Samisen – early 70’s



supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey….Local band Samisen – 2nd Line Up – Early 70s rock…. with Dave Shirley on guitar, an unknown vocalist and percussionist (anyone know them?)… there were actually three line-ups – The first was a made up of three members from South London + Dave – The third included Bernard Jeffery on drums, Steve Turner on Bass and Graham Barratt on vocals.

Bernard Jeffery….Where did you find this? I started off in the band with the London line up which turned into the third line up and I think there was another one after that

Sarah Harvey…..You are absolutely right…. you jogged my memory…. the original drummer was from Catford and you joined when he left…. I think the London band members names were Ralph, Den and Graham… no idea of their surnames. Graham was the original drummer.

Bernard Jeffery…..Ralph and big Len on guitar and bass, probably got some pics somewhere.

Sarah Harvey….right again….. I misread my scribbled diary notes of yesteryear.

Dave Nattress…..These photo’s show Samisen’s line-up comprising Mick Bridgeland, Drums, Dave Shirley, Guitar, Dave Kent, Keyboards, Steve Turner, Bass (I think Steve, it was a long time ago) and me on vocals having taken over from Graham Barrett.  I remember the gig at Herstmonceux Castle well where Mick worked at the Observatory!!  Actually I recall well also my audition at Ore Centre – House of the Rising Sun was one track I had to do,  We played a good few gigs with this line-up. The Archery Eastbourne, The Caves, Ore Centre with Hat Trick more than once.  Lost contact with all the guys, if any of you read this give us a post!!

Sarah Harvey….Thank you Dave for filling in the blanks of the missing band members names…. apart from Graham (RIP), everyone is live and kicking albeit changed somewhat in 40 years. Some more than others.

Bobby Walker…..If memory serves, did they not originally call themselves “Sleary’s Horsemanship”? Remember they did a cracking instrumental which was, I believe, called “Rock-a-Nore”

Read more

Felix write up & Samisen photos – 29th July 1975

cutting and photos supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey…..Article about Felix and a preview of their forthcoming gig at The Carlisle, which I remember very well. I was talking to Conan Howard about this very gig at Friday’s SMART meeting and how he had a very lucky escape afterwards.


Sarah Harvey…..The Carlisle in 1975 when supporting Felix – Conan (Len) Howard (Bass) , Ralph Lee (Rythm) and  (although not too clear) is Dave Shirley (Lead Guitar). Health permitting there is hope of a reunion over the coming months

Samisen – Felix

Sarah Harvey…This Samisen song is called ‘Felix’. The recording is from 1976. It was first played at the Carlisle gig where we were supporting Felix and was written in tribute (a.k.a. mickey-take) of their complicated and off-the-wall music. We wrote this song all in good humour in our more mischievous days and when we played it at the gig the members of Felix told us they thought it was really good. Felix were, and still are a great bunch of guys and took it in all good humour.

Wendy Weaver… Nice presentation How you have all changed 😈😈😁x

Pete Fisher.. excellent drumming Bernard Jeffery!

Samisen 2017 reunion


Sarah Harvey…. 40 years on….Samisen 2017…. first step towards a reunion

Dave Nattress… Hey Sarah are you looking for a singer?

Sarah Harvey… Yes 🙂 All former Saimsen members are cordially invited and encouraged.

Iain Cobby… Good luck you old proggers; if you need a backing band for a gig ……………

Samisen – final line up around 1976



supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey….One of the later line-ups of Samisen (and I think the final line-up). Probably around 1976…The percussionist I still cannot identify, or indeed the vocalist in the earlier photos I posted. Dave Kent is the man on keyboards and also played acoustic guitar. I believe that the bass player at this time was Steve Turner (Not the Steve Turner who wrote the Observer column)… still trying to find more photos of the band.

Ken Dengate…..hat looks very much like my old school friend, Dave Kent. His mum and dad ran ‘Eileens Treasure Trove’ in Kings Road, and much later a shop in Tower Road. A Graham Barrat was also an old schoolfriend (don’t know if it’s the same one). His dad had the pub in St. Georges Road that was where the Jehovas Witnesses place was built. Later on his parents had The Inn At Crowhurst. There were also two Steve Turners in my class, again not sure if it was either of them. Don’t suppose any of that’s any help to you. I did a bit of ‘rehearsing’ with Dave in the basement of the shop in Kings Road in the late 70’s. Cheers

Sarah Harvey….You have got it spot on I believe …. this version of Samisen also rehearsed in the basement of the Treasure Trove in Kings Road…. Graham Barratt also, I knew his dad had a pub although I knew him when he lived in flats in Bohemia Road. Steve Turner lived in Baldslow Road and had an older brother who I have seen about town relatively recently. The drummer is still a mystery.

Read more

Dave Kent talks about Samisen & Farmers Lung

The band before Samisen was Farmers Lung which started out as myself, Graham Barrett and Steve Turner messing around in a room at the back of my parents’ shop at 28 Kings Road. I sang lead and played guitar, Graham sang harmony and played guitar, Steve played bass. We were joined by Richard Walsh playing guitar. After a while, Richard’s brother Roddy joined on guitar and Richard bought a drum kit, quickly becoming a very good drummer; which was just as well as he was a terrible guitarist. In time, Graham became lead singer due to his being rather good at it and I stopped singing because I was rubbish. There’s a lot more I could tell, but one of my favourite memories of Farmers Lung is going to the back of the hall upstairs at the Palace Bars and listening to the rest of the band play a song without me. They were bloody good.

Eileen’s Treasure Chest was at 8 Kings Road and had a basement that had been a night club. Farmers Lung and Samisen rehearsed there, so did several other bands I was in.

Graham left the band half way through a gig, Steve and I took over vocals, and the band went kaput having failed to find a decent singer. Graham then joined Samisen and they were very good. Steve joined Samisen and they were very good. By the time I joined Samisen, Graham had left.

The colour photos of Samisen that you have are from a gig at Herstmonceux but I can’t remember who took them. I may have one or two of those you don’t have. I may have a pic or two from Ore Centre. I’m happy to pass on to you anything I can unearth.
Nearly forgot to mention what a damn fine guitar Dave Shirley was (maybe he still is).

I have fond memories of Osborne House Samisen gigs, one of the residents told me I was s**t.

RIP Roddy Walsh and Graham Barrett. Steve Turner alive and well and living in Brighton. Richard Walsh teaching somewhere in Sussex.

I only found your web site today and it was a bit of a shock to find out that anyone remembers Samisen.

Since those days, I have been busy playing guitar and keyboards with various people. I have recorded stuff as a solo artist and had a tune called “White knuckle ride” played on Radio 1 a few times. I still get royalties but I’ve no idea why. I have been taking singing lessons and hope to be as good as Graham Barrett was in about ten years if I practice all day and all night.

Dave Kent

Len Howard….hi there .I was a founder member of samisen , Len Howard bass. from 1973 to 1976. I have been out of touch for many years

Ore Group Festival 1976




all cuttings supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey…..Late June 1976. The second Ore Group Festival which was part of Ore Week which took place over two nights. Stephen Turner’s preview, the advert with the groups appearing on Friday an Saturday. And finally Stephen Turner’s review. Six local bands with Trunk, Hippo and Damaris on the first night. Samisen, Mosaic and Felix on the second night.