born: possibly Barto, Miss., c. 1900
died: possibly Laurel, Miss., mid-1950s
Big Joe Williams said: "Cooney was a right-hand man. He played blues and real music. He had a band with Nap Hayes from Tupelo, Mississippi, on guitar."
According to Luke Parmley: "He played for himself around Jackson - he could juke them folks awhile."
Roosevelt Holts: "He played in Magnolia and McComb, Mississippi and Bogalusa, Louisiana - mostly McComb. He started on organ."
Lee Collins: "Cooney never left the South, always stayed around Hattiesburg. He was a piano, player from his heart and could also fake a little trombone."
in 1920-1, Collins led a band in Hattiesburg, Miss., with Vaughn (trombone), Ed Hall (clarinet), and Jug Shaw (piano). Cooney recorded there in 1936. The Mississippi Jook Band sides (with the gospel duo Blind Roosevelt and Uaroy Graves) feature his exciting hot piano, which is reminiscent of Octave Crosby and Arizona Dranes. His solo recordings remain unissued, so one can only wonder if "Out West Blues" could be the Bob Morton number. In Cooney's "Trembling Blues" Little Brother Montgomery plays semi-quavers in the right hand, again suggesting strong jazz inflections.
(from "Deep South Piano" by Karl Gert zur Heine)