There were two almost completely unrelated groups that released records on the Paula label as the Bad Habits. The first group were originally known as Debbie and the Lads, and members included Debbie Folse on vocals, Pershing Wells on guitar and Ronnie Plaisance on keyboards. They had one 45 that I know of under this name, “Dear Lord Above” / The Man Who Comes Around” on the Ladd label out of Raceland, though the label spells her name Debbie Falls.
An oft-repeated rumor has it that Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett were the Bad Habits under a different name, but this is wrong. There are two likely reasons for the rumor: the first lineup of the Bad Habits covered two Delaney and Bonnie songs, and a there is some similarity in vocal style between Debbie Folse and Bonnie Bramlett.
You can read about the first lineup of the Bad Habits at Funky 16 Corners.
After three singles with some light chart action this group disbanded and their producer Gene Kent handed the name to the remaining members of the Group (Noel Odom and the Group), who had recorded three 45s for the Tower and Uptown labels.
Noel Odom was no longer in the band by the time they became the Bad Habits, but their first 45 included one of his compositions, “Thank You for the Love”. Vocals were now handled by Ron DiIulio, who also took over as principal songwriter and producer for the band. Ron wrote “Images: The City”, the b-side to their second record and co-wrote “Touch the Sun” with Jack Russell.
Fred Engelke talked to me about their time as the second lineup of the Bad Habits:
After Noel left and joined the Navy we became an 8 then 7 piece band called The Bad Habits and recorded three records on the Paula/Jewel label. We picked up the name when Gene Kent began managing us.
The Bad Habits were anchored by members of the old Group: Bob Fell on guitar, Ron DiIulio on keyboard, I on drums, and Sonny Williams on bass. Later Sonny left the band and was replaced by Nick Pratt on bass. We added horns; sax, trombone, and two trumpets and later went to trombone and two trumpets. The sax player was Rick Folse (I don’t know if there is a relation). Rick was actually a member of the original Bad Habits. He stayed with the group for maybe a year and then moved back to Cutoff, La. and became a disk jockey.
You may have noticed the high pitch of the lead singer on The Bad Habit’s “Bad Wind” and “Thank You For The Love”. The same person (Ron DiIulio) sang the lead on both sides of each record. We got the higher pitch by recording the track in one key and the slowing the tape down to a lower key to record the vocals and the returning the tape to the original speed to master the record. On “Bad Wind” the drums (at least the fills) were recorded in an echo chamber at the studio to get the “big” sound. On “Images: The City” there are so many changes that during the session I would forget what came next. So after SEVERAL attempts at getting all the way through it, we would just start somewhere before the place I screwed up and continue on. Later we spliced everything together.
Touch the Sun was the b-side of our last record “Louie Louie”. We (at least I) were pretty frustrated with the music business because we kept trying to put out what we thought were good songs but they were going nowhere. So we did Louie Louie (we had our own take on it) because it was always a big hit when we played at dances. I actually liked “Touch the Sun” better.
Thank you to Fred Engelke for his help with this article.
Bad Habits 45s on Paula
1st group (with Debbie Folse):
Paula 327 – Night Owl / It’s Been A Long Time Coming (1970)
Paula 333 – My Baby Specializes / Born On The Bayou (1970)
Paula 342 – I Don’t Wanna Discuss It / If The Whole World Stopped Loving (1971)
Paula 353 – Thank You For The Love / My Days Are Numbered (1971)
Paula 370 – Bad Wind / Images: The City (1972)
Paula 374 – Touch the Sun / Louie, Louie (1972)