Rick Raybon, older brother of bluegrass and country artists Marty and Tim Raybon, died on July 31 following a bout with throat cancer. He was 63 years of age, had been in declining health for some time, and recently suffered a stroke as well.
Longtime bluegrass lovers in Florida will remember Rick during the time he performed with Tim and Marty in American Bluegrass Express, along with their dad, Kenny, on fiddle, and Ron Reimer on banjo. They were active from the mid-1970s through the early ’80s when Marty moved to Muscle Shoals, AL and helped form country music supergroup, Shenandoah.
Tim and Rick stayed behind in Florida and continued to work with their dad as brick and block masons, until Tim made a move to Nashville and eventually began a career in real estate. He currently performs as a founding member and lead singer for Merle Monroe.
Tim recalls his brother as a huge bluegrass lover.
“Rick played guitar with us growing up. He was a big Tony Rice fan, loved Lonesome River Band, and was also a big Stanley Brothers fan. He could play a lot more like George Shuffler than he could Tony, but he loved him all the same. He also sang baritone in our trio.
Ricky laid brick and block all his life with dad. He loved music more than me and Marty combined, but he didn’t want to do it as a career – he wanted to keep it fun. He had as much fun singing at a fish fry back home as we ever did on stage at the Opry.”
In 2017, American Bluegrass Express reunited for a show in Florida, and while Kenny had already passed away, the Raybons still had the sound, with Chris Davis sitting in on mandolin.
Here’s a video from that concert.
The family will hold a memorial service for Rick on September 8, to be preached by Tim’s son, an ordained minister.
Tim says that he will remember his brother as a cheerful and loving man.
“Ricky was a friend to everybody – a very kind hearted guy. People just liked him. He was like a magnet. A sweet, sweet person.”
In lieu of flowers, the Raybon family is raising money in Rick’s name for the St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Donations can be made online.
R.I.P., Rick Raybon.