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Clinch Mountain Boy Jack Cooke dies

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 – Jack Cooke, long-time bass player and singer with Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys, died Tuesday at a hospital in his hometown of Norton, Va., after collapsing at his home.

Vernon Crawford "Jack" Cooke was born Dec. 6, 1936. His first professional job was playing with the Stanley Brothers while he was still in his teens. He left the Stanleys to join Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys band, a post he held from 1956-1960. During that time, he recorded such songs with Monroe as Gotta Travel On, Big Mon and Tomorrow I'll Be Gone.

Later, he formed his own group, Jack Cooke and the Virginia Mountain Boys, and played in bands headed by Earl Taylor and the Stonemans. He joined the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1970 and remained there until he was sidelined by health problems early this year. In 2002, he shared with the Clinch Mountain Boys a best bluegrass album Grammy for "Lost In The Lonesome Pines, "a collection headlined by Jim Lauderdale and Ralph Stanley. Lauderdale produced Cooke's only solo album, "Sittin' On Top Of The World," released in 2007.

CD reviews for Jack Cooke

Sittin' On Top of the World CD review - Sittin' On Top of the World
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. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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