Pat Ramsey is often described as ‘a harp player’s harp player’. He was especially popular for his fabulous work of harmonica on the LP White Hot & Blue by Johnny Winters. The critics of blues were all praise for the band of four, of which, he was a member.
Ramsey’s credentials of blues was undisputed, considering the fat and soulful sound that he produced from the harmonica. Among his mates were Dave Renson, who always came up with some excellent performances with his guitar. This came from his rich background of playing for the bands of New Orleans.
Pat Ramsey was born in the year 1953 in the state of Louisiana. He began playing harmonica when he was 17 years of age. In 1973, he joined the Denver-based band called Bunny Brooks Band. It was an offshoot of a band from the 1960s called Jam Factory.
Ramsey was discovered by Rick Derringer in 1978, who was pretty impressed with his performance. He told Johnny Winter about Ramsey. He liked the harp player’s performance so much that he hired him for his album White Hot & Blue. Ramsey met Butch Trucks of Allman Brothers in late 1978.
He had a few fantastic jams in Colorado with Trucks and his band. In the following year, Ramsey met a local band of Tallahassee known as Crosscut Saw. He formed a great partnership with the 17-year-old Julien Kasper, a guitar prodigy.
The number of members in the band reduced from seven to four. Crosscut Saw gave some impressive performances in the next five years. The band even opened for B.B. King, Johnny Van Zandt, Johnny Winter, and other musicians.
In the 1980s
Crosscut Saw released their album before disbanding, which was titled Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. The band’s reunions that happen every year are still among the top draws of Tallahassee. In the year 1985, the Pat Ramsey Band was formed when Julien chose to study the graduate-level Jazz.
The band opened for many notable musicians. It also had a seven-city tour of Florida with Ramsey’s old friend Johnny Winter in 1987. Three years later, Pat Ramsey moved to Sarasota in Florida for playing with the guitarist Greg Poulos. This led to the formation of Poulos-Ramsey Band.
Within months of the band’s formation, they opened for Charlie Musslewhite, Albert Collins, Pinetop Perkins, and other leading musicians. Renowned music journalist Jerry Wexler hailed them as “Sarasota’s only blues band”.
Move to Memphis and death
The band made a move to Memphis two years later. Tragedy struck the family of Greg Poulos when Ramsey was busy looking for gigs in the city. This brought an end to the band and its endeavors. The next couple of years in the city was a struggle for Ramsey.
By now, his old friend Julien Kasper was a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston. With the help of Kasper and some of the best musicians of Memphis, Ramsey produced a music CD. It was titled It’s About Time. This CD received some great reviews and Ramsey began touring once again.
Along with Dave Renson, he gave some memorable live performances for The Blues Disciples. They produced the live CDs Live at the Big Bend Blues Bash and Live at the Grand. On the 17th of November 2008, Pat Ramsey passed away after a long battle with Hepatitis C.