Houston Music

RIP Bobby Lewis of Third Ward Blues Joint Miss Ann's Playpen

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The Miss Ann's jams carried on a local tradition that stretched back decades, Wood wrote in an article for the Houston Press in January 2000:

It's a tradition almost as old as the blues, one that reportedly thrived in Houston (and elsewhere) earlier in the century at long-gone establishments such as Shady's Playhouse in the Third Ward. "Whoo! On Blue Mondays the place was jumping!" once said the late Teddy Reynolds, Shady's original house pianist.

"You know, folks would go to work, or not, with a hangover on Monday morning, and then they just had to have a little drink and go listen at some blues after work, first thing."

A different R&B singer named Bobby Lewis is still living and had a No. 1 hit in 1961 with "Tossin' and Turnin," which was later used on the soundtrack for the 1978 movie Animal House.

Wood remembers Houston's Lewis as a tall, muscular former football player; he was known to close down his own jams with Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll." According to Burns, this Bobby Lewis was a stage name, and the Miss Ann's owner's real name was Phillip Mystro.

"He could sing soul-blues in the most exquisite voice, falsetto really," says Dr. Wood. "It could be profoundly moving. Every December I recall him really knocking us all out with his tastefully soulful rendition of Christmas songs, too."

Miss Ann's received Houston Press "Best of Houston" awards for Best Blues Club in 2002 and 2003, but had already closed by the time the second was announced.

"Bobby Lewis was a businessman, I guess, but he was also a unifier who brought a lot of folks together and made them happy to be alive," says Roger Wood. "He had many friends, and I am grateful to be among them."

A memorial service is tentatively planned for Saturday, says Burns.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray