped rhythm section of Peter and Michael Giles from Johnny King and the Raiders brought yet another name change to Dave Anthony and the Rebels and a handful of gigs at the Bure Club and the newly opened Downstairs Club in Holdenhurst Road, but it was never destined to last. Al Kirtley was in Zoot Money’s sights for his latest venture, the Big Roll Band, leaving the remaining Rebels to concede defeat and throw in the towel.
Tony moved onto The Sands Combo in 1962, joining guitarist Graham ‘Wes’ Douglas, bassist Roger Bone, saxophonist Nigel Street and drummer Pat ‘Pee Wee’ Sheehan. The quintet expanded to a sextet with the addition of Al Kirtley on his preferred instrument the piano and then a septet when Zoot Money’s first shot at stardom in London came to nothing and he returned to Bournemouth. The Sands broadened their appeal by basing their repertoire on the pop charts, a move which helped them secure the hottest gig in town sharing billing with Tony Blackburn and the Rovers at the weekly ‘Big Beat Night’ at the Pavilion Ballrooms. Further work came their way with a regular Sunday night date on the ‘Jazz and Twist Boat’, a weekly round trip to Swanage, casting off at eight fifteen sharp from Bournemouth pier on the Embassy paddle steamer. Billed as ‘A starlight cruise for young and old along the spectacular Dorset coastline with continuous bar and buffet’, the advertisement promised a pleasant trip on a balmy summer’s night for just ten bob a head. What the blurb failed to take into consideration was the vagaries of the British weather which could turn a delightful evening’s cruise tootling around Old Harry Rocks into a nausea inducing ordeal that could test the constitution of a sea hardened matelot.
As the nights drew in and the Embassy docked up for the winter, arguments over money split the band asunder. Zoot set about reforming the Big Roll Band, Al Kirtley and Nigel Street turned their hands to modern jazz in the Crispin Street Quintet with the Shipstone brothers, guitarist Jimmy and bassist Francis plus drummer Tom Costello and Tony teamed up with the tenor sax man Nick Newell in the Rhythm Section, but the band only lasted a couple of months as Nick was snapped up by Zoot and drafted into the Big Roll Band. Tony was then approached by Gordon Haskell to join drummer Stan Levy and guitarists Tino Licinio and Terry Squires, the latter was filling in for an indisposed Robert Fripp, in a re-vamped League of Gentlemen.
In early 1965 the Southbourne trio of organist Robert Henry Michaels (b. 20th February 1946 in Bournemouth), guitarist Timothy Large (b. 14th July 1942 in Bournemouth) and bassist William Jacobs (b. 12th April 1946 in Bournemouth) left local pop covers group The Trackmarks and assembled a soul / r&b band in the vein of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames. They recruited trumpeter Andy Kirk (b. 1946 in Wareham), who brought with him a friend trombonist, Graham Livermore (b. 1946 in Bournemouth), a stalwart of the trad jazz circuit and past member of the Sahara Jazz Band. Drummer John Devekey (b. 28th June 1946 in Bournemouth) from Eddie Stevens and the Valiants was brought in to provide a steady backbeat and the much older by at least twenty years, Pete Sweet (b. circa 1925 in Bournemouth), brought with him his considerable experience and extensive tenor saxophone chops. Pete and his wife ran the Stella Maris guesthouse in Southourne Road which would cause a conflict of interest in the course of the band’s career. The new formation went out as the Bob Michael’s Band during the summer of 1965, but that all changed with the addition of vocalist Tony Head, whose nom de plume would give the group its new name, Dave Anthony’s Moods.
DAM’s, as they became known by their fans, appeared at Mudeford’s Bure Club and took over the Saturday night slot vacated by The Nite People at the Les Disque A Go! Go! where they unleashed their brand new repertoire of soul classics including James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and “I’ll Go Crazy”, Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City”, Otis Redding’s “My Girl” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and other favourites such as “Harlem Shuffle”, “Knock on Wood” and “Hold on I’m Coming” on the knowledgeable crowd. However, they were ambitious and soon gave up their day jobs and sunny Bournemouth, for a rented communal house at Hutchings Walk in Hampstead Garden Suburbs, a leafy area of north-west London.
After securing somewhere to live, the next pressing job on the agenda was to find a suitable manager to handle their affairs. Initially the Gunnel Brothers, managers of the Flamingo Club were in the frame, as was the Australian Robert Stigwood and Tony Secunda who handled The Moody Blues and The Move, but finally they went with Ken Pitt, manager of the successful chart group Manfred Mann and Davy Jones, a struggling wannabe pop singer who would become David Bowie. With Pitt on board and the clout of the London City Booking Agency behind them, it wasn’t long before the band followed Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band into the mecca of r&b, the Flamingo Club. Plenty more work followed at the Marquee Club where they supported Bournemouth’s own Al Stewart and The Move, the 100 Club in Oxford Street, Klooks Kleek, Tiles Club in Soho and the Ram Jam in Brixton. They became firm favourites at Eel Pie Island, a decrepit hotel on a small clump of land in the middle of the Thames at Twickenham, where they picked up a small fee of £15 for first their gig in October 1965 and a healthier £40 by the time of their last in early January 1967.
The Cromwellian, or ‘Crom’ as it was know to its regulars, was a converted Victorian mansion in Cromwell Road, Kensington. Co-owned by Paul Mitchell and four professional wrestlers, Bob ‘The Wrestling Beatle’ Archer, Paul ‘Doctor Death’ Lincoln, Judo Al Hayes AKA ‘The White Angel’ and Ray ‘Rebel’ Hunter, the ‘Crom’ provided an environment where the great and the good of the capitals rock and pop glitterati could drink and relax without being hassled. Patronised by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon, Georgie Fame and Chris Farlowe, the club became a favoured watering hole and a place to let your hair down and jam with whoever was entertaining the clientele that evening. On one occasion guitarist Tim Large distinctly remembers Stevie Winwood, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon and Long John Baldry entertaining the crowd while the DAM’s bassist, Bill Jacobs, manfully held on to their coattails.
In April 1966 the band released their debut single on Parlophone, “New Directions”, a brass driven ditty from the pen of Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg, backed with the catchy “Give it a Chance”, a Tim Large original. The disc bombed spectacularly due to scant radio exposure and zero promotion, although a positive review in the New Musical Express wrongly predicted a hit. Another opportunity to record came their way when Genya Zelkowitz or, ‘Goldie’, of Goldie and the Gingerbreads fame landed on our shores. She was in Britain to pursue a new r&b direction and the Moods were hired as her backing band on a two-month tour of clubs and American Air Force bases. During her stay the band, minus Dave Anthony, visited Pye studios in the Edgware Road and recorded a handful of songs with the American chanteuse, one of which, “Disappointed Bride”, made it onto vinyl under the pseudonym Patsy Cole.
As the summer approached, the inevitable came to pass when saxophonist Pete Sweet was summoned home by his wife to help run their B&B in Southbourne, his place was taken by Bob Downes (b. 22nd July 1937 in Plymouth, Devon) from the John Barry Seven after he answered an advertisement in the Melody Maker (his tenure was short lived as he left by mutual consent a couple of months later). There was also an unforeseen tragedy which momentarily stopped the band in its tracks. Tony Head was living in their communal house with his then wife Anna and their young child, when one night the toddler mysteriously passed away. Distraught, the singer and his wife abruptly returned home, leaving the band in a state of limbo. Ironically, it was indirectly through another fatal event that the band found a replacement. Pitt also managed the Mark Leeman Five, a group from Woolwich who had built up a respectable reputation on the live circuit. However, one night in June 1965, their vocalist, John ‘Mark Leeman’ Ardrey, was killed in a car crash on his way home from a gig in Blackpool. The band recruited Roger Peacock (b. 29th January 1946 in London) from The Cheynes to pick up the reins, keeping the name out of respect for their deceased singer. They limped on for a few months but the chemistry had gone and they folded, leaving Roger a free agent. Pitt put him forward as a replacement for Tony and the band gave him the nod, which meant the hapless Peacock ceased being the dead singer Mark Leeman and took on the guise of the indisposed Dave Anthony instead.
The new line-up took to the road with a vengeance calling into the industrial hubs of Leicester, Derby, Sheffield and Birmingham in the Midlands, Redruth and Penzance in the South West, Norwich to the east, Bath to the west and a couple of home town gigs at the Crown Hotel in Poole and the Disque A Go! Go!. But on Christmas Eve 1966 they made a gaffe that would have far-reaching consequences. Earlier in the evening they had fulfilled a date at the Ram Jam in Brixton and didn’t fancy the drive across London to the Flamingo Club for a gruelling all-nighter. It was decided that John Devekey would feign illness and instead of driving to Wardour Street in the West End the band would make a beeline for Bournemouth and spend the festive season with their respective families. By any stretch of the imagination that was not a good career move, as the Gunnell brothers had a reputation to uphold. Rik had trained as a boxer in his youth, Johnny sported a tasty-looking razor scar on his left cheek and it was rumoured they were associates of the Kray’s, so pissing them off wasn’t the smartest move they could make. In the new year, to avoid the ire of their employers, Pitt swiftly tied up a pre-arranged two month contract to play in Italy and packed them off tout suite in their Ford Transit for an uncertain future.
After a tortuous channel crossing and an arduous trek through Germany, the band finally arrived at their pension in Milan freezing cold, starving and dead on their feet. The eight-week residency, one hour a night starting at nine o’clock sharp, at the Piper Club in the centre of the city was arranged by their new employer Leo Wetcher. Within weeks they became the talk of the town pulling in large crowds and to go with their newfound popularity, the band ditched their Mod threads and Ben Sherman button-down shirts for bold striped jackets, satin shirts, paisley ties and stylish Italian shoes, creating an original striking image much in keeping with the fashions of the day.
Towards the end of their two month stay Leo presented them with an open ended contract guaranteeing plenty of work, paid for return flights back home for visits and a proposal to buy them out of their existing contract with Ken Pitt, an offer they couldn’t refuse. He also facilitated a deal with the Italian label Joker which spawned two singles. The first, “My Baby”, became a hit in their adopted country and a future vehicle for Janis Joplin on her posthumous 1971 album Pearl. A couple of months later they released a rather pointless note for note reworking of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, not unsurprisingly it failed to register. Before the records were released Leo had persuaded the band to drop the ‘h’ from Anthony and become Dave Antony’s Moods, as Italians struggled with the pronunciation.
On the back of the success of “My Baby” their reputation spread and the band travelled the length and breadth of Italy taking in the sister Piper Clubs in Viareggio and Rome, the Peppermint in Genoa and various venues in Naples, Turin, Modena, Riccione, Fiorano, Rimini, Florence and the Bentegodi football stadium in Verona. Back in Milan they shared a bill with Sammy Davis Jnr. at the Palazzo Del Ghiaccio (ice rink) and with Gene Pitney at their regular gig back at the Piper.
During 1968 cracks began to appear. Firstly, Chris Dennis (b. 31st July 1946 in Chiswick, London) of The Bad Boys replaced Bob Michaels when he left to form the short-lived Pleasure Machine in Turin with guitarist Roger Dean, formerly of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, drummer Franco ‘Pupo’ Longo from the Italian band The New Dada and the newly arrived from England, Tony ‘Dave Anthony’ Head on vocals. The following year Italian drummer Gualtiero Galassi replaced a disillusioned John Devekey and Maurizio Arcieri took over the vocals from Roger Peacock after he was sacked for underhand dealings with the management and being a pain in the arse. After all the toing and froing, the original vision of the band became so diluted the remaining Brits called it a day the following year.
After the dust settled, Bob Michaels moved to Switzerland to study organ and choral conducting and became the organist at Lugano cathedral. He later became the president of the Swiss Federation of Pueri Cantores and then the vice president of the European Federation of Pueri Cantores (FIPC) in 2009. He is married with two children. Pete Sweet played modern jazz around the Bournemouth area until 1990, when he stopped because of ill health and died in 2001. Graham Livermore lived in Poole and played in the same band as Pete, he died in 2013. Bill Jacobs emigrated to Australia where he became a karate instructor and worked in nuclear research, he now resides in Indonesia. Tim Large became a banker and lives in Reading, he also wrote an entertaining memoir on the DAM’s called Dave Anthony’s Moods: This Obscure Group. Andy Kirk became a farmer in England with his Italian wife and three children, he then divorced and moved to France where he died in March 2020. John Devekey moved back to Bournemouth where he lived with his second wife until his death in 2018. After his dismissal from the DAM’s, Roger Peacock joined The Primitives and released a solo single, “Just a Lonely Man”, on the Italian Joker label in 1971 after which he returned to England and obscurity. He later moved to Goa in India, where he died in a motorcycle accident in 2007. Bob Downes resumed his career in jazz and now lives in Germany and Chris Dennis stayed in Italy where he joined The Nomads. He is still there and performs and teaches music.
Almost unknown in the UK, Dave Antony’s Moods were rather optimistically hailed as the Italian Beatles by their devoted fans in their adopted country and enjoyed a couple of years of success. They put out three singles in their lifetime, with two of them only seeing the light of day in Italy. It’s a pity they never fulfilled their potential and recorded a full album, Cosi è la vita.
As for Tony Head, he resurfaced in March 1968 after short stints with The Plague in Bournemouth and The Pleasure Machine in Turin, as a replacement to Chris Andrews in Les Fleur de Lys at the behest of his friend Gordon Haskell. While awaiting his permanent call up, Tony entered the studio with the band and the producer Donnie Elbert to record a version of the soul classic “Gimme a Little Sign”. It gained a release under the pseudonym Tony Simon and duly stiffed five months prior to Brenton Wood taking the same song into the top ten. A solo single, “Race with the Wind”, also slipped out in 1968 credited to Dave Antony but there was no involvement from his new band. In the spring he became a fully paid-up member of Fleur de Lys just prior to Haskell quitting in a fit of pique after finding out the band had been financially screwed by their manager, Frank Fenter. The remaining members brought in bassist Tago Byers from The Moquettes and recorded a single, “Stop Crossing the Bridge”, the first release to come out on the Atlantic label by a British band. For a follow up Fenter cajoled them into recording the overtly poppy “Butchers and Bakers” however, the song was so disliked they refused to promote it. Believing the single had potential, he was forced to put out the disc under the pseudonym Chocolate Frog to appease his disgruntled charges. The next release was the excellent “Two Can Make it Together”, a Sharon Tandy and Tony Head duet billed as Tony and Tandy. Record Mirror made it record of the week, the New Musical Express and Disc both posted positive reviews, Radio One plugged it regularly and they mimed to it on Dee Time and Top of the Pops, but still it flopped. “(You’re Just a) Liar”, written by guitarist Bryn Haworth, was Fleur De Lys swansong on vinyl but, like all their other singles, it stubbornly refused to sell.
The final nail in the coffin occurred after a promotional gig in Wembley. While driving home, drummer Keith Guster was involved in a road accident that left him partially paralysed. By the time he had sufficiently recovered, Fleur de Lys were finished. Sharon Tandy was struggling with a serious drug problem and disappeared from view, Bryn Haworth teamed up with guitarist Leigh Stevens from the American proto stoner rock trio Blue Cheer and disappeared over the pond and Frank Fenter sold up his management company and followed Howarth to America where he set up the successful Capricorn label, home to the Allman Brothers Band. Tony played a few gigs around London with Keith Guster on drums until Guster moved to Reading, then he took up an option on a recording deal with Sparta Florida Studios making cheap compilation albums of cover versions for the Fontana label. He later married Judy who had worked in Fenters London office and released a solo album Heads to Win and Tales to Tell (The Traveller) in 1972 as Tony Head, but by then his professional career was all but over. Tony died of heart failure on 1st October 2006.
There are two books available on Dave Anthony’s Moods; firstly a personal account of his time with the band by guitarist Tim Large called Dave Antony’s Moods: This Obscure Group and secondly, In Search of Dave’s Moods, written by fans Luca Selvini and Aldo Pedron which is only available in Italian, but will hopefully gain an English translation soon. To hear Tony Head’s contributions to Le Fleur De Lys and for both sides of Tony and Sharon Tandy’s single, try the 2013 compilation You’ve Got To Earn It on Acid Jazz. The first two Dave Anthony’s Moods singles, with B sides, are collected together on The New Directions vinyl EP, also on Acid Jazz.
Dave Anthony’s / Antony’s Moods Discography
Dave Anthony’s / Antony’s Moods Singles
New Directions c/w Give it a Chance: Parlophone (R 5438) 1966
My Baby c/w Fading Away: Joker (M 7000) 1967
A Whiter Shade of Pale c/w Talking to the Rain: Joker (M 7001) 1967
The New Directions EP: Acid Jazz (AJX340S) 2013 Track List: “New Directions”, “Give it a Chance”, “My Baby” & “Fading Away”
Patsy Cole aka Goldie (Zelkowitz) Single
Disappointed Bride c/w Honeymoon Night: Island (WI 271) 1966 With Dave Anthony’s Moods, B side by Earl Bostic
Les Feur De Lys featuring Tony Head Singles
Gimme a Little Sign c/w Never Too Much Love: Track (604 012) 1967 As Tony Simon
Stop Crossing the Bridge c/w Brick by Brick (Stone by Stone): Atlantic (584 193) 1968
Butchers and Bakers c/w I Forgive You: Atlantic (584 207) 1968 As Chocolate Frog
(You’re Just a) Liar c/w One Girl City: Atlantic (584 243) 1969
Two Can Make it Together c/w The Bitter and the Sweet: Atlantic (584 262) 1969 With Sharon Tandy as Tony and Tandy
The Two Sides of The Fleur De Lys EP: Acid Jazz (AJX 225 S) 2009 A four track EP which contains the demo “Gotta Get Enough Time”, “Yeah, I Do Love You”, a demo by Tony Head and Sharon Tandy which was to be the follow up to “Two Can Make it Together”, “Wait For Me” and “Circles” recorded live in Southampton in 1966.
Les Feur De Lys featuring Tony Head Albums
Reflections: Blueprint (BP256CD) 1997 CD compilation
You’ve Got to Earn It: Acid Jazz (AJXLP324) 2013 CD compilation
I Can See a Light – The Singles Box Set: Acid Jazz (AJX388X) 2017 Seven vinyl singles packaged into one box set
Dave Antony Single
Race with the Wind c/w Hide and Seek: Mercury (MF 1031) 1968
Tony Head Album
Heads to Win and Tales to Tell (The Traveller): CBS (64572) 1972
Compilations featuring Dave Anthony’s / Antony’s Moods
New Directions 1: A Collection of Blue Eyed British Soul 1964 – 1969: Past and Present (PAPRCD 2052) 2003 “New Directions”
Mod Meeting 6: Style Records (MM 06) 2010 “New Directions”
Fairytales Can Come True Volume 5: Steppin’ Through an Empty Time:Psychic Circle (PCCD 7035) 2010 “Fading Away”
Blow Your Bubblegum: Particles (PARTCD 4014) 2012 “Fading Away”
Beatfreak! 08: Particles (PARTCD 4089) 2017 “New Directions”
Compilation featuring Dave Antony
New Directions 4: Hide and Seek: Psychic Circle (PCCD 2007) 2007 “Hide and Seek”