Richie Ingui and his brother Charlie led the Soul Survivors, the vocal group best known for "Expressway to your Heart," the 1967 hit that laid the foundation for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Sound of Philadelphia.
The Ingui brothers grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, and along with fellow founding member Kenny Jeremiah, recorded as the Dedications from 1962 to 1964. The next year, the band moved to Philadelphia, and made their name with "Expressway," which was released on the Crimson record label. It was the first hit that Gamble and Huff wrote and produced together.
It reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart, establishing Gamble and Huff as successful hit-makers four years before they would found Philadelphia International Records (PIR), and has endured as a TSOP classic, with its signature opening riff sounded with honking car horns.
Gamble wrote the timeless Philadelphia lyric that likens an out-of-gas love affair to a traffic jam on the Schuylkill Expressway while stuck in traffic on his way to see his then-girlfriend, "Mashed Potato Time" singer Dee Dee Sharp. "Not only did they bring our Philly Sound and Gamble & Huff to the national spotlight," Gamble and Huff said in a joint statement that praised the late singer for his "unique and mellow voice." "But they truly were like brothers to us. Richie was a true soul singer who sang from the heart."
After "Expressway," the Soul Survivors had lesser chart hits with "Explosion in Your Soul" later in 1967 and "Impossible Mission (Mission Impossible)" the following year. Their other signature songs were "Mama Soul" from 1969 and "City of Brotherly Love," which came out in 1974 on TSOP Records. "It don't matter where you been, or what color skin you're in," they sang in the ode to their adopted hometown. In 1976, they recorded "Happy Birthday America" for PIR, to mark the nation's bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia.
The group had split by the late 1970s, and Ingui worked as a house painter, but he and his brother re-formed the band in 1987, and continued to perform. In 2009, they joined Daryl Hall and John Oates onstage in one of the final shows at the Spectrum in South Philadelphia. At the Marian Anderson Awards at the Kimmel Center in November, they energetically serenaded honorees Gamble, Huff, and Patti LaBelle with a Philly sound medley, including "Expressway to Your Heart."
Richie Ingui died of heart failure on January 13, 2017, at the age of 70.
by Dan DeLuca
1. Do You Feel It - 3:44
2. Please, Please, Please (James Brown, Johnny Terry) - 3:27
3. Too Many Fish In The Sea / Shake 5:50
4. Dathon's Theme - 2:44
5. Taboo - India - 3:41
6. Expressway (To Your Heart) (Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff) - 2:19
7. Respect (Otis Redding) - 2:40
8. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) - 3:46
9. Hey Gyp (Donovan Leitch) - 4:52
10.The Rydle - 2:59
11.Explosion In Your Soul - 2:34
12.Impossible Mission - 2:21
13.Poor Man's Dream - 2:52
14.Explosion In Your Soul (Extended Version) (Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff) - 2:56
All songs written by Charles Ingui, Richard Ingui except where stated
The Soul Survivors
*Richard Ingui - Vocals
*Charles Ingui - Vocals
*Kenny Jeremiah - Vocals
*Chuck Trois - Guitar
*Joey Fongioni - Drums
*Ronnie Vance - Bass
*Paul Ventunni - Keyboards