James Barney “J.R.” Cobb, of Monticello, renowned guitarist and song writer, passed away May 4, 2019 at Piedmont Newton Hospital in Covington.
J. R. Cobb, a long-time resident of Jasper County, was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1944. He grew up in Jacksonville and lived at the Florida Children’s Home from the age of nine until he graduated from Paxon High School. He became an apprentice welder at Florida Steel, and it was there that he joined some co-workers in the band that evolved into the Classics IV. The band played in clubs along the Florida coast before being discovered and moving to the Atlanta area to record and pursue their musical careers. This band generated many hit songs written or co-written by J.R., including “Spooky”, “Stormy”, “Traces” and “Every Day with You Girl.”
In the early 1970s, he joined with several other members of the Classics IV and the Roy Orbison Band, Candymen, to become the Atlanta Rhythm Section. He co-wrote “Champagne Jam” and other songs for which that band was known. His gift for song writing resulted in lyrics that spanned the generations and the words to his hits are familiar to young and old, alike.
He later became a member of the legendary Highwaymen Band, continuing to write songs and play guitar with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Wayland Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. He toured around the world with this group. In 1993 he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Back at home on Barnes Mountain, along with his beloved wife Bert and son Justin, he became a part of the local community. J.R.’s enormous talent was balanced by his genuine and unassuming nature. He was generous with his time and talent and was a friend to all who knew him. He particularly encouraged and taught young guitarists who sought his help. He was active in the Monticello Presbyterian Church where he shared his musical talents and technical abilities. He and other church members formed the Southern Crossroads Band which, for a number of years, played for worship, benefits, and entertainment.
J.R. was preceded in death by his parents, Rose Hutchins and James Cobb, Sr., and siblings, Curtis Cobb, Jewell Cobb, and Bonnie Aragon.
He is survived by his wife, Bertha Ann Absher Cobb; son Justin Travis (Ellen) Cobb of Dacula, Georgia; grandchildren John Wesley Cobb and Michael Harrison Cobb; and sisters, Juanita Carroll, Janice Cobb, and Irene Walton, all of Jacksonville, Florida.
His life will be memorialized in a service at 11:00 AM, May 11, 2019, at Monticello Baptist Church 334 W. Greene Street, Monticello, Georgia 31064. Pastor Kathi Parchem will officiate.
The family suggests donations to Monticello Presbyterian Church P.O. Box 308, Monticello, Georgia 31064 or the Wounded Warriors Project (woundedwarriorproject.org).
Jordan Funeral Home, Monticello