Ralph Stanley on the passing of Jack Cooke

Dr. Ralph Stanley sent along this brief tribute to his long-time friend and bass player, Jack Cooke, who passed away earlier this week.

Ralph Stanley and Jack Cooke from the 1970s - photo from Flickr (The Swamper)“I have nothing but the best to say about Jack. He played with me about 40 years (and with the Stanley Brothers before that). He never missed a show unless he really had to.

He was honest, faithful, and true. He gave me those years of honest and dependable services helping me. He did a good job. I will miss him.”

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • I am deeply saddened by the passing of Jack Cooke today. Jack was such an inspiration to me. Not only was he one of the greatest natural tenor voices in Bluegrass music, he was a solid bass man who knew how to entertain when the spotlight shined on him. I nagged Jack for years to come to Nashville and make a record and I am so thankful that Jim Lauderdale took the initiative and made it happen. Thanks Jim for including me!
    May the ex-Mayor rest in peace at the end of his journey for heaven was always his home and his goal. Cookie’s gone but Cookie don’t worry, Cookie’s sittin’ on top of the world…
    love ya Jack….
    Mike Bub
    Nashville, Tennessee

  • Here’s my photo (I believe) of Jack with Dr. Ralph at the 1980 Berkshire Mtns. Festival…


    It was also used in the inner page of this recent Rounder Records release…

  • Sandy Rothman

    A devastating loss of one of bluegrass’s cornerstones. I’d hoped that when Jack recovered from pneumonia, he would go back to bandleading as lead singer and guitarist, which to me was his strongest suit. He did so with several bands around the Baltimore area in the late ’50s, including his own, the Virginia Mountain Boys. Jack played guitar and sang lead as a Blue Grass Boy at various times from 1956 until the end of 1959, filling in frequently over the next few years, including the 1963 tour on which Del McCoury first played banjo with Bill. (Del had picked banjo in Jack’s band for a long time in Baltimore, often with Billy Baker fiddling.) Bill could always rest easy with Jack, counting on his strong vocals and agile bluegrass rhythm guitar picking. He recorded on 3 Monroe sessions (12/1/1958, 1/30/1959, 11/25/1959) even though he didn’t sing on them. Jack’s 38-year career as bassist/harmony vocalist in the Stanley band gave him job security and made him well known in the latter days of bluegrass, but his trademark guitar runs and superb high vocals made him unforgettable in earlier times. Jack often sang “Let Me Rest At the End Of My Journey” and made a classic recording of it in 1963. Sadly, his journey has come to an end and he’s at rest now. A man of humor and good cheer, Jack was always friendly and encouraging to me and I’m thankful to have known him a little.

  • cincyg123

    God Bless you Jack! We will miss you sorely.
    Norton, Virginia would not have been the same without you, nor would have the Clinch Mountain Boys! Cookie’s gone but Cookie don’t worry, Cookie’s sittin’ on top of the world…RIP

  • cincyg123

    “Thank you music lovers!”