[Harp-L] Re:Death in Our Family

So Sad and a moving tribute to a master. My condolences.

Comuna de Santos

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On Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 4:46 PM, Jason Ricci <jason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I am breaking my "no harp l post rule" today and only today, to let you all
> know that a man who has been more of a real father to me than my own and
> one
> of the most important innovators and players of this instrument has died
> today at 3:11 pm after a long, painful, and frustrating battle with Hep C.
>  Pat Ramsey is in my book the very first real rock and roll harmonica
> player
> to play the blues. Pat played what he heard those musicians around him do,
> they were not harp players. That's how he came up with the sound he had. He
> never cared about harmonica licks or other players, although he loved,
> admired and appreciated them all very much, Pat was interested in creating
> music and navigating his instrument the way other musicians do like Johnny
> Winter, Julian Kasper, Walter Trout and so many other greats he didn't care
> about trends, industry behaviors or anything else besides the music he was
> making. He just played and the way he played made me move from Maine to
> Memphis in 1995 to be at every one of his shows and learn from him. What I
> learned was so much more than scales, licks, and ways to navigate different
> chord changes. I learned slowly and stubbornly, how to tray and start being
> an accountable human being and take responsibility for my actions at least
> the ones that were getting me in trouble. Because of Pat I learned I was a
> drug addict. He never once pointed a finger at me either.Never even told me
> directly that he thought that. He simply told me stories about himself and
> his past that were exactly the same mistakes I was making and would make
> and
> even though I didn't listen much I remembered them like nightmares. Those
> stories became a sort of check list for me as the years, crimes, nights in
> jail and failed ventures and relationships piled up until I could no longer
> be in all out denial anymore. Pat was patient, loving and always available
> for me even when I was strung out at 4:00 in the morning. The people I hang
> with now call this "planting the seed".  When I turned myself into the cops
> for a crime I had not even been caught, suspected or charged for in order
> to
> get into jail where I knew I could be away from the drugs for the most
> part,
> I did it with Pat's guidance and the only person besides my mother who
> bothered to write me (and I didn't even deserve anyone in my life!) was Pat
> Ramsey. He sent me Shirts, hats, and smokes. My mail was screened in there
> because it was this boot camp like scenario offered for individuals that
> wanted help instead of simple incarceration. Pat's letters after being
> screened were more than once read aloud to the all the inmates as an
> example
> of positive living. That's how powerful a person he was.
>  I would be nowhere in my music, my life or my sobriety without the
> guidance
> of this incredible individual named Pat Ramsey who truly never got his due.
> Pat's love obviously extended much beyond me he was a huge influence on
> Sean
> Costello who I came to know through Pat when he appeared on Pat's first
> solo
> record: "It's about time" in 1995. Sean was fifteen years old and Pat knew
> before almost anyone how talented he was. Sean's playing on that record to
> date is still ground breaking as the record itself remains so as well.
> Billy
> Gibson is the young man who I first heard at blues city café in 1995 on a
> jam night that after stepping down from the stage and accepting my
> compliments, told me: "You think I'm good....Wait till you hear this next
> guy." Billy went on to produce that record ("It's about time") and hire the
> young Costello. Pat never had the opportunity to touch as many players as
> even I have had. Some of that is bad luck, music business bullshit, and
> some
> of it is just plain Pat's fault, but those he did touch remained changed
> forever in a way that very few players have ever been able to do. I am one
> of those. Pat would have crowds gathered around him on Beal ST. in between
> sets laughing and hanging on his every word as he told music business war
> stories, Jokes and tales of Johnny Winter, and the Allman Brother with his
> pessimistic and cynical sense of humor. He may have appeared bitter and he
> certainly was often, but he never gave up, never lost the love of music and
> always inspired and demanded respect!
> Pat was very sick for many years with Hep C, The Interferon never worked,
> back problems and other medical ailments plagued him without pause until
> finally early this summer he was hospitalized, after that it has been a
> painfully slow winding down process and in one way his death has come as a
> gift, as it has ended his suffering at last. Five fays ago he was moved
> from
> his house to hospice. I got to spend some time with him, Jimmy and Clyde
> Ramsey two weeks ago. I had never met Jimmy Ramsey before so that was cool
> too. Pat looked like he was 90 years old and was very sick. He was in good
> spirits for the most part, I gave him a Joe Spiers harp, and some bread we
> had raised for him at our Nathan P Murphy's Benefit. Pat was well enough to
> get a little jealous of me that I was going on tour with Walter Trout but
> then congratulated me of course. It would have been unlike him to not be a
> little pissed at that and he certainly does in many way deserve to be doing
> this tour instead of me. We called Walter that day too, Pat had never met
> him but was a big fan and very much a peer and kindred spirit. Walter made
> Pat feel great and Pat seemed to be in perfect working order at least for
> that phone call! Pat told Walter: "I love what you have done for this
> music"!
>  Pat was only in Hospice for a little over a week. His drummer Steve Howell
> has been incredible, keeping everyone informed sometimes two or three times
> Dailey, taking care of Pat every day and being an incredible help to the
> family. Steve has been a hero through out all of this and has my utmost
> admiration, respect and gratitude! Steve Howell is an incredible human
> being
> and friend to all of us! Without Steve Pat's passing would have been very
> hard on me in many ways too personal for me to describe here.
>  Pat is survived by his two son's James (Jimmy) and Clyde Ramsey (Who sings
> and plays just like his Dad) and his wife. He will be missed but never
> forgotten his influence serves to date as the skeletal structure behind
> everything I play. To Pat: my friend, the man who called me his "Son", my
> mentor I commend your life and your music here in print now and in every
> positive word I speak, and every note I will ever play and most I have
> already, God Bless You and Thank you Sir for your Love, creativity,
> strength
> guidance and appreciation for truth. Play on in heaven where no one will
> care how many notes you play only if they count, and you made them all
> count
> here on earth. Thank you my Father! So much of this story is about me and
> others as a life so often is. I am proud to write this here, and very proud
> to have known this man. I have shouted it my whole carrer from the stage,
> on
> you tube and to any one who will listen. He lives on in me and in you. Go
> buy some records at http://patramsey.com do your homework and get that man
> in your harmonica vocabulary. You can also donate money to his family there
> as well. To the "Reverend" Pat Ramsey as Billy called you. We miss you
> already my friend.
> Jason Ricci

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