By Bob Marovich
The Journal of Gospel Music learned that Troy Ramey, longtime lead singer for the Soul Searchers of Atlanta, Georgia, has passed away. More details will be forthcoming as they are made available.
Formerly a house painter, Troy Ramey was first lead for the Soul Searchers since the early 1960s, when they would appear at Bro. Esmond Patterson’s WAOK Gospel Caravan programs. The group first recorded for the local Atlanta label Ziontone and later signed with Musicor, where their 1972 hit, “Great Change,” put the quartet on the national map.
By 1976, the group was recording albums and singles for Nashboro and stayed there until the mid-1980s, when they began a longstanding relationship with Atlanta International Records.
Ramey sang like a preacher preaches, with shouts, scoops, squalls, and raspy inhales known as “preacher’s breath.” In addition to “Great Change,” Soul Searchers’ radio hits included “Save a Soul in Every Town (Pickin’ ‘em Up and Layin’ ‘em Down)” and “Ninety-Nine and One-Half Won’t Do.”
JGM expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and many fans of Troy Ramey. May he rest in quartet heaven.