(c’78-81) – David Raphael (keyboards / harmonica), Malcolm Dewhurst (drums), Ian Steward (bass), Al Dick (vocal / harmonica) and Steve Baker (lead & rhythm guitar).

Panther at the bar of their regular practice venue. Picture courtesy of William de Kock

The original ’78 line-up included Ian Smith (bass), and Erik Gibbons (?); Smith being replaced by Steward and for a few months Jim Homersham of Dr JJ’s Blues Band replaced Dick on vocals, until he left and Dick returned. Steve Busby (guitar) joined the band at around this time. Peter Cripps picked up the roadie / manager duties securing gigs at top flight venues, and when Busby didn’t return to the band after his vacation stood in on guitar for about 3 months. The band entered Chestnut Studios, Farnham for their first studio recording session, with Cripps undertaking production, in ’79. Cripps was still on guitar when Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts’, London hosted Panther on 28th August ’79, with a number of fans receiving tickets for free entry. Oft seen playing live at The Cricketers, Westfield, they supported The Jam at The Guildford Civic on 11 December 1980.

Panther, at the Guildford Civic Hall, 11 December ’80, supporting The Jam. Picture by Keith Knowles courtesy of Steve Baker.

Jon Harlow’s Tapeworm project’s first release was of Panther live at The Cricketer’s on 11 February ’81. Ray Mitchell’s Ebony Mobile Studio rolled up to the pub and run the wires through the bay window and recorded almost 50 minutes of live performance on their four-track system, putting 8 songs on each side. We also know that Panther supported The Alligators at The Junction, on the top floor of Bunters, Guildford on 10 July ’81. When David Raphael auditioned for Panther there was Ruth Gibbons (bass) Erik Gibbons (guitar), Dewhurst and Jane ? (lead guitar) and Homersham. Raphael replaced Dick on vocals / harmonica. At some point Pete Steadman, also joined the band.

Original Panther members Raphael, Dewhurst, and Busby along with Nigel Turner played a reunion gig at the Apulstock Festival, Bosham on 19 July 2014.

Dewhurst and Steward reportedly teamed up with Brian ? of The Fix after Panther folded in October ’81. Dick, Baker and Rapheal formed Cutting Edge with Nick Hudson (drums), Keith Renton (bass) in ’81. By ’85 Dewhurst was in China Heart with fellow Panther Raphael along with Brian Hanlon (vocals / guitar), and Nigel Turner (bass). Original members Raphael, and Dewhurst, along with Busby and Turner played a reunion gig at the Apulstock Festival, Bosham on 19th July 2014. Horsell resident Baker, who’d been in Squire prior to Panther, emigrated to Australia and played in The Beatlegs, regrettably died on New Years Day 2019. Steward and Homersham are also no longer with us. Dick, who may have changed his last name to Grant, has disappeared.