Jackie Lee Cochran was a fine man. I worked on many of the same gigs where he would open for us (Ray and The Rockabilly Rebels). I always considered Jack the best singer Rollin' Rock ever had and I would always kid him that I was afraid to follow his act. You know, I wasn't kidding really. He didn't have a wild gyrating act on stage but he had a commanding stage presence as he stood there and played the hell out of his guitar and wailed out with that big deep voice of his. Our band would follow him and raise a ruckus and the crowds always dug it but nobody forgot the gritty cowboy booted Rock 'n' Roller, Jackie Lee Waukeen Cochran who opened the show. Quite often during our sets we would call Jackie back up with us for a few tunes simply because it was such a treat for the crowd and us. He could really rock.
I loved Jack. He was most often pretty soft spoken (unless he got mad) and he had an amused sparkle in his eyes that was very endearing. Jack wasn't very tall but he carried himself with such an old time grace and masculinity that men (and women) of all sizes gave him his due respect. My wife and I agree that he was like a throwback to the true southern gentleman that you see very rarely these days. He was confident but not arrogant. Did you know Jack also spent time in Hollywood as a stunt man in films? Also appeared briefly in the Marilyn Monroe movie "Let's Make Love." as a figure representing Elvis in a musical number.
I always make sure I am by the TV during Jack's spot in the film. I used to go down to the gaslight to ee him and he would always call me up to the bandstand for a couple of numbers. I moved to Arizona so I haven't seen Jack or talked to him for a long while. I wish I'd seen him one last time before he passed on. I didn't realize he was so tight with Tony ("Like Wow") Conn family but it makes sense. Tony has a heart of gold much like Jack's and not a mean bone in his body. Tony and Jack were/are both great at what they do and deserved more than they ever got. I'm glad that one of the last people Jack talked to was someone like Tony Conn. Maybe it's time we gave Tony Conn the attention he deserves before he, too, dies from a broken heart. My prayers go out to Jack's family and the Tony Conn family. "Jack The Cat" now rocks for eternity.