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Who 'Cousin Richie' Zack
What Cousin Richie (Zack) Zacharian, Leader of Eddie Zack's Hayloft Jamboree, famed country music artist
When June 18, 2004
Where Providence, RI

Richard "Cousin Richie" Zackarian, 79, of New London Avenue, a well-known Rhode Island entertainer and recording artist, and a former car-dealership owner, died Wednesday at Kent Hospital, Warwick.

As young men, he and his brother, "Eddie Zack," who died in 2002, entertained themselves with homemade musical instruments, singing on street corners and performing at school events, leading to live radio and public performances.

A vocalist, Mr. Zackarian and his brother made a name for themselves in country music, playing guitar and fiddle at numerous East Coast venues, including the former Jack Witschi's Arena, in North Attleboro, where they would play to 2,000 on weekends, and were the first country-music group to perform in Boston's Symphony Hall.

Recording on Columbia and Decca Records, they were part of an NBC radio show from 1951 to 1958 that was syndicated to 128 stations coast to coast.

Speaking of his onstage persona, "Cousin Richie," Mr. Zackarian said, "It's a stage name. Brother Richie would have meant I'd have to wear a collar."

Performing regularly for 60 years, they were still working every weekend until a few years ago, and had even begun to reprise their radio acts from many years ago on WJJF-AM in Hope Valley, bringing back the days of the old Hayloft Jamboree.

The band has had a loyal fan club since 1948, now coordinated by a couple from Brockton, Mass., Shirley and Jim McMorrow, who remember traveling more than 100 miles to see the band play, and who are lobbying to have the Zacks nominated for the Walkway of Stars, in Nashville, Tenn.

Mr. Zacharian was the husband of Barbara G. (O'Keefe) Zackarian. Born in Providence, a son of the late Peter and Elizabeth (Zackarian) Zackarian, he had lived in Cranston for many years.

He was a Navy veteran of World War II, serving aboard the Prairie.

Besides his wife, he leaves a son, Richard M. Zackarian, and two daughters, Mary E. Zackarian and Doreen B. Zackarian, all of Cranston; two sisters, Marilyn Albro of Coventry and Mercedes "Babs" White of Exeter; and four granddaughters. He was the brother of the late Edward Zackarian.

Full Obituary found in link above.

The Providence-Journal


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