Bad Habits – Night Owl

Example

(below) Tony Allen: the originator

Example

Listen – Night Owl MP3″

Greetings all.

Here we gather at the middle of the week, poised – after a few days of intense suffering – to turn things around. Knowing that – unlike Sisyphus – we’ve all crested the hill and that the weekend is but a few days distant has always been good for the soul, and since soul is the coin of the realm hereabouts, what better way to celebrate than a little more of same?
I found today’s selection a few months back in my record show haul. When I first pulled it from the box, I assumed that I was getting a garage punk 45, but when I dropped the needle on the old GP3 (currently ailing, maybe about to be put out to pasture) what I got was something else entirely.
Though I’d never heard of the Bad Habits, in the weeks that followed I would, courtesy of that band, be taught a lesson in misconceptions, factual wrong turns and the like. Certainly nothing profound, but with enough light at the end of the tunnel to clear things up.
‘Clear what up?’ you say.
Well, sit right back and you’ll hear a tale….yadda, yadda, yadda….
Label scanner that I am, the first thing I noticed about the Bad Habits 45, once I got it home and settled in, was the Delaney Bramlett credit on the song ‘It’s Been a Long Time Coming’. This, and the distinctly Bonnie-esque vocals on the record pushed me in the direction of assuming (and we know what Felix Unger had to say about that slippery slope) that what I was holding was some early incarnation of Delaney and Bonnie (and maybe some Friends, but who knows?).
A bit of Googling revealed that there were other folks out there on the interwebs who thought the same thing. Naturally, being constitutionally unable to leave well enough alone, I started digging around, and discovered that the Bad Habits 45 had been released in 1970, well after the Bramletts were a going concern. I thought that maybe this was an early, possibly unreleased recording that the folks at Paula records issued to take advantage of their success.
In the end (or at least the first “end”) it remained a mystery. The record was digi-ma-tized, the label scanned and there it sat in my ‘to be blogged’ folder for several weeks.
Then – as is often the case – I dug a little more, whipped a little Google Fu on the webs and discovered that the Bad Habits were not in fact any incarnation of Delaney and Bonnie, but had only covered one of their songs.
As it turns out, the Bad Habits were a white Louisiana band – originally called Debbie and the Lads (maybe that’s Debbie singing?) – that signed with Paula Records in 1969 and went on to record four singles for the label in 1970 and 1971*.
The song that we feature today, ‘Night Owl’ (originally spelled ‘Nite Owl’) was a cover of a multi-regional 1955 hit by Tony Allen and the Champs.
Allen, a native of New Orleans relocated to Los Angeles in the early 50’s where he hung with folks like Cornell Gunter, Jesse Belvin and Bobby Freeman. Allen recorded ‘Nite Owl’ for Specialty Records in 1955, and it went on to become a favorite of the lowrider scene, as well as with “Beach Music” fans in the southeast.
The tune was later covered by the Righteous Brothers, Dick Dale & the Deltones, Bobby Paris and John Fred & the Playboy Band (maybe the version that inspired the Bad Habits?). There was even a Jamaican version of the tune by Lee & the Clarendonians.
The Bad Habits version is a rough slice of R&B, with a particularly raw lead vocal. It sounds like it was recorded long before 1970.
I’ve never heard any of the other Bad Habits 45s, but you know I’ll be looking for them now.
Hope you dig it.
Peace
Larry

UPDATE 12/19/07:

Bad Habits keyboardist Ronnie Plaisance left a bunch of additional information about the band and the recording of this 45 in the comments section. I thought it only fitting that I move it up to the main page.

My wife was messin around on google and found your link, and strangely enough, I was the original keyboardist for Debby and the Ladds, who became the Bad Habits when we signed with Paula Records back in 69 or 70′Bad Habits Paula Record Single Releases

Debby Folse was the female singer and boy could she and still can belt them out. Married now and performs locally.

The most informatative info I can offer is, that the guitarist Pershing Wells was just a kid when Nite Owl was recorded in Tyler , Texas, so Gene Kent the manager of the Bad Habits, had to call on the guitarist from Mouse and the Traps from Tyler to create the guitar solo. A little know fact…
I think his name is Bugs Henderson, who went on to much bigger things. check him out when you get a chance..Bugs came in and nailed that lead in two takes, and it was exactly want the producers wanted, as they sang most of it to him before recording.

I am currently working with the blue eyed soul revue, a group together over 30 years, who backs atrist such as Percy Sledge, Jimmy Clanton, Fats, and many more…on my space as blue eyed soul revue.

I was a young lad of 19 when all this fame hit us, and basically signed everything they asked me to, and just went along for the ride. Great oportunity and loads of fun and experience. I remained in the group the Bad Habits for a couple of years, then moved on.

The story that was given to us band members was that Paula records had two hits on the charts at the same time and had just enough money to promote one, which happened to be John Fred and the Playboys from Houma , La. with the tune Judy in Disquise with glasses, which was written about his sister who wore glasses. Our record had some success, but was not promoted to it’s full potential.
On another note, the members of our group were way against “bubble gum” commercial music and were asked to record Nite Owl as a flip side, never to be heard…LOL…We all were very serious musicians, who wanted more of a Chicago, or Blood, Sweat and tears, type audience…anyway…nite owl poped and off we rode in that direction.

Anyway hope this helps….”

 

327 Night Owl / It’s Been A Long Time Coming 1970

333 My Baby Specializes / Born On The Bayou 1970

342 I Don’t Wanna Discuss It / If The Whole World Stopped Loving 1971

353 Thank You For The Love / My Days Are Numbered 1971

*The Bad Habits guitarist Pershing Wells has an interesting web page. Check out the pics of him with Allen Toussaint, Oliver Morgan and Ernie K. Doe

About these ads

18 Responses to “Bad Habits – Night Owl”

  1. HeavySoulBruthaDaveB. Says:

    Great record. Thanks so much!!!

    Peace and SOUL,
    Dave…

  2. d.cook Says:

    Hi, Larry-

    Nice track by the Bad Habits, another lost soul gem worth discovering!

    Looks like these guys had Delaney and Bonnie’s second LP “Home” (2nd released, first recorded) . . . My Baby Specializes and I Don’t Want to Discuss It are both from it.

    The first of those is a Hayes/Porter write . . . and a great one. Also cut as a duet by William Bell and Judy Clay (original, I’d guess, but not sure). The british duo Gregson & Collister also cut it sometiime in the 80’s I think.

    Not that it much matters, but I’d say Delaney & Bonnie were def still a going concern in 1970. They had their only chart top 20 singles both in 1971; released final LP and broke up in 1972 (group and marriage).

    They are commonly assumed to have had little to no career outside the “friends” period w/Clapton, Mason, Harrison, et. al., but an objective listen to their catalog reveals quite the opposite. Much of their best work had nothing to do w/those guys . . . not sure Clapton would’ve had a solo career w/o Delaney Bramlett!

    dc

  3. funky16corners Says:

    DC
    When I said “well after they were a going concern”, I meant after they were already established, not already “done”. I suppose I should have worded that differently.
    Someday I’m going to have to a D&B post. They did the original ‘Dirty Old Man’ that was covered by Irene Reid, not to mention Delaney’s time with the Shindogs (along with one of my personal heroes Leon Russell).
    L

  4. John Lloyd Says:

    Larry,

    The Bobby Paris “Night Owl” is a different song. Very big on the UK northern scene 30+ years ago. A philly recording from Cameo Parkway.

    John.

  5. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks John.
    I was using a reference that suggested that the Paris record was the same song (or at least was written by someone with the same last name).
    Larry

  6. John Lloyd Says:

    Larry,

    Listening again lyricly similar, but not recognisable as the same song.

    I could be wrong on this, usually am.

    John.

  7. funky16corners Says:

    John
    There’s a New Orleans record that’s like that; ‘Funky Belly’ by Warren Lee. There’s a Mississippi funk 45, also called ‘Funky Belly’ by a guy named Larry Fpster, that has some of the same lyrics, is vaguely musically similar, but not really the same song. I know that there is NO WAY that I’m ever going to be able to get the full story, i.e. are they in any way connected? Did one guy hear the other? Is it a cover, but a really loose, re-interpreted cover? It KILLS Me.
    Larry

  8. Ronnie Plaisance Says:

    My wife was messin around on google and found your link, and strangely enough, I was the original keyboardist for Debby and the Ladds, who became the Bad Habits when we signed with Paula Records back in 69 or 70′

    Debby Folse was the female singer and boy could she and still can belt them out. Married now and performs locally.

    The most informatative info I can offer is, that the guitarist Pershing Wells was just a kid when Nite Owl was recorded in Tyler , Texas, so Gene Kent the manager of the Bad Habits, had to call on the guitarist from Mouse and the Traps from Tyler to create the guitar solo. A little know fact…
    I think his name is Bugs Henderson, who went on to much bigger things. check him out when you get a chance..Bugs came in and nailed that lead in two takes, and it was exactly want the producers wanted, as they sang most of it to him before recording.

    I am currently working with the blue eyed soul revue, a group together over 30 years, who backs atrist such as Percy Sledge, Jimmy Clanton, Fats, and many more…on my space as blue eyed soul revue.

    I was a young lad of 19 when all this fame hit us, and basically signed everything they asked me to, and just went along for the ride. Great oportunity and loads of fun and experience. I remained in the group the Bad Habits for a couple of years, then moved on.

    The story that was given to us band members was that Paula records had two hits on the charts at the same time and had just enough money to promote one, which happened to be John Fred and the Playboys from Houma , La. with the tune Judy in Disquise with glasses, which was written about his sister who wore glasses. Our record had some success, but was not promoted to it’s full potential.
    On another note, the members of our group were way against “bubble gum” commercial music and were asked to record Nite Owl as a flip side, never to be heard…LOL…We all were very serious musicians, who wanted more of a Chicago, or Blood, Sweat and tears, type audience…anyway…nite owl poped and off we rode in that direction.

    Anyway hope this helps….

  9. funky16corners Says:

    Ronnie
    Thanks for stopping by with all that additional info!
    I’m going to move your comment to the front page.
    Larry

  10. terry sprott Says:

    instantly recognisable as the same song as bobby paris

  11. Pershing Wells Says:

    I just found this post.

    Around the late nineties I got a note from Delaney Bramletts web master regarding “It’s Been a Long Time Coming”. It appears the rumors had got to him that maybe Delaney and Bonnie cut the track under a different name. Of course Delaney Bramlett new it wasn’t true but…

    What Ronnie Plaisance states is true (he was the keyboardist in the band). I was the guitarist on the record- until the solos. I remember it being a long day (like 14 hours). I was a kid of 17. Gene Kent and Robin Hood Bryan were trying to give me suggestions for a solo but I caved… He called two cats in. The first guy didn’t make it. The last guy (from Mouse and the Traps) nailed the frickin’ solo! (I think some folks thought it was Clapton…)

    We all believed “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was going to be the “A” side. But a DJ in New Orleans played “Night Owl” and that became the “A” side. I remember the record as a “Regional Breakthrough” in Billboard but I don’t know that it charted in the top 200.

    Nowadays I’m a producer and have been in contact with Robin Hood Bryan. This guy should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

    Pershing Wells
    Houma, LA

  12. John Dowd Says:

    My name is John Dowd and I was the first guitarist to play with Debbie and the Ladds. One of my first jobs with them was opening for the Who and Herman’s Hermits in their US summer tour on July 26th 1968 at Redemptorist High School stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. All the bands (except Herman’s hermits)on the bill got ready in the football teams locker room and it was a real gas talking to all the members of the Who and Blues Magoos(they had electric plastic outfits with lighted round discs that were battery operated and they were having heat strokes in Louisiana in July!). It was awesome seeing Pete Townsend smashing his Les Paul Jr. to smithereens. This band won a recording contract with Montel Records( This label first recorded johnny Rivers and was located in a banana and fruit warehouse in Baton Rouge) by winning the Louisiana Battle of the bands. These were some really fun times! Regards, John Dowd

  13. Gordon Says:

    A group called “The Pietasters” recorded a version of “NIght Owl” that sounds very much like the classic by The Bad Habits. I remember this song being played by Larry Ryan on KEEL Radio in Shreveport while I was a student at Centenary College.
    Is “Night Owl” by the Bad Habits available anywhere on CD or iTunes?

  14. Clay Says:

    Another item for the Bad Habits discography:

    Louie Louie/Touch The Sun Paula 374 1973?

  15. Ed Bangs Says:

    Hi, i have a 45 by “The Bad Habits” Scepter 12126. 66′
    Hook Nose and Wooden Leg (P.Jordan, J. Rhodes)
    Don’t Take My Love Away (J.Rhodes-Scott)

    Is this an early single or totally other group, both sides have a Newbeats style with female background singer(s) . The main reason it may be related is both sides Crazy Cajun Music and Produced by Huey P. Meaux who was a legendary producer from Texas/Louisiana area.

  16. Nick Pratt Says:

    Hey ! My name is Nick Pratt. I was the bass player for who I’ll call ” Bad Habits 2″ for the purpose of this letter. I recorded with the band on Touch the Sun, Louie Louie ( that song was supposed to be a joke we pulled late one night in the studio), Bad Winds and Images: The City, all on the Paula label. Rick Folse, our sax player was the only original member of the old band, as I recall. I always wanted his sister to come sit in with us…and it was a running joke whether he even had a sister. But I do think Debbie was indeed his sister.

    If you’ll listen to the lead vocals on Bad Winds, you’ll hear Ron DiIulio ( now playing with Crawfish in Fort Worth) sounding like a kid….or a chipmunk. We used a vari speed on his voice to smooth it out…because according to Gene Kent, that’s what was selling. Personally, I never liked the chipmunk vocal sound.

    I noticed you listed Paula #353 “Thank you for the love” and “My days are numbered” above. Those songs were also recorded by “Bad Habits 2″…with Sonny Williams on bass. I replaced Sonny on bass..even though I played guitar, Bob Fell was miles ahead of me back in those days. I no longer play for a living. Once in a while I’ll sit in with Ron, or my high school friend, Buddy Flett of the Bluebirds.
    Buddy and I’ have talked about recording some stuff together, and I suspect we will in the next year or so.

    I have more detail if you want, but now I’m a little sleepy. Maybe one day the entire lineage of the Bad Habits can all meet. ( and beat the crap out of Gene Kent!). Just Kidding Gene…we love ya.

  17. jesse smith(aka gary upchurch) Says:

    i keep running across porter jordans name, lots of people knew him. shurely some body knows what hapened to him , or where he is. just a lead is all i need..oops there is a song title. its yours free. i need to find porter. he dont know it but hes lost. please e-mail me..jesse smith smapshot@citcom.net

  18. jesse smith(aka gary upchurch) Says:

    i made a mistake in my e-mail it should read snapshot@citcom.net

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 112 other followers

%d bloggers like this: