Big Jack Reynolds

This story begins some time ago, in 1982 as a college freshman at the University of Toledo, I signed up for a shift at the college radio station. I was assigned an 8am show on Monday mornings (guess I didn’t have much seniority) and told to play these stacks of Jazz albums and I was to host a morning Jazz show.

Big Jack and John Henry

I loved music but didn’t know anything about Jazz Music and apparently neither did the station Program Director as these albums turned out to be stacks of old Blues Albums. It was there that I discovered the greats like Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker. Thus, my lifelong love affair for Blues Music began.

This lead to countless live shows and records buys and a journey that would lead to meeting Big Jack Reynolds a local Toledo Blues Musician in the mid 1980’s. That meeting would change my life and many others as you see Big Jack Reynolds was our Bluesman and although we had heard and had seen all the greats, he was there right in front of us playing his deep soulful blues and telling us stories that would become that of legend. 

As the years past we (Larry Gold, John Messenger and myself) worked to record and release a cassette of Big Jack’s material on the Highball label called Broke and Disgusted. The recordings were well received and Big Jack received some well-deserved recognition. Unfortunately, Big Jack left us in 1994 and really left a void for everyone. Other projects were to follow: Louis “Mr. Bo” Collins CD titled “If Trouble Was Money” on the Blue Suit Label and well received Blues Compilation CD that featured many local Toledo Blues artist on the Black Swamp Blues Society Label in which the proceeds went to the benefit of Autism.

Mr. Bo

Speaking of the Black Swamp Blues Society, I was a founding member of the Society and served as its first President for five years, doing countless shows and events with National and Local Blues artist. The Society is still active today and a great benefit to the Community.

Family and Career became the center of my life and the Blues took a back seat, but was always there waiting to make a comeback when time and priorities would permit. That time started to happen almost three years ago, and this Blues Journey was about to restart and take some new turns.

A group of like minded guys and myself decided to open a Cigar Shop in Waterville, Ohio (another little hobby). The cigar shop took the name of Third Street Cigar. During the creation, formation and decorating of the shop it took on a musical theme. I had saved all the old Blues Show promotional items, had blues and rock memorabilia and my friend John Rockwood who has also been on this Blues Journey had one of the most amazing Blues and Rock photo collections from shooting pictures of these artist for over 40 years in the greater Toledo area. This all came together in an amazing and nationally recognized Cigar Shop that was decorated with the history of Toledo Blues and Rock History.

Big Blues Bob

Our Grand opening was July 11th 2014 the birthday of Big Jack Reynolds. We decided to have a live blues music act perform that evening and made a make shift stage and Bobby G with Curtis Grant and The Midnight Rockers played, and they brought the house down. We had no intent to have live music at the cigar shop when we created it, but things had been such a success we did it again and again. We now regularly have live acts that are both national and local performers.

The success of the music lead us to create a Blues Music Festival and the summer of 2015 and we started the “Blues, Brews and Brats festival” right out in front of Third Street Cigar in downtown Waterville. The festival proceeds go for the benefit of Waterville Rotary. One of our headliners at the 2016 summer festival was my old friend Johnny Rawls. I

told Johnny about a couple of local acts that I was impressed with (Bobby G with Curtis Grant and The Midnight Rockers & The Good, The Bad and The Blues), Johnny got to see them that night and was impressed. That night in a car behind stage the idea of Third Street Cigar Records was born and our first two artists would be recorded with Johnny lending his incredible talents to the project. The result is our first release “Still Standing” by who else but Bobby G with Curtis Grant and the Midnight Rockers. 


Well that’s the story so far, I hope this Blues Journey goes on for a long time and leads to many more projects, shows and recordings. I certainly hope you enjoy “Still Standing” and tell others about it. Oh by the way one last thing I should mention, we brought the man with us that started this Blues Journey we are all on, the one and only Big Jack Reynolds. As you see Big Jack’s ashes sit atop of our staircase in a blue urn at Third Street Cigar next to his picture, guitar and harmonicas. Welcome to Third Street Cigar Records.

John Henry, Third Street Cigar Records founder.