Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

Originally posted on August 5, 2008

Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks had some success in the late ‘60s following in the wake of Kweskin’s Jugband and a music world flirtation with the music of the ‘20s (the latter with some perhaps ill-advised hits like “Winchester Cathedral” and “Little White Lies.”) Hicks had a casually irreverent, humorous delivery that had charm. A couple years ago he made a comeback disk (Selected Shorts) (Surfdog) and it’s pretty cool.

First of all, something I didn’t notice in the early records, he plays a mean archtop acoustic-electric, sounding a little like Django. He has sound and facility. The tunes are done laconically and with irony by Hicks and his tongue-in-cheek backup vocalists. It is mostly contemporary material in a kind of swing-string band ‘30s style. Selected Shorts is the sort of disk that lifts the mood. I hope he records again soon. He is at the top of his creative powers and a real pleasure to hear.

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