Bob Cook - "We Heard that Voice"


If you have been anywhere close to Iowa for the last thirty-five years or so, you HAVE heard the unmistakable voice of Bob Cook. Bob's big voice was on countless commercials and he indeed was blessed with the "Big Voice." Bob passed away on March 6, 2009, but we have a sample of his work for you to enjoy again.




We heard that voice on radio and TV ads that ranged from banks and insurance to tractors, sewer and seed corn. One local producer said "You either have Bob doing your commercials or you want him to". When the voice said "We Love Iowa", we did. When he sang "UFS, It's The Best" we knew it was. When his was the voice of the Iowa State Fair telling us to go and have a good time, we went and we did. In a sewer service TV ad, he raised a twirling finger to the camera as his voice told us to remember the roto-rooter motion. We remembered. His own TV show "Cross County" on KCCI , gave us a chance to see AND hear Bob and bass player and friend Gary Audsley make the crisp kind of seamless music that we only guessed was possible. As the Willard half of radio's "Willard and Rafert" with pal Brent Webster, he made us laugh. When the voice was dulled down to make Willard a foil for the just-barely- sharper Rafert character, we laughed so hard we wet our pants. We laughed so hard we almost forgot to buy the tractors and seed corn. Ag radio and the advertising community stopped laughing only long enough to shell out its highest awards.

We heard that voice at "The Waterhole", a Des Moines nightclub started by Bob and Carole Cook. "The Waterhole" was a school of sorts where we learned about a new kind of entertainment offered to us, the "listening" kind. It said so right on the wall as we went in. "Listening entertainment". We learned what good lights and good sound could do for a voice we already wanted to hear. He shared his microphone with Doc and Merle Watson, Bob Gibson and Mickey Newbury. He and Brent even taught a young Jimmy Buffet some songs and chords a long time ago in New Orleans according to Buffet's book. Stage and microphone presence was most certainly lesson number two. His voice introduced us to all sorts of music from Irish and folk to bluegrass and country.

His voice came from somewhere deep inside. We tried to watch and listen for hints or clues of a coming phrase or punch line. Some say the give-away was in the very beginning of his smile and it was almost always behind a microphone.

Bob Cook Demo. Used to promote his talent to potential clients.

Video - Bob Cook on KCCI-8 Cross Country Show - 1975.


Bob Cook video clip for KCCI produced around 1975 but never aired.


It is a time lapse recording of the Cross Country stage being setup for a show.


Items except video courtesy of Jim Stimson
Video courtesy of Don Sears (Don was the audio engineer on the Cross Country show)


Audio oddities page home page