Jack Cooke of the Clinch Mountain Boys Dead at 72

Jack Cooke, longtime bass player and singer with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys, died Tuesday (Dec. 1) at a hospital in his hometown of Norton, Va., after collapsing at his home. The 72-year-old musician had been ill and away from the band for several months. Vernon Crawford “Jack” Cooke was in his teens when he got his first professional job with the Stanley Brothers. As a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys from 1956 until 1960, Cooke was featured on Monroe’s recordings such as “Gotta Travel On, ” “Big Mon” and “Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone.” Later, he formed his own group, Jack Cooke & 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 the best bluegrass album Grammy for Lost in the Lonesome Pines, a project headlined by Jim Lauderdale and Stanley. Lauderdale produced Cooke’s only solo album, Sittin’ on Top of the World, which was released in 2007.