Swamp Blues has the insistent, hypnotic rhythm that penetrates the listeners body like a virus and provokes inevitable symptoms like shuffling feet and swinging hips. ‘Rockin Tabby’ Thomas played guitar and piano, and sang his energetic Swamp Blues for over 50 years, becoming a legend in the Baton Rouge area, with his band, his record label, his club and his radio show, as well as his ‘chip off the ol’ block’ Chris Thomas King.
Tabby had good head for business and opened his own club in the city, Tabby’s Blues Box and Heritage Hall in 1978. An early performer there was his son, who went on to his own career as the ‘preservationist yet futuristic’ Blues star Chris Thomas King, who literally followed in his father’s footsteps when they toured Europe together in the late 70s. Tabby found a loyal following over the pond, and visited many times in the next two decades. In 2002, Tabby was involved in a serious auto accident which affected his playing, but he continued to perform as a singer occasionally, but then a new career as a radio DJ opened up on Baton Rouge radio stations where he hosted a Blues programme. Sadly, Tabby passed away in his home-town on New Years day 2014, a few days shy of his 85th birthday.