Known blues man to revive father's iconic juke joint
BATON ROUGE – The blues is coming back to Baton Rouge in a big way. It’s a tribute to the legendary Tabby Thomas and his iconic blues box. His son, Grammy-award-winning blues man Chris Thomas King, is giving the genre a new voice in growing Mid-City.
“I could shed a tear, a happy tear,” Chris said.
For years, Chris has been trying to find the perfect spot to match his father’s legacy. He knows it well.
“I think every Saturday night throughout the 1980’s I was at Tabby’s Blues Box,” he said.
His dad opened up Tabby’s Blues Box in 1979 at a time the area was desperate for an authentic blues venue.
“Louisiana blues had left Louisiana,” Chris said. “It went to Mississippi, it went to Chicago, Memphis, New York and everyone claimed this music but it came from us.”
That need for a return is still true today. Tabby Thomas closed his juke joint in 2004. He suffered a heart attack, and died 10 years later. Chris is now looking to revive his music venue.
“I'm bringing the old band back together, so to speak,” Chris said.
Partnering with Red Stick Social, every Thursday night will be a Tabby’s Blues Box series. Chris is planning to start with booking local artists, but has a goal of bringing in some big names.
“Buddy Guy used to play with my dad before he left to go to Chicago, and I'd love to have Buddy Guy come back and give us a play,” Chris said.
Though his father’s club atmosphere can't be duplicated, Chris is excited to honor the culture Tabby Thomas brought to center stage.
“I think my dad would be so proud, and the spirit and love that he put into everything he did -- We're going to try to stay true to that,” he said.
The series will start with a soft opening in January. Chris says the goal is to have the grand opening in early spring.