Herman Crook, 89, Harmonica Player, Of Grand Ole Opry

New York Times

Published: June 11, 1988
Herman Crook, band leader and  harmonica player who was the oldest member of the Grand Ole Opry, died today of a heart attack at Park View Medical Center. He was 89 years old.

Mr. Crook was the last remaining charter member of the Grand Ole Opry, founded in 1925. He returned to the Opry last weekend after a nine-week absence because of health problems.

Mr. Crook, orphaned early in life, was reared in Nashville by brothers and sisters, from whom he learned songs. In 1926, he led a country music string band on the Saturday Night Barn Dance and went to the Opry in 1927. The band is the only act left that represents the original tradition of the Opry; it plays for cloggers, who perform traditional mountain dancing.

Mr. Crook was at the Dawn of Country Music and his Band the "Crook Brothers"  were among the Opry musicians who participated in Nashville's first recording sessions in 1928. By the 1960's, the Opry had become a modern, highly professional program, and the traditional sound of Mr. Crook's group, called the Crook Brothers Band, once again proved that "what goes around comes around" and this is especially true with Crook Brothers original Blue Grass sound. 

He is survived by his wife, Helen, five sons, two daughters, 19 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.