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Dan Hicks has issued a call to the faithful.

Music Review: Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks – Tangled Tales

Dan Hicks has sent out a call to the faithful, the quirky, the unusual, and the eclectic to gather as he will be releasing a new album. His Tangled Tales will see the light of day on March 24th.

Dan Hicks career extends back to the San Francisco folk movement in 1959. The years 1965-1968 found him as a member of the influential psychedelic rock group, The Charlatans. Leaving that group in 1968 he formed his first incarnation of The Hot Licks. They released a number of well received albums culminating in the brilliant Last Train To Hicksville in 1973. Hicks even managed to land himself on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine not once but twice. At the height of the bands popularity, he disbanded it.

He continued to perform as a solo artist and with his new group The Acoustic Warriors. In 2000 he reformed the Hot Licks and this is their fifth album release. He has surrounded himself with a stellar cast of musicians. Mandolin player David Grisman, harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musslewhite, slide guitarist Roy Rogers, bluegrass violin player Richard Green, and swing guitarist Bruce Forman are all on board.

His music has been labeled as outlaw country swing. I would call it psychotic country swing, and I say that with reverence. The instrumentals harp back to the era and style of Bob Wills but the staccato paced lyrics are irreverent, witty, dry, odd, and some of the best that are currently being written.

There are eight new original compositions plus four covers and all are presented in typical Dan Hicks fashion. His vocals are in fine shape and he continues to perform with two female vocalists as in his classic releases of the past. “Who Are You?” features an accordion sound and a shuffle beat. “The Diplomat,” provides interplay between the fiddles and acoustic guitar plus some of the humorous lyrics that he is famous for. “Blues My Naughty Baby” is my particular favorite as women, swimming, no bathing suits, and liquor all form the basis of the story. He even throws in some scat singing for good measure.

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks have an original sound. It may be quirky at first listen but there is an underlying brilliance to it all. Any new material by him is always welcome and you can be sure not only of a good listening experience but some having fun along the way. Come join the faithful.  

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