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In Memoriam Cliff Ledger (1935-2015)
Tuesday, 07/07/2015 - 13:29 -

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Last Friday, the 3rd of July, Cliff Ledger passed away in Torremolinos owing to his heart problems. He was 80 years old and during the last few weeks, his health deteriorated.

Cliff was a professional guitar player. He was born in Ireland, but spent most of his life in the USA, playing country music with the best performers and bands. He was married to Dolores and they had three daughters and a son. On Monday afternoon a small group of friends and relatives said goodbye to him in the chapel at San Miguel Cemetery.

I met Cliff around 20 years ago when, still active, he played in a bar of Arroyo de la Miel called Buffalo. His wife accompanied him on the keyboards. They came to Spain because of the weather, the food, the lifestyle and all these things that bring people here from all around the globe.

On Monday evenings, the bar was packed with people who came to watch Cliff and Dolores. I remember him on stage wearing his Stetson, scarf around his neck, western shirt and cowboy boots. He seemed to have come from a Gene Autry movie. Dolores stayed on a discreet second level, quiet and elegant, smoking slowly while he spoke tirelessly with everyone. Back then it was allowed to smoke in bars.

Cliff was much more than a good musician; he was someone that radiated joy and vitality, passing on optimism to everybody around him. Later on, I found out that he was also a great friend and a very good person. As a good Irishman, he never missed an opportunity to have a dig at England and anything coming from there. But he only paid lip service, because then he was charming with everybody, English included, and everybody loved him, English too. I can vouch for this.

Cliff Ledger was born the same year as Elvis, in 1935. He arrived to North America in the fifties, first to Canada and then to USA. He came into contact and worked with the best country singers of the moment: George Morgan, Slim Whitman, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Johnny Cash… He also had his own band: Cliff Ledger & the Country Boys.

He knew a vast number of stories about the old country, the country that he had known. He told me that Dolly Parton was a big-hearted woman and that George Jones used to be a very nice guy, except when he was sober, something that did not happen very often.

Cliff had thousands of country music records. When he really liked an album, he used to buy two copies, just in case he had the chance of giving away one of them to someone who deserved such a present. He gave me an exceptional live album of Charly Pride, a black man who sang country like very few white singers. He also got me a signed and dedicated photograph of Buck Owens. I know that, if he could, he would have brought Buck, along with his four buckaroos, to Torremolinos just to please me. That is how he was.

But above all, for me, Cliff was a happy and a grateful person. He was happy because he could make his passion for music his source of livelihood. And he thanked life for everything that he had been given: a woman whom he adored, a gorgeous family, friends who loved him, professional success… And he returned all these things the best way that he could.

When you did something for Cliff, like accompany him to the hospital or invite him and his wife to your home for dinner, he would remember it many years later and thank you once again for it. He knew better than no one the real value of these things, the value of the things that are really important. Then he assured you, with absolute sincerity, that he was indebted to you. Is it possible not to love someone like that?

But Cliff did not leave any debt unpaid, he paid all of them with the fondness that he shared out among all that were lucky to meet him. In our memory we will always keep the good moments that we spent with him.

We will miss you Cliff. Rest in peace my friend.

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