Voice of ‘Lovely Larry’ silenced but not forgotten

The world of Irish country music has been coming to terms with the loss of one of its greatest legends last Friday evening. Larry Cunningham - Ireland’s answer to Jim Reeves - passed away after a battle with cancer that had kept him off the music scene for much of this year.

The world of Irish country music has been coming to terms with the loss of one of its greatest legends last Friday evening. Larry Cunningham - Ireland’s answer to Jim Reeves - passed away after a battle with cancer that had kept him off the music scene for much of this year.

A native of Granard, Co. Longford, seventy-four year old Larry Cunningham was unquestionably one of the bulwarks of Ireland’s Showband era since the late ’50s and particularly after he became a recording star in the aftermath of Jim Reeves’ untimely death in 1964. His smash hit ‘Lovely Leitrim’ set him on the road to stardom which he enjoyed for almost five decades.

But despite his advancing years Larry Cunningham still toured extensively including an annual trip to The Algarve as part of the annual Billy Morrissey Country Music Holidays promotion. .

This year’s show in Vilamoura was therefore not quite the same without the sound of the genial Longford man entertaining almost three hundred Irish holiday makers.

But all of the show’s fellow professionals responded like so many others in the country music business have been doing all last weekend by paying their own tribute to the late Larry Cunningham just before the end of the week-long event’s finale evening.

Irish Country Music impressario and Bansha native Billy Morrissey was delighted with the success of another week long Irish Country Music trip to The Algarve and being reunited with his brother Norman and sister Louise from the original Morrisseys Folk Group of the 60s

“It all went very well thank God despite the sad news about Larry Cunningham who was one of our greatest supporters every year. But when we got confirmation of his passing all the artists decided to come up with their own favourite Larry Cunningham song and perform it at the finale,” said Billy.