15 April 2014 (released)
15 April 2014
At the very outset of the San Francisco scene back in the early ‘60’s was a legendary band called The Charlatans. They predated the likes of the Jefferson Airplane or Quicksilver Messenger Service or even the Grateful Dead but it is not unreasonable to say that they were the progenitors of that scene.
After their short but brilliant life they broke up and out of the wreckage came the rather wonderful Dan Hicks, later to form his Hot Licks.
Describing the music of Dan Hicks is not easy. He seems to cross many boundaries – roots, western swing, country, even jazz – but the music is always smooth and hearty, easy to listen to but so, so rewarding if listened to in depth.
This album was originally released in 1968 and features Sid Page on violin, who had replaced David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day fame, Sherry Snow & Christine Gancher (The Lickettes) on vocals and Jon Weber (guitar) and Jaime Leopold on bass.
This music that has its heart in the 50’s diners and Saturday night dances rather than the sprawling San Francisco hippy scene. The Lickettes “Ooooh ooooh-ing” and Sid Page’s swing style fiddle putting the sound somewhere in the mid-west while the brushed drums soften the sound and the rhythms plod on beautifully at a clip clop pace.
Hicks himself offers some fine vocals along with some remarkable yodelling and the songs seem to have the humour and wry charm that was missing from most of his contemporaries. The album includes two of his most endearing numbers - 'Milk Shake Moma' & 'I Scare Myself' but it is all good.
Needless to say. He hasn’t gotten rich on the back of this music but I have never mat anyone who heard it and didn’t pick up on its gentle delights.
A very welcome reissue – simply lovely.