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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Johnny Nicholas & Friends - Too Many Bad Habits - New release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Too Many Bad Habits, by Johnny Nicholas & Friends and it solid hard core blues. This 2 disc masterpiece opens with Mandolin Boogie featuring Johnny Nicholas on mandolin, piano and vocal, Link Davis jr. on tenor sax, Bill Marbry on fiddle, Ray Benson on guitar, Tony Garnier on string bass and Lucky Oceans on drums. On Looks Can Be Deceivin', Nicholas teams up with Martin Gross on drums and E. P. Jones bass. Very nice. On a strong arrangement of Walter Vinson's Sitting On Top Of The World, Nicholas plays top notch piano riffs and with a sax solo by Davis, this is a super track. Another cool track is Rock My Blues Away with a standard 12 bar format but hot piano riffs and also featuring Nicholas on lead guitar. Big Walter Horton on harp and Johnny Shines sit in on Blues Walk, a crisp instrumental. Nicholas also covers Mr Son House's Grinnin' In Your Face, one of my all time favorite songs. Very nice job a capella. Big Walter joins Nicholas on Tommy Johnson's The New Canned Heat Blues. Another great track with particularly expressive vocals. Big Walter takes the lead on vocal and harp on West Wind, a real gem. Johnny Shines takes the lead on guitar and vocal on Blues Came Fallin' Down playing slide like only he can. Excellent! Gettin' Outta Town is a great boogie with Nicholas on acoustic guitar and Horton on harp. Very cool. Wrapping side one is Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Trail with Nicholas on lead vocal and guitar, Shines on lead guitar, Big Walter on harp and Martin Gross on drums. Masterful.

Disc 2 opens with Move On Down The Line with Shines and Horton, Shines on lead guitar and Horton playing harp and sharing vocal with Nicholas. Prisoner Blues is a terrific track particularly because of Nicholas' primal vocals, floating on a cloud of Shines' lead guitar and Horton's harp. Excellent! Big Boy Crudup's That's Alright Mamma features Nicholas on wailing vocals and slide with only Gross on drums. Very effective. With Boogie Woogie Red on piano and vocal and Horton on harp, Hootie Blues is stellar. Twelve bar, Money, Marbles and Chalk  is another great track with Nicholas on lead vocal, Shines on lead guitar, Horton on harp and Gross on drums. Very nice. Wrapping the release is James Oden's Soon Forgotten with Boogie Woogie red on piano, Horton on harp and Nicholas on guitar and vocal. This is an excellent release which is literally packed full of intense blues. Beautiful!



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