Charlie Ingui and The Soul Survivors, David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket, Rob Hyman (of The Hooters), Don Lee Van Winkle (of The American Dream) and other special guests will perform a concert to honor the memory of Richie Ingui. Richie passed away on Jan. 13, 2017 at age 69.
Richie Ingui and his brother Charlie were the co-lead vocalists of The Soul Survivors. The brothers grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Philadelphia to work with famed producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The song “Expressway to Your Heart,” written by Gamble and Huff, was released in 1967 and hit #3 on Billboard’s R&B chart and #4 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart, propelled by the Inguis soulful vocals. It helped lay the foundation for The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) and Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International Records.
Although “Expressway” was their first and biggest hit, the band maintained a loyal fan base, especially in the Philadelphia area. And they never stopped performing. Several years ago, Richie and Charlie began recording and performing with David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket.
Uosikkinen recalled hearing “Expressway” in 1967 when he was 11 years old, and said The Soul Survivors’ sound inspired him to become a musician. When he invited the Ingui brothers to join In the Pocket, and they accepted, he was thrilled.
“If you ever watched their act, even before they got onstage, it was a sight to behold,” said Uosikkinen, in a telephone interview from his home. “The way they would pace around, walk around in circles trying to bounce off each other’s singing, working on the doo-wop stuff and the vocal harmonies… I’ve never seen anything like it and to this day I don’t think I’ve seen anything better.”
Uosikkinen added: “Richie almost became a mentor to me… When he spoke you listened because he comes from a place of vast experience, vast knowledge and he had such a great heart. It was never about ego or any of that with Richie. It was always about performance — (doing) the best performance you can do.”
Sadly, this is the second loss in the In the Pocket family. Last year In the Pocket lost guitarist TJ Tindall, another TSOP artist.
“We knew TJ back in the Philly International days, but to be honest we really got tight with In the Pocket because we gravitated to each other and it was always Richie, TJ and me hanging,” said Charlie. “We really got close in the 5 or so years that we played with In the Pocket. And I loved TJ. It was great playing with him.”
Yet nothing could compare to losing his brother Richie.
“We’ve sung together all our lives,” said Charlie, in a telephone interview from his home.
On January 25th, just 12 days after losing his beloved brother, Charlie did something he had never done before. At the In the Pocket show at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, he sang without Richie by his side.
“I had no intentions of doing that World Cafe Live gig. But all day long people kept coming up to me saying ‘you’ve really gotta do it. Richie would like it that way.’ By the end of the day I said ‘I’m doing it’… and I am so happy that I did do it.”
Uosikkinen mentioned that both Richard Bush and Jeffrey Gaines were standing by to offer vocal support but Charlie decided to let the crowd sing Richie’s part.
“That was very hard to get through because it was so emotional. When (the crowd) sang those words back to me it was so touching. It was beautiful.”
This year is the 50th anniversary of The Soul Survivors’ debut album and hit with “Expressway.” The band had planned to tour.
“I’m just trying to keep it going. I don’t want The Soul Survivors to stop,” said Charlie. “It’ll be different, sure, but I have the same band together and we’ve done some things together… and that’s working out. We’re all just into keeping Richie’s memory alive. And believe me, when I walk out onto the stage I can feel him, so that’s where I want to be — on the stage.”
Charlie has continued to perform with In the Pocket as well, with the support of Uosikkinen and the other band mates. He said it has been a great experience for him and Richie.
“It’s been wonderful. We’ve played to people who would never come to see The Soul Survivors. We’ve made a lot of friends… I’ve gotten to know Richard Bush and Tommy Conwell and all these guys who I really never knew when they were out doing it and I was out doing it. We were kind of in different places. To work with them now it’s a joy.”
Charlie expressed his gratitude to everyone since Richie’s passing.
“Ever since Richie’s passing I’ve felt such unbelievable love from people. They call me and talk to me and make sure I’m alright. And the musicians — of course they’re all special — but it’s everybody, people in general. They’re so kind and caring. I just never knew that both Richie and I touched so many people. And it’s wonderful to know that.”
Charlie encourages everyone to come out to pay tribute to Richie “because we want to send him off with a bang.”
He added: “It’s actually Father’s Day. I hope that doesn’t keep people away. Bring your kids!”
Proceeds from the ticket sales and from the sale of commemorative merchandise at the event will benefit Richie’s widow Cheryl Ingui to assist with expenses that she has incurred. If you’re unable to attend the concert and you want to make a contribution you can do so at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/richie-ingui-memorial-fund.