Friday, November 21, 2008

Former Johnny Winter Band Blues Harp Player Pat Ramsey Passes Away At Age 55

Former Johnny Winter Band blues harpist Pat Ramsey died, aged 55 on Monday, November 17th, 2008 after a lengthy battle with Hepatitis C. Best known for his work on Johnny Winter's critically-acclaimed 1978 album White Hot & Blue, Ramsey was a veteran of over 30 years in the trenches.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1953, Pat Ramsey began playing the harmonica at the age of 17. After a couple of years honing his chops while hitchhiking around the United States, Pat joined the Bunny Brooks Band in Denver (an offshoot of the 60's band, Jam Factory) in 1973.

In 1978, he impressed guitarist Rick Derringer, who told Johnny Winter of this "long haired kid in Denver" who played a mean harp. Johnny liked what he heard so much that he hired Pat to play all the harp parts on the album "White Hot and Blue".
Pat Ramsey claimed that he was dropped from the band after the tour for this album and points to a review of the album in Rolling Stone magazine that said something about him being the second star in the band.

In late 1978, Pat met Butch Trucks of Allman Brothers fame. After a couple of sizzling jams in Colorado with Butch and his band, Trucks, Pat signed on, and made the long move to Tallahassee, Florida. When the Allman Brothers Band reunited in 1979, Butch disbanded Trucks and introduced Pat to a local Tallahassee band called Crosscut Saw.

During the period 1985-1999 Pat Ramsey's bands: "Crosscut Saw" and later on "The Pat Ramsey Band", opened many times for Johnny Winter, also opening for B.B. King, .38 Special, Johnny Van Zandt, Bobby "Blues" Bland, The Nighthawks, and others.

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