Jack Cooke passes

this article from The Bluegrass Journal

By Travis Tackett
December 3, 2009

Norton, VA — Jack Cooke, long-time bass player and singer with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys, died Tuesday (Dec. 1) at 10 p.m. 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, which was released in 2007.

Visitation will be at Hagy & Fawbush Funeral Home in Norton on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and the funeral will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be Friday, Dec. 4 at 11: a.m. in the Huff-Brummitt Cemetery in Wise County, Va.

Additional information on Jack Cooke
His 36 year tenure as bass player makes him the longest serving Clinch Mountain Boy except for Ralph Stanley.

According to information on the Stanley Web site, as a teenager, Jack told his sister,

I’m never going to work. I’m going to let this guitar do it for me.

In addition to his musical career, Jack served half a term as mayor of Norton, Va., in 1963. He viewed his appearances at the Grand Old Opry, Ryman Auditorium and his three trips to Japan to be the most interesting places he had performed during his career.

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