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

Bobby _Lewis James Fraher Oct1.jpg
Photo courtesy of James Fraher
Bobby Lewis, whose no-cover Blue Monday jams at his Third Ward juke joint Miss Ann's Playpen welcomed professionals and amateurs alike and became legendary among the Houston blues community, passed away over the weekend from a number of health problems. His age was unknown.

Reg Burns, Director of Finance and Operations of the Miller Outdoor Theatre Advisory Board, confirmed the news Sunday night via Steve Sucher of the Musicians' Benevolent Society of Houston; Sucher had spoken with Lewis' widow, Beverly, Burns said.

Local blues scholar Dr. Roger Wood, author of Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues, said Lewis had been in poor health and "getting worse for some time." Burns added that besides diabetes, Lewis had recently been diagnosed with Alzeheimer's Disease.

Bobby Lewis Miss Ann's Oct1.jpg
Photo by Tommy Nix/courtesy of Dr. Roger Wood
Bobby Lewis outside Miss Ann's Playpen
According to Dr. Wood, Lewis and his wife Beverly opened Miss Ann's in the mid-'90s at the corner of Alabama and Dowling streets. They named the place after their young daughter, he adds -- she had the run of the place when the couple was renovating the club while preparing to open. As part of the Blue Monday scene, the Lewises also provided a free soul-food spread to go along with the music.

"I mean complete, excellent soul-food dinners, tasty and absolutely free of charge," Dr. Wood remembers.

He says Miss Ann's was a "home base" for him in the late '90s while working on Down In Houston, which was published in 2003. The blues jams could be packed with a who's who of local players, "and many more, sometimes all on the same night": Joe "Guitar" Hughes, Sherman Robertson, Trudy Lynn, Wilber McFarland, I.J. Gosey, Carolyn Blanchard, Eugene Moody and Little Joe Washington, as well as neighborhood figures known as "The Candyman" and "Lil Buck."



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3 comments
msmith7174
msmith7174

Just saw this and can't say how sad it makes me.  Back before Miss Ann's opened Bobby and the Mighty Invaders would play the patio at club 8.0.  He took the time to pull a young white boy (me) up on stage and have me sing with the band.  He loved that I knew all the songs.  I am not a good singer, but the effort was there.  Bobby invited me to opening night at Miss Ann's.  I showed up looking like a preppy little white boy and he dragged me on stage.  Told everybody I was his "roaddog Mark!"  It was a great time.  Great music and Bobby was a good man.  I hate that I didn't make it back to Miss Ann's.  Bobby will be missed.

BZZ54
BZZ54

He spelled his name MYSTRO. I had Bobby paint the Miss Ann's on the awning so white folks could find it..So many awesome good times unique to the  place , the people and atmosphere. One always felt like they were at somebody's house as people would be embraced and invited to join a table and share a drink or food they might have brought... So much audience participation and they all were good singers..It was amazing..Great juke box of classic R & B music. Bobby would walk people back to their cars telling them to "come back and get your groove on"..Thanks to the Project Row Houses and my installation , they sponsored Sat. BBQ & Blues for 6 months with local legends being booked. The Europeans coming in for FotoFest  loved it! I took some belly dancers over there one evening with a percussionist...The men were totally intimidated  and the women loved it. For a long bit of time it was like going to see family. If I was in a funk I soon got out of it once I arrived.

Sonny Boy Terry  recorded a live CD there. Too many stories to tell.

BZZ54
BZZ54

Memorial service is Sat  for the service at 11:00.. service is at St Phillip Neri Church 10960 MLK near South Acres , the burial is about 15 min away then the passover ( the food part) is at St Peters Apostle Church   6220 La Falette..probably close to 1pm

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