Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dan Hicks, 1941-2016, R.I.P.

I was as surprised as anything to read in The New York Times that Dan Hicks had died at age 74. I was mainly surprised because they knew enough about him to write his obituary.

I've mentioned before that I spent a lot of nights watching late-night television as I was growing up. Most of that late-night television watching consisted of talk shows, such as Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Joey Bishop, and the like. 

One night on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show -- I was about fourteen or fifteen -- Johnny introduced an act whose latest LP was designed to look like a matchbook cover. The album was appropriately entitled "Striking It Rich." 

With that, a group called Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks took the stage, and played two songs, if I recall correctly: "Walkin' One and Only" and "I Scare Myself."

To quote from The New York Times, "Mr. Hicks began performing with his band, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, in the late 1960s in San Francisco, where psychedelic rock bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead dominated the music sound. The Hot Licks’ sound could not have been more different.

"At a time when rock was getting louder and more aggressive, Mr. Hicks’s instrumentation — two guitars (Mr. Hicks played rhythm), violin and stand-up bass, with two women providing harmony and backup vocals — offered a laid-back, all-acoustic alternative that was a throwback to a simpler time, while his lyrics gave the music a modern, slightly askew edge."

Personally, I was hooked. (I also enjoyed another Hicks song, the brilliantly-titled "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?") And I was, as I stated above, surprised -- and saddened -- to have learned today of Mr. Hicks' February 6th passing.

I strongly suggest you go to YouTube and give his music -- music which he called "folk swing" -- a listen. For some reason, I can't embed any videos here!

He'll be missed.

Thanks for your time.


  1. Never heard of him, I'll have to give youtube a go.

  2. I'll try to check him out. Thanks for making me aware of him.


    1. Anyone who can appreciate someone who's outside the mainstream should like him, at least a little.

  3. I am a huge Hicks fan, and have been since the '60s. We're losing far too many of the people who provided the soundtrack of our lives already this year. We're getting old, David, and this is one of the prices of aging. ((sigh))

    1. So true. 2016 seems extremely hard on musicians already. And what's worse is that I'm approaching the age range at which these icons are dying.

  4. Did you try inserting the embed code directly into the HTML? This is the way I have been doing it after discovering a few years back that the video button on the compose toolbar did not always work right. Inserting the code directly is really easy, and I can walk you through it in a few steps. Oh, and I will check out his music when I can (probably sometime tomorrow).

    1. Yep, I put the code right into the HTML, but it still didn't work. That's the way I've been doing it since finding out what you did: that the video button doesn't always work. Thanks for your input, though. I often need little hints like that. Heh. And I hope you have the chance to check out his music. Your tastes are varied enough so that I think you'd like him.

    2. Hmm, I wonder what is going on with your embedding trouble. I sure hope it is resolved much sooner than later. Anyway, I checked out Dan Hicks, and I did enjoy it. His music reminds me somewhat of Asleep at the Wheel and a more countrified version of The Grateful Dead. I couldn't figure out what he audience was reacting/cracking up to in the video I watched, though. Maybe the host was trying to dance to the music out of camera range?



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