Houston lost one of its most affable and musical native sons when bluesman Teddy "Cry Cry" Reynolds died of complications of cancer and other health problems in the early morning hours of October 1. Born in the Third Ward in 1931, Reynolds began his career as house pianist at the now-defunct Shady's Playhouse, playing blues behind Albert Collins, Johnny "Clyde" Copeland, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and others. In 1950, he cut his first solo sides on Bob Shad's local Sittin' In With label and provided a supremely soulful vocal for the regional hit single "Cry Cry Baby" -- hence his "Cry Cry" nickname.
Reynolds's most prolific and enduring studio work was as a session player in the '50s and '60s at Houston's mighty Duke/Peacock Records. There he performed with Bobby Bland and Junior Parker (with whom he toured in a popular twin-bill revue for almost three years), as well as Big Mama Thornton, Joe Hinton and others. In 1970, Reynolds played on the classic Together for the First Time, an album that united Bland with B.B. King. In more recent years, Reynolds recorded with Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters, contributing keyboards, vocals and several compositions to the CDs Full Gain and Horn of Plenty on the Black Top label. He also performed locally with Jerry Lightfoot, Joe "Guitar" Hughes and Texas Johnny Brown.
After a heart attack in 1995, Reynolds was forced to restrict his on-stage performances. But he continued to sing in church whenever possible and had written several new gospel songs over the last year. Reynolds will be remembered by many as a gracious friend, a gifted storyteller, a serious fisherman and a devoted family man.
-- Roger Wood
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