Katz Kobayasi / Kyle Tullis / Charles and Danny Bailey / Estelle Axton / Ella Johnson / Gene Hughes
Former Grand Ole Opry steel guitarist Katz Kobayasi, who also played with such artists as Marty Robbins and Bill Anderson, passed away on February 8 of complications from a stroke. He was 60.
Bassist Kyle Tullis got his start in Gram Parsons’ Fallen Angels band and played on the Live 1973 album. He went on to play with artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Larry Coryell. Tullis died from cancer on March 9. He was 55.
Both Charles and Danny Bailey, from the influential bluegrass band the Bailey Brothers, died in March. Charles passed on March 12 at the age of 88; Danny was 85 when he died on March 22. The Bailey Brothers, a popular bluegrass act in the late ’40 and early ’50s, were known for their tight harmonies.
Record label exec Estelle Axton died February 24 at the age of 85. Axton, who was known as “Lady A,” co-founded the legendary soul label Stax Records with her younger brother, Jim Stewart.
Blues singer Ella Johnson died February 16 at age 88. She had her biggest successes singing in her brother Buddy Johnson’s bands and is best known for such songs as “Please Mr. Johnson”, “Since I Fell for You” and “When My Man Comes Home.”
Gene Hughes first achieved success in the music business as lead singer of the Casinos, who scored a hit with John D. Loudermilk’s “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” in 1967. Hughes later became a country record promoter. He died on February 3; he was 67.