Ramsey Grows Tall in Vegas: Sanger Native Finds Success
T H E D E N ' T O N R E C O R D - C H R O N I C L E Page 3D' 1 to new The S. is built wagon The the night and Club be BB Ramsey Grows Tall In Vegas Sanger Native Finds Success toy GLENDA BENNETT. Contributing Writer _ , * Â· " ' SANGER--A graduate of Sanger High School is finding success in Las Vegas' music and recording world. Gerald Ramsey -- known professionally as Jay Ramsey -- is an accomplished songwriter, performer and recording artist who has written songs for artists like Elvis Presley and Roy Clark while leading a popular musical group. The son of Mr. and .Mrs. Horace Ramsey of Sanger.Hamsey started his career at 16, playing a guitar and writing a few songs. -. Ramsey and six other Sanger youths -- John Schertz, Johnny Odom, Loy Odom, Monroe Joiner, Alfred Pennington and Frank Cole -~ played together in high school at assemblies during the late 1950s and early 1960s, While conceding the tape recordings of that early group were "really bad," Ramsey recalls his fellow students in high school enjoyed their entertainment. He calls those early years of rock and roll the "infancy of the pop music that we-have today." Now Ramsey's Nevada-based group, Expression, is one of the oldest groups staying together, the Sanger native said. Frank Cole, Jerry Brown, Bob Kelly and Ramsey started the group 10 years ago."A year later they were joined by Kirby St. Romain. Two members of the group graduated from North Texas State University, and the other three also attended. NTSU. For eight years the groupi performed year-round at night clubs. During the past two years they have performed 49 or 50 weeks out of the year. The GKUAU) M A Y ' RAMSEY group usually makes two trips to Texas a year to visit their families in this area. The group, currently performing at the Landmark in Dallas, also performs-at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, where Ramsey lives with his wife and two daughters, ages 4 and 5. Ramsey considers'his song writing a creative outlet. Although he wrote his first song at age 16, he has been writing seriously only for the past three or four years; . He says he has written about 200 songs that" he threw away Â·-- he calls this experience his "creative writing class." About three years, ago Ramsey signed'with Surety Songs, a Nashville publisher, and he has written some 140 usable songs under contract. His credits include "'/We Can. Make the Morning"" recorded by Presley r /'Lord Let It Rain" by Roy ; Clark/"California Is Just Mississippi" by Milly" Mize and "Tonbpah Highway" by Kenny Price. Ramsey writes both the .lyrics and music to tiis gongs/ Much of his work is done in motel rooms during the three or four months he is away from home. : ' ' - ' . \ ' Ramsey has a writing room in his Home in Las Vegas and smiles as he tells how his twolittle-girls . sit in fiis lap as he writes and ask him to tie their "hair ribbons. . He explains his publisher does not demand a quota.,Ramsey confides-he cannot sit and make /himself write a song but he must have an inspiration or urge to write. ' * He believes his reputation has grown because he is a songwriter, in spite of pressure by record producers "who try to make a recording artist out of a" songwriter." A Nashville producer, Tommy Cogbill,. saw Ramsey's possibilities- as a single, artist. "Draggin' Chains," -.the result of their first session, is^released by ABC Dunhill. In a month Ramsey should have a MGM single released, and by the first of next year he is to have an MGM album on-the market. Ramsey says he sometimes meets the singers who record-'his songs. The publisher may occasionally bring singers in to listen to Ramsey's - works/Ramsey has met Roy Clark but has yet to meet Presley. At his group's recording studio in Las Vegas Ramsey writes radio commercials to sell at the local level. Although the studio is currently used exclusively by the group, they have plans to make it competitive with other studios and to promote other artists. Ramsey said.