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Jack Cooke

Sittin' On Top of the World – 2007 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Dr. Bobby Jones

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CDs by Jack Cooke

After touring with Ralph Stanley for 37 years, it comes as no surprise that Jack Cooke's new CD is heavily influenced by the Stanley sound. This is no weak imitation, though, as the music instantly brings to mind Ralph's own words, which describe his brand of bluegrass as "Mountain Music."

Steve Sparkman's Stanleyish piercing archtop kicks off the first cut, and the harmonies are much like the old Stanley Brother's sound with Ralph himself doing the tenor work on two cuts. (Two bonus tracks are actually from 1963) Cooke handles the lead vocals with conviction and has help from Del McCoury and a number of guests on harmony vocals.

There is more mandolin than on some of Stanley's records with Ronnie McCoury on most tunes and David Grisman on one. James Shelton's guitar is classic sounding as are the fiddle breaks of several different artists.

Not much new here; many of the tracks are public domain, but this still is nicely done and recommended for fans of the Stanley sound.