Remembering Richie Ingui of the Soul Survivors

A tribute is scheduled for January 25th.

Richie Ingui courtesy Dallyn Pavey/Dish Public Relations.

Richie Ingui, courtesy of Dallyn Pavey/Dish Public Relations

“Expressway to Your Heart” was the 1967 Soul Survivors song that proved to be the first big hit for Philly music producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. And now one of the voices behind the tune has passed: Soul Survivors co-founder Richie Ingui died on Friday at the age of 70.

“He was a quiet kid but one of the true stars of R&B from Philadelphia,” remembers DJ Jerry Blavat, who says he was the one who connected Gamble with the group. “The Soul Survivors with Richie were just on the Malt Shop Memory Cruise with me in November. A great guy. One of the best of the blue-eyed soul performers, like the Righteous Brothers and Hall & Oates and the Magnificent Men.”

The Soul Survivors in a 1969 photo that appeared as part of an advertisement in Billboard. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Soul Survivors in a 1969 photo that appeared as part of an advertisement in Billboard. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ingui was born in New York, where he and his brother started playing music in the 1960s along with Kenny Jeremiah as The Dedications. The group eventually moved to Philly, where they recorded “Expressway.” Other singles and albums followed, none as successful, and Ingui became a house painter.

In more recent years, Ingui and the Soul Survivors became collaborators with In the Pocket, the project from Hooters drummer David Uosikkinen that celebrates Philadelphia music. Uosikkinen met Ingui not through music but through a family connection: Uosikkinen dated a relative of Ingui’s more than 30 years ago.

“I was grabbing Chinese food this weekend and read about it on Facebook: Rest in Peace Richie Ingui,” says Uosikkinen. “I couldn’t believe it. He was such a gallant, amazing guy. Really quiet but powerful. Intuitive. If I wasn’t doing something right during a song, he would give me a look like, forget about it.”

Uosikkinen says that the January 25th In the Pocket show at World Cafe Live will now be a tribute to his colleague and friend.

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