Too Many Bad Habits

This is a self-produced reissue of Johnny Nicholas’ 1977 Blind Pig LP, Too Many Bad Habits, with an additional 12 tracks on a second CD. Now 69, the Rhode Island native wound up playing guitar in various bands with several musicians later associated with Roomful of Blues before working with bluesmen like the late Johnny Shines and Big Walter Horton, who have major roles here. There’s an agreeable old-timey flavor on these 26 tracks that’s due to their focus on older blues with Nicholas’ 15 songs (including the title track) also in that groove. Things get off to a lively start with Nicholas playing mandolin on—what else?—“Mandolin Boogie,” with some solid help from some Asleep at the Wheel members. Guitarist Shines and harmonicist Horton, who also wrote some songs, join Nicholas—whose piano and vocals are more than adequate to the task he’s set himself—on several selections. This is a delightful document of a vanished era. A lot of great photos of all involved are printed on the inside covers, too.