Hear former band members of Pat Ramsey & the Blues Disciples talk about Pat from his start with Johnny Winter up until till his untimely passing a few months ago. Jason Ricci will also talk about Pat’s profound influence on his harp playing and on saving his life.
Pat Ramsey was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in July 22, 1953. He began playing the harmonica at the age of 17. In 1978 when Pat was 25 years old he was called by Johnny Winter to send in a demo of his harp playing. How ever before Johnny got to say all this Pat hung the phone up. Johnny call right back to assured Pat that he really was Johnny Winter and he really did want to hear what Pat sounded like. Pat rushed to the other room to record two songs and sent it off to Johnny. A short time later he was in the studio recording the record White Hot and Blue with Johnny Winter. Unfortunately Pat did not get to tour with Johnny as he had a bass player named Jon Paris that toured with him. Jon would use a harp rack (like Bob Dylan) so he could play harp as he played bass. (see past show on Jon Paris, great blues-rocker)
Pat was playing in Colorado when ex-Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks heard Pat’s singing & harp playing. Butch’s band Trucks was having troubles with fans wanting them to have a singer and doing old Allman Brothers songs. Pat joined the band Trucks and relocated to Florida where Butch was living. A short time latter the Allman Brothers got back together and Pat was left with out a band.
In 1979 a 17-year-old kid named Julien Kasper (see past show on Julien Kasper) heard that there was a burning harp player in town. He suggested that the band should invite Pat to come over to play with them. Julien remembers that when Pat came over he was way out of their league. Pat had nothing better to do so he started working with this band called Crosscut Saw. In a short time Pat had taken over the band as the leader. For the next five years they toured southern parts of the U.S. In 1982, Crosscut Saw released their only record Mad Bad & Dangerous to Know. This LP has been long since out of print but will be coming out as a CD soon. Around 1985 the band broke up and Pat started the Pat Ramsey Band which lasted till around 1985.
Pat ran into old friend Greg Poulos who had been in one of Freddie King’s bands. They formed The Poulos-Ramsey Band that started off really strong as warm up for artists like Charlie Musslewhite, Solomon Burke, Albert Collins, Ronnie Earl, James Cotton, and Pinetop Perkins. Pat went to Memphis looking for some gigs for the band when some kind of tragedy struck Greg’s family in Florida, bringing a premature end to this endeavor.
Once again Pat is left stranded somewhere. Pat got a job working the craps table for a casino. He kept saving money to put a band together and make a record. Around 1992 Pat put together a new band that was playing in Memphis. Then in 1995, Pat finally put out the record It’s About Time. This record is well worth seeking out for all the great music on it but for you collectors this has two, very rare, tracks with a very young Sean Costello who was still in high school at the time (Hear the show on Sean Costello).
This is about the same time that Jason Ricci was passing through town on his way home from collage and just happened to stop in the club Pat was playing at. Jason was so blown away by Pat’s harp playing that a few months latter he moved to Memphis so he could see every show Pat would do for the next year. Jason has a lot more to say about Pat in the podcast be sure to listen. By now you know what I’m going to say, to hear the show on Jason Ricci, click here.
The following year Dave Renson joined the band as their lead guitarist. Dave worked with Pat for the rest of Pat’s life. Steve Howell who had been the drummer in Crosscut Saw joined the band too. At this point the band started going by the name of Pat Ramsey & the Blues Disciples. They released their first live record Live at the Grand in 1999. The following year they were Coco Robicheaux’s band for his record Hoo Doo Party. This was proceeded with a tour of Europe backing Coco Robicheaux who was quite popular over there. In 2005, Pat Ramsey & the Blues Disciples released their second live record Live At The Big Bend Blues Bash. They also opened some shows for Johnny Winter around 2005. Pat had been getting ill for quite some time. In late October of 2008, a benefit concert was put together to help pay for the medical bills that had been building up. This was also a way for all his old friends and fellow band mates to say goodbye. On November 17th 2008 Pat Ramsey died from Hepatitis C. Dave Renson and Steve Howell said he liked to go fishing, play golf, loved driving and being with his kids.
Records by Pat Ramsey & band name:
1982 – Mad Bad & Dangerous to Know – Crosscut Saw
1995 – It’s About Time – Pat Ramsey
1999 – Live At the Grand – Pat Ramsey & The Blues Disciples
2005 – Live At The Big Bend Blues Bash – Pat Ramsey & The Blues Disciples
Good last minute news, Mike Howell (Steve’ brother) the bass player for Crosscut Saw just informed me that their LP, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know will come out as a CD for the first time ever. This will be available at CD Baby Website pretty soon. Cool, I can’t wait to hear Pat Ramsey and this band.
Songs played in the show with the CD there from:
Allergic To Work – It’s About Time
Dog House Blues – Live At The Big Bend Blues Bash
Broken Hearted (Sean Costello on Guitar) – It’s About Time
It’s About Time – It’s About Time
Build Me A Woman – Live At the Grand
Pat Ramsey & the Blues Disciples’ Website
Pat Ramsey’s MySpace (Run by Steve Howell)
Buy Pat Ramsey’s CD It’s About Time from the CD Baby Website
Buy Pat Ramsey’s It’s About Time from their website
Pat Ramsey on YouTube
I would very much like to thank Rick Lusher for all his help in setting this up.
Also Steve Howell, Dave Renson and Julien Kasper for taking the time to let me interview them. Jason Ricci who went beyond the call of duty. Because of problems I was having with the recorder we had to re-do Jason’s interview three times. He never complained and was always friendly, what a guy. Thank you all very much.
Blues Music and Interviews
formerly A1 Artist Spotlight. Com
by A1 Mark