On Friday morning, September 14, I received the news from my good friend Fish Michie that Duff’s third try to receive a new liver had ended in failure, when his surgical team discovered that the liver cancer had progressed to stage 4, to a point that made the liver transplant impossible, and the doctors were forced to close, ending forever his prospects for a new liver, and a new chance at life.  The first two transplant attempts had ended prematurely when problems were discovered both times with the donor organs, before any surgery could be done.  My dear friend Duff was now destined to die, and very likely, soon.  I remember the bitter disappointment and sadness I felt then, and how this sweet man had touched my life over the years. And the crushing loss I would surely feel when he would be eventually taken from us.

And now, only 18 days after the third and final attempt at a liver transplant, I received the call about 6 AM this morning, October 3, that Duff was gone.  The sadness and feeling of loss was indeed crushing, and I sat holding my phone, too numb to even grasp the moment.

And then I thought, “How selfish of you, Joe, to think of yourself”.  I thought of his family, and the thousands of other lives he had touched, and the loss to this world.  You see, Duff Dorrough was a man of infinite kindness and love.  His down-to-earth spirit and infectious personality could light up a room with smiles and happiness, and his talents as an artist and musician were splendid, beautiful gifts from God. I have been richly blessed to have known him for over 35 years, and have been inspired and uplifted by him on so many occasions.

In those 35 years, I shared a stage with him hundreds of times, and always marveled at his excellence and virtuosity as a musician, without question the best I ever saw in my 50 year musical career, but more importantly, his excellence as a person.  I don’t think I have ever in my life seen anyone quite like Duff.  In all the years I knew him I never heard him speak an unkind word, lose his temper, or ever fail to lift another person’s spirit, or fail to put a smile on someone’s face.  It’s what he did, and it will always be how I remember him.  He was perhaps the most beautiful personification of God’s love that I was ever blessed to know.  I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love posted this morning on Duff’s facebook page. It is a testament to his heart and his soul, that so many people would post so many loving and caring thoughts.

And I know that the Delta, Mississippi and even the world will remember him that way as well, a very unique and special person.  And I am quite sure that his last wish would be for all of us to CELEBRATE his life, and what he meant to all of us.  He would have no time for the sadness, the mourning, only the celebration.  As he famously said to the crowd years ago at one of Bo Devine’s Green Lizard parties, “Y’all, after the party, there’s gonna be a BIG party, right here at the party, so….  stick around for the party”.

I think that sums up Duff’s approach to life, and I am sure that he will find his way to center stage mike in God’s Rock n Roll Band, along side all the other greats that have gone before, and he will make them all better people just by letting his brilliant light shine among them, as it shown so brilliantly for us once.

I love you Jurl Durl, Ole Son, and I thank you for your friendship.  For all my faults, failures and weaknesses, I know that somehow I am a better person for having known you!

Joe Seawright    –    Greenwood, MS    –   October 3, 2012

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29 Responses to DUFF DORROUGH

  1. Kay Oilschlager says:

    I’ll bet Duff and Bo are already planning a party in heaven. Thank you, Joe, for that beautiful tribute

  2. Charlie White says:

    What a wonderful tribute to such a wonderful man I was honored to know! Thanks, Joe!

  3. Jack Glaze says:

    Well said Joe. Duff was one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met. Just a joy to be around. Good this this life is not all there is and Duff’s real life has just begun.
    Thanks again Joe

  4. Johnny Jennings says:

    Duff was the “D” in Delta. It will never be the

  5. Beautifully written, Joe….heaven is rocking tonight…we will miss him here, but his music and art will continue to enrich our lives for years to come….thank you:)

  6. I share the pains of lost with my friend Chandler, the lost of his dear friend Duff, a person of high values. God has robbed us of this great friend. Fare thee well our beloved friend. I pray God finds a best room for you in heaven! George

  7. Carol Puckett says:

    This is a beautiful tribute…and sent me over to the cabinet to retrieve one of my well-worn Tangents CDs… i’m rocking into the morning thinking of all the good things Duff brought to us….

  8. Jeannie Falkner says:

    I am reflecting on the early Duff years when my cousin Maury McIntyre and Duff would come from Doddsville to Greenwood to pick me up in the Mustang…the adventures we shared on the Delta roads!

    Many years later I returned to Greenwood and went to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning. I heard, “Baby Jean, I wondered what had happened to you!” There were only a handful of people in the world who called me Baby Jean…

    May you and Maury forever roll in the Mustang!
    Baby Jean

  9. Beth says:

    Beautiful words in honor of a beautifu person. Duff Will be missed by so many!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Amen. Your words have been my thoughts. Beautifully written, Joe.

  11. Joe Bradshaw says:

    I think you covered it all.. Duff could make me feel good on my most depressed days, just dropping by, he would always leave me smiling..

  12. Gina says:

    What a beautiful Eulogy for such an amazing guy! Although I’ve only known Duff for a few years from afar, this sums up the true feel you received each time you saw him. Prayers to his wonderful
    family…including his musical family…

  13. Lester B. Gammill says:


  14. Elizabeth Cooksey says:

    What a “BEAUTIFUL STORY”……..What a MAN…….

  15. LeAnne Michals says:

    Very well written! Thank you for your words. I’ve been looking for mine…

  16. Bill Woodell says:

    …sir joe, this is truly a beautiful and oh so accurate account of precious Duff. He will always be here with us in spirit.

  17. Betsy Bobo Elliott says:

    I will never delete what you wrote about Duff and what he meant to all. When I feel a little “down” I will read the beautiful tribute you wrote. He is missed by so many people . I continue to pray for his children and hope they will have the same love for people that Duff had. He was loved by all who met him!!

  18. Joe, I loved to be able to read your words again….thank you for sharing your heart and for saying all the things that we feel …Duff will always be with us. Lynda “Bellsouth” was the name that Duff gave to me and I loved that about him. He made all of his friend special. always, Lynda Bell

  19. Sylvia Hood says:

    I did not know Duff Durrough as you did. I met him when I worked for Mrs. Michie (Jim’s mother) and got to see some of the paintings that he had done. She had one of the flood that he had done with convicts putting sand bags on the levee and it was a very nice, but the special one that he did was of her grand daughter Anna Margaret. He captured the beauty of that special little girl in every way. It was beautiful in every way, you see, Anna Margaret had Down’s Syndrome and was so precious. I can imagine the tears shed that Christmas when her parents opened up this gift. Duff Durrough was an artist like no other.

  20. Wildcat Pat Williams says:

    Thanks for posting this again. It’s hard to believe that he has been gone for over two years now. I will aways remember him for his smile and his love of life and people. All of us that knew him were blessed by his presence. He will never be forgotten, but is truly missed by everyone. Like my Daddy Charlie Boy, don’t think either of them knew a stranger! Thank you God for blessing this Earth with both Duff and Charlie Boy!! May they laugh in Heaven together. Daddy is probably dancing to Duffs music!!

  21. shinerwallis says:

    Reblogged this on shinerwallis and commented:
    Great pictures, and a beautiful tribute to Duff Dorrough – by Joe Seawright

  22. John malouf says:

    Beautifully said Joe. He was all those things to many. I have so many fond memories of Duff and the Tangents. RIP MY FRIEND.

  23. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute.

  24. Jm Veal says:

    I never really knew him. I only, as they say in the South, “knew of him” through you and so many others who knew him well, and sadly most of that came after he left. Oh I heard him play, here and there over the years, and he was special, no doubt about it, but so were and are, so many from around the Delta, so it wasn’t just the music because the threads in that tapestry were many and brightly colored and it was easy to lump him together with such a vibrant scene. But that was just the music. Now I am sure it could be argued, and successfully, that the man and the music were one, inextricably intertwined, but what has always stood out for me, since his demise, was the quality of the human being. Literally everyone who knew him loved this guy. Every single word, thought and emotion expressed are the same, from everyone, everywhere. The ache many of you feel is for the loss of what you shared with this great human being. The ache I feel is that I never got to. There is a lesson in that. Seek out those special people that you know everyone loves. Get in that rare air. Breathe deep.
    Thank you and God bless you, Joe

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