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Since Apr 1, 1997

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... to preserve, promote and perpetuate the Blues Tradition ...

Passings of Local Interest

  • Robert Alan "Rocky" Adcock
    May 9, 1946 - Jan 24, 2017

Rocky & Dana
KBS Blues News Cover, Mar 2017

  • Dana Michael Roy
    Jan 16, 1953 - Jan 30, 2017


Phillip Eugene "Blue" Phillips



Phillip Eugene "Blue" Phillips



Phillip Eugene "Blue" Phillips


  • Phillip Eugene "Blue" Phillips
    1956 - Nov 13, 2016

Phillip Phillips
w/ The Tarnations

  • Joey "Lamont" Gillispie
    Feb 20, 1953-Apr 10, 2015

Lamont & Jimmy
KBS Blues News Cover, May 2015

  • James Douglas "Jimmy" Gardner, Jr.
    Jan 15, 1951 - Mar 22, 2015

  • Henry C. Woodruff, 82 of Louisville, died Jan 5, 2005. He was the first recipient of the Kentuckiana Blues Society's Sylvester Weaver Award in 1989. Henry is buried at Green Meadows Memorial Cemetery off of Cane Run Road.
    Read Keith Clement's "So Long Henry" article in his February 2005 Louisville Music News article "I've A Mind To Ramble".

Henry Woodruff at the Cherokee Blues Club circa 1985

Photo by Keith Clements

Mary Ann Fisher at Rick's Square Piano, Feb. 26, 1997

Photo by Keith Clements

  • Louisville Bluesman Fred L. Murphy passed away Saturday, November 8, 2003. Following is the obituary from The Courier-Journal on 11/12/2003

Fred L. Murphy, 84, of Louisville, died Saturday. Funeral: 1 p.m. Saturday at Oak Grove Baptist Church, 4033 Vermont Ave. Burial: Green Meadows Cemetery. Visitation: 7-9 p.m. Friday at Perryman's Mortuary, 34th and Broadway.

Fred Murphy

  • Kentuckiana Blues Society Board Member Paul McNeal passed away Wednesday, June 13, 2001.
    He is sorely missed! Following is the obituary from the Courier-Journal
    Paul M. McNeal Jr., 48, died Monday at Norton Hospital. He was a native of Madisonville, an employee of the Department of Social Services and a member of Kentuckiana Blues Society and Oak Grove Baptist Church in Madisonville. Survivors: his wife, Martha McNeal; a sister, Teresa Matchum; and brothers Stevie D. and Michael McNeal. Funeral: 6 p.m. Wednesday, G.C. Williams, 1935 W. Broadway. Burial: Odd Fellows Cemetery, Madisonville. Visitation: after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Paul McNeal Groovin' Aug 6, 1999
Photo by Debbie D. Wilson

Paul McNeal
Celebrate Louisville
Aug 6, 1999

  • Mary Jean Zena, owner of Zena's Café in Louisville, died Sunday, December 24, 2000 - following is the obituary from the the Courier-Journal.
    Mary Jean Zena, 73, died Sunday (Dec 24, 2000) at Norton Suburban Hospital. She was the former Mary Jean Herbold, owner of Zena's Cafe and a member of Ursuline College Alumni Association and a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church. Survivors: her husband, Robert B. Zena; daughters Barbara Z. Dozier and Karen Z. Thurman; sons Dr. Robert, Randall, Anthony, Christopher and Samuel Zena; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Funeral: noon Thursday, her church, 531 E. Liberty St. Burial: St. Michael Cemetery. Visitation: Ratterman's, 3711 Lexington Road, 3-5 and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday. Memorial gifts: American Heart Association.
From Brenda in the January, 2000 KBS Blues News:
The Louisville blues world has lost another icon and friend. Mary Jean Zena passed away over the Christmas holiday. Ms. Z had been an institution of the Louisville blues scene for so long I guess I just expected her to be there forever. Some of the losses in your life you regret more than others and for me personally, this is one I really regret. I don't think I ever told Ms. Z how much she touched my life. I hadn't seen her in a while, but at a time in my life when there were few constants she was always there. I guess, after all those years in the bar business, she'd heard most everything, but she'd listen one more time. She was a lady that knew her own mind and did things her own way. I didn't always agree with her but I always respected her. She was there supporting the music and local bands for a long time. Knowing she's not there now leaves a very big hole.

Mary Jean Zena * June 25, 1927 - December 24, 2000
Mary Jean Zena 
June 25, 1927
December 24, 2000

  • Louisville, Kentucky musician Winston Hardy died Monday, January 10, 2000 - following is the obituary from the Courier-Journal.
    Winston R. Hardy, 56, died Monday at Baptist Hospital East. He was a musician, a leader of the Winston Hardy and The Roadmasters bands and a member of Masonic Lodge 850, Kyana Blues Society, Musicians Local 11-637, Kosair Shrine Temple and Scottish Rite. Survivors his wife, the former Nancye Reiss; sons Winston R. II and Harold M. Hardy; and daughters Ariel and Juliana Hardy. Funeral 11:30 a.m. Friday, Arch L. Heady Hikes Point, 4109 Taylorsville Road. Burial Cave Hill. Visitation noon-9 p.m. Thursday. Memorial gifts Musicians Relief Fund, c/o the funeral home.

    Rocky Adcock wrote a very nice piece on Winston ... click here to read it.

  • KBS received a VERY GENEROUS donation in January 2000 in the memory of Clara Willis.
    Read the details here

  • Louisville's Blues Scene lost Jim Rosen on February 18, 1998 just 2 days after his 42nd birthday. Jim was a founding member of The Mudcats Blues Band which has produced three CDs locally. The Mudcats and Jim Rosen were a very popular force in the region. His death will again desimate the local blues scene and he will be sorely missed.

  • The untimely death of Foree Wells on Jan 8, 1997 decimated the local Blues scene. Foree was a tremendous - though often unappreciated and always understated - influence on the Blues locally. For the previous two years he had been anticipating the release of a CD on the ROOSTER BLUES label, based in Mississippi. In a truly tragic coincidence of events it now appears that this CD will be released - now to serve as a testimony to Foree and a legacy for his fans rather than a springboard to greater regional and national recognition.

    Foree's wife Lorene S. Wells passed away on Feb 20, 1999

    Through several fund raising events, KBS raised enough donations to pay for a headstone for Foree and Lorene. Dedication information

  • Yank Rachel, Indianapolis based Bluesman, died April 9, 1997 at the age of 87. Yank was an old time string band musician who made a second career out of a thin legacy. He played in the 70's in a string band with J.T. Adams and Shirley Griffith. His death leaves only Howard Armstrong as a survivor of this great Blues tradition. The Blues Society of Indiana is raising funds to pay for a headstone. Send any contributions to BSI, PO Box 2263, Indianapolis IN 46206.
  • Mighty Joe Young - Born September 23, 1927 Shreveport, Louisiana / Died March 24, 1999 Chicago, Illinois
    The following was taken from an e-mail sent by the American Legends Music Organization:

    We sadly send news that American blues icon, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, passed away on March 25, 1999 in Chicago, Illinois. Young was in the hospital since February (1999)
    He passed away from phenomena after complications from a spinal operation he hoped would restore his ability to play guitar again. He was 71.

    Mighty Joe Young was one of the first blues artists to break through on the North Side of Chicago in the very early 1970s, playing to packed clubs and becoming one of the premier and best-known touring blues artists on the festival and university circuits. Between tours in 1986 he had taken his band into the studio on his own money and started to lay down tracks to finally do a recording - his way. But after recording only three numbers he shelved the project when in the fall of 1986 he decided to have surgery on a pinched nerve in his neck. After the surgery he suffered complications and didn't heal from the operation until after a year after the operation. It took a year of rehab before he regained his balance for walking, but he never fully recovered the sensation in his fingers to play guitar. As a result he made only rare appearances over the last decade. His greatest hope was to regain his ability to play guitar as he did before his first operation.

    Joe Young was still mighty in his seventieth year. His regular work-outs at the health club helped maintain his barrel-chested former boxer's physique. Always a strong family man, he has made his recovery surrounded by children and grandchildren. He made appearances again as a singer and was on the schedule for the 1997 Chicago Blues Festival.

    Born September 23, 1927 in Shreveport, Louisiana, Young also lived for a time in Milwaukee and Los Angeles, where in the late 40s he was an amateur boxer. He began playing in the early 1950s, working clubs in Milwaukee and then back in his native Louisiana where in 1955 he first recorded for the tiny Jiffy label.

    The next year he came to Chicago where he worked with Joe Little and his Heart Breakers, Jimmy Rogers, Billy Boy Arnold and Otis Rush. He eventually recorded a few more singles for Atomic H, Fire (where in 1961 he was given the "Mighty" moniker), Webcor, Celtex and U.S.A. and appeared on disc with blues titans Magic Sam (on both Delmark LPs), Willie Dixon, Albert King, Jimmy Dawkins, Tyrone Davis (including his hit "Can I Change My Mind") and Koko Taylor (on Chess and Alligator). In 1969, his sensational appearance with Koko at Chicago's first Grant Park Blues Festival was an enormous boost to both of their careers. In typically humble fashion Joe Young plays down his role as one of the first to bring blues to North Side clubs, but back when blues was new to young, white audiences, he was a huge draw at Alice's Revisited, Minstrels, Biddy Mulligan's and Wise Fools where he played 12 straight New Year's Eve engagements. His memorable appearances at the Ann Arbor Festivals in the early '70s solidified his hold on the festival and university circuits, and by the mid-1980s Young's successful career had taken him all over North America and Europe.

    Mighty Joe Young will be remembered for his pioneering work as one of the first Chicago singer/guitarists to meld soul and blues in tight, fresh, horn-laden arrangements. His music will continue to spark memories of powerful good-times, nightclubs jam-packed to the rafters, and Chicago-style soul-blues. Young is survived by his son, Joe Young, Jr., and other family members.

This site created and maintained by Debbie D. Wilson, KBS Websmith
First Published: April 1997 * Last Revised: 31 Jul 2018

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V2.0 - 01/01/2008

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