When the legendary Elvis Costello is quoted as saying, “Dan Hicks is an American Treasure,” that is some serious street cred.
From 1965 to his death in 2016, singer/songwriter Dan Hicks entertained his fans with a unique blend of folk mixed with jazz, blues, country, and a whole lot of humor.
A military brat, Hicks took up the drums in high school and switched to guitar when he entered college in San Francisco. After toiling around in bands, Hicks set out on his own in 1968 with his band Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, with backup singers “the Lickettes.” Hicks released his debut album in 1969 and since then has released over 20 more.
Earlier this year, Surfdog records honored the genre-bending musician on the first anniversary of his death with the 12-song compilation ‘Greatest Licks – I Feel Like Singin.’ Opening track “Strike It While It’s Hot!” showcases just how clever of a songwriter Hicks was with his rapid-fire phrasing, and “I Scare Myself” showcases his tender side. In addition to the solid collection of studio tracks are a few live offerings: “Where’s the Money?,” “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?,” and the Tom Waits penned “The Piano Has Been Drinkin,’” all of which show just how interactive Hicks was with his fans and how funny his dry sense of humor was.
On a personal note, six months after Innocent Words was formed, one of the first companies to send us promo materials was Surfdog Records. The first CD they sent was Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks ‘Alive & Lickin’.’ For that, we always have been grateful for Surfdog introducing us to the genius of Mr. Hicks.