Chris Thomas King plays on the House of Blues stage with his father, Tabby Thomas, in 2001, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Douglas Mason/AP
Legendary bluesman Tabby Thomas died Wednesday at the age of 84.
He would have celebrated his 85 birthday on Sunday.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports that Thomas was probably best known for opening Tabby’s Blue Box in Baton Rouge, La. He opened the club in the late 1970s, giving Louisiana blues musicians, who had lost opportunities because of the disco craze, a place to play.
Blues-lovers from around the globe flocked to Tabby’s.
The original club was forced to close in 2000. The Associated Press reports that the second location “closed in 2004 after Thomas suffered a stroke and could no longer oversee its operations.”
The AP adds that:
“Thomas was married to Jocelyn Johnson Thomas for over 50 years. Joselyn passed away in 2005.
“The couple had eight children and 20 grandchildren. His son Chris Thomas King is also a musician known for his fusion of rap and blues.”
Daughter Joylyn Thomas Wright tells WAFB-TV that her father’s favorite saying was: “Blues is my life. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s wrong — c’est la vie.”