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Saturday Matinee – Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

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Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks had an unusual sound for a band based in San Francisco at the peak of the psychedelic music era. From an obit in the New York Times 7 February 2016:

“He came to call his music “folk swing,” but that only hinted at the range of influences he synthesized. He drew from the American folk tradition but also from the Gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, the Western swing of Bob Wills, the harmony vocals of the Andrews Sisters, the raucous humor of Fats Waller and numerous other sources.”

Hicks was still performing up until his demise at the age of 74.

THAT is the prettiest (and only) cover of Tom Waits‘ classic “The Piano Has Been Drinking” I’ve ever heard. The backup vocals are sultry, and note the subtle hat-tip at about 03:00.

Have a great weekend folks, and a long one if you’re taking advantage of a mid-week Independence Day.

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10 Responses to “Saturday Matinee – Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks”

  1. wheels Says:

    I saw them in 1980 or 1981. I was stationed on Antigua, and they were doing a USO tour. They played a song I’ve not run across since, which had a call and response in the chorus of “Don’t touch that wine/Pass me that bottle.” Now I’m going to have to look for that.

  2. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Wheels– There was a late night college radio show I listened to in the late 70s that played a great eclectic mix. That’s where I heard George Clinton’s “Maggot Brain,” Ken Nordine’s “Flibberty Jib,” Stephane Grapelli’s & David Grisman’s “Sweet Georgia Brown” and Dan Hick’s “Crazy Cuzzy Iz.”

  3. wheels Says:

    Back in the mid-70s, when I was going through nuclear power school in Vallejo, there was a late-night show on KSAN (more recently a classical station, but then an “underground” FM station) that played all sorts of strange things on Sunday nights.

    I remember one night listening to about 45 minutes of synthesized babbling brook noise.

  4. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Wheels– Sounds like the Environments series. My gramma got a copy for donating to The Audobon Society and gave it to me.
    Side 1: The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore
    Side 2: Optimum Aviary
    Side one was all seagulls and crashing waves, but side two was better. Papa Strutts had a Heath Kit turntable that could play 78, 45, 33 and 17 rpm records. Slowing the birds down to 17 rpm made the bird calls really creepy. I loved it.

  5. wheels Says:

    When I was a kid, the song “Quiet Village” (the Les Baxter version of the Martin Denny song) had the creepy animal noises for my and my siblings.

  6. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Wheels– The cocktail hour music mix was big in our house as well. We had Les Elgart AND Martin Denny. There was another album that we had to listen to: “Ports of Paradise.”

  7. wheels Says:

    I can remember hanging around at the top of the stairs when my parents were hosting a cocktail party. I’d have been around 9 or 10, probably.

    I used to have some of my dad’s old LPs. Got rid of almost all my LPs a while back, though. The one I remember, for the cover rather than any of the songs, was by Gogi Grant, and was just a closeup of a woman’s eyes.

  8. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Wheels– Had to google Gogi, only recognized one of her songs, “The Wayward Wind.” Here’s the album cover you mentioned:

  9. wheels Says:

    That’s the one. I remember the song, too, now that you’ve reminded me.

  10. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Wheels– I was a kid when I first heard “The Wayward Wind.” Thought it referred to a fart.

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