HUGO Duncan has paid a heartfelt tribute to Drumquin musician Raymond Liggett, AKA ‘Bluegrass Ray’, who passed away peacefully in hospital on Tuesday.
A well-known and beloved accordion player, Bluegrass Ray was a familiar face at country music gigs and festivals throughout Ireland. He was also a regular visitor and performer at the Hugo’s roadshows over the years.
This shared love of country music saw the two Tyrone men become friends, with Hugo visiting Ray in hospital in recent weeks.
Speaking to the UH before his radio show on Wednesday, when he planned to play songs in tribute to Ray, Hugo described his late friend as a “genuinely great person.” Hugo said, “Over the past couple of weeks I have been visiting Ray in the hospital in Enniskillen and the Palliative Care Ward in Omagh. I have to say the care he got in both places was fantastic and it was lovely to see his family were with him all the time as well.
“He was very well liked and very well loved. Not only was he on stage with me as a musician, but he was a great character and dressed the part with the big hat and coat. I was out performing last night in Coleraine and mentioned his name and sang ‘One Day At A Time’ for him and everyone sang along and had tears in their eyes.
“We would bring him out to our roadshows and when we went into see him over the past few months in hospital, we booked him for a few outside broadcasts to try and keep his spirits lifted.”
Hugo continued, “People just loved him. Even at my shows, when I would see him in the crowd and I’d bring him up to sing and perform with me and play the accordion. He also played the Jew’s harp and was a fantastic drummer in the bands way back years ago and was well respected.
“A great Christian man as well, it is even hard to talk about him now without a tear in my eye. There was not an ounce of badness in his soul or his heart. He was good all the time. If everyone was as good as Bluegrass the world would be a lot better.”
Ray is the husband of the late Kathleen and a much loved brother and uncle.
His funeral service will take place today in St Columba’s Parish Church, Omagh, followed by interment in Cross Cemetery, Enniskillen.
Family flowers only. Donations in lieu if desired to Palliative Care Ward, Omagh Hospital, c/o R G Adams & Son, 25 Main Street, Dromore, Tyrone, BT78 3AE.