(c’78-81) – David Raphael (keyboards / harmonica), Malcolm Dewhurst (drums), Ian Steward (bass), Al Dick (vocal / harmonica) and Steve Baker (lead & rhythm guitar).
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.
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.
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.
I was their roadie… I managed them… I got them some great gigs… and when Steve Busby went on his holidays and never came back I stood in as the guitarist for about 3 months playing shows I had booked including Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s… yet I fail to get a single mention?…. Bit of a kick in the teeth for me… and I produced their first studio recording session at Chesnut Studios…. Oh well
LikeLiked by 1 person
…Well I’ve learnt more about the band thanks to you Peter. Plus, don’t look at it as a kick in the teeth rather that you were the type of roadie / manager that put the band first and not themselves…I know many a band who’d have benefited from that approach.