Johnny Ramos B Good

martha cinader

Johnny Ramos grew up in Benicia and Vallejo. While very young he listened to the big band music that his mother, Billy Lou, loved and sang with many of the local big bands. Spending weekends with his Mom and the rest of the time in a foster home, he listened a lot to everything on the radio. He spent time in record stores like Munsters Music, which used to be on the corner of Georgia and Sonoma until the late seventies.
By the time he went to Benicia Junior High School he was playing guitar and keyboards, in a band called JAM. He played saxophone and flute in the first chair of the concert band, and saxophone in the marching band. Lunch time was when he would go to the stage area to jam and read charts. Moving on to Benicia High School, “things started jumping.” There were “a bunch of local bands.” In his freshman year he joined a group called Southern Comfort. “They played big places, Air Force bases, the Presidio, private parties and high school proms.” His high school music teacher, Dalt Williams, “made sure they went to Reno every year for jazz competitions and smaller communities. ?We took lots of field trips. He got me into Wes Montgomery and cats like him.” All through high school he was playing professionally at “different clubs, venues and bars.” They played a lot of R&B and Funk intertwined with Jazz and Rock. “I used to hang out at the Melody, at Sonoma and Alabama in Vallejo. When they closed, it was converted into a studio by Confunkshun, and he jammed with them too. In the seventies and early eighties he played with different bands on the “Holiday Inn Circuit and a couple other hotel chains. There was the Coronado Inn where Highway 29 and 37 meet. Things started to decline toward the end of the eighties. Chris? Club is one of the last survivors.”
After attending a “little at Sonoma State College” Johnny “hit the road with a band called Trans Bay Central, traveling up and down the west coast and into Canada. He has continued to play a wide variety of musical styles, Rock and Roll, Jazz, R&B and gospel too “depending on the audience.” While some musicians might sound stiff, or unsure in at least one of those genres, Johnny seems to feel natural in any setting. He’s not faking it. It’s organic, something he has gained with years of listening, playing and living the music. “All music is intertwined. I don’t segregate. I get into that music, what it is. I like to relate to it all. That’s the philosophy of Johnny and the B Goods: enjoyment, stress reduction, the way we live. We like to have fun and we make a living at playing different music in different venues. I think it’s a square way of thinking, a sheltered way of thinking to stick to one thing. We meet all kinds of people. We travel the highways and the byways.”
Johnny and the B Goods have been collaborating with my husband Tony Mims and me on a project we call Poetic Symmetry, a Musical Poetic Journey. After two weeks of our five week run, I asked what he thought about playing music to poetry. “Poetry is music. Music is poetry. They’re rooted together. It’s not different. It’s the same. The Psalms are poetry, set to music. It’s been going on for centuries. We’re doing it in today’s style and music and language. A lot of good musicians I know have played in church or different environments where people are speaking. When I’m playing behind a poet I’m trying to emphasize what the poet is saying. The music is a reflection. I find it enjoyable to stretch out and use all my experiences to bring to the plate.”
Johnny will be joined by Anthony Atherton on the saxophone and a variety of his friends over the next few weeks on bass and drums.
Poetic Symmetry
Nov. 4, 11
Listen & Be Heard
Poetry Cafe
818 Marin St.,
Downtown Vallejo

Related Posts:

  • Flo Mayberry the Book Doula

    Flo Mayberry the Book Doula

    Tony Robles speaks with Flo Mayberry, in Hendersonville, NC, about her life as a writing coach. Read more

  • Flute Busking

    Tony Robles talks with Diana Flores, who plays flute on Main Street in Hendersonville. She describes the freedom that it affords her in her choices of music, including themes to her favorite video games. She also plays in a community band, The Blue Ridge Ringers, which is a handbell choir, and a flute choir called… Read more

  • Edwin Torres on the Written and Spoken Word

    Edwin Torres on the Written and Spoken Word

    The uncut video interview. Martha Cinader speaks from her studio in Greenville, SC with Edwin Torres, author of Quanundrum, winner of the 2022 American Book Award, and spoken word artist in Beacon, NY, about his three hour virtual workshop, on Saturday, June 3, Room to Roam, and his mixery and mastery of spoken word, music,… Read more

  • Flo Mayberry, Tamim Ansari, Edwin Torres

    Flo Mayberry, Tamim Ansari, Edwin Torres

    Tony Robles speaks with Flo Mayberry, writing coach, and Tamim Ansary, Afghan-American writer. Martha Cinader speaks with Edwin Torres. Read more

  • L&BH – Wednesday, May 31 on WPVM 103.7 FM

    L&BH – Wednesday, May 31 on WPVM 103.7 FM

    Tony Robles speaks with Flo Mayberry, and Tamim Ansary, Martha Cinader speaks with Edwin Torres, May 31 3pm Read more

  • From Bamboo Comes Life:

    From Bamboo Comes Life:

    Edwin Lozada, Executive Director of Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA), who explains the Philippine creation story of the first man and woman. Malakas is the first man who was created, and Maganda, the first woman. Read more

%d bloggers like this: