1972 Case File #1.

Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, Striking It Rich

File Between: Leon Redbone and Commander Cody

Comments: There aren’t many records in my collection more anachronistic than this one. Well, kind of. Dan Hicks is definitely a post-hippie songwriter, but his sound is western swing instrumentation and jazz composition in a Django Reinhardt vein. The Hot Licks are an upright bass player, a fiddle player, a rhythm guitarist (Hicks himself plays nice electric solos in the Chet Atkins tradition), and two female singers who harmonize like a couple of Andrews Sisters and add in the occasional tambourine or maraca. Probably the most famous song here is “I Scare Myself,” a ghostly nightclub number which Thomas Dolby covered in the 1980s (yeah, okay, that’s a weird definition of fame). But the whole record’s great, a country-jazz date with gypsy overtones, folk-rock with chops, a Zevonish sense of humor, and plenty of breakdowns.

A Keeper? You bet. I’m not sure I feel the need to investigate his other work, but this is a fantastic record.

Vinyl Rip: Moody Richard

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