Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks
The Most of Dan Hicks
Review by Steven Stone
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CD Stock Number: Sony Music CK 65481
For most of my generation Dan Hicks was our first exposure to swing music
that was anywhere near cool enough to be palatable. That he could slip into progressive rock radio stations' playlists surrounded by the likes of Led
Zeppelin and Cream is a tribute to the zany power of his music. While most of
his contemporaries have become the domain of musical triviacologists and "Classic Rock' dinosaur-worshippers, Hick's music is as fresh and exciting
today as the day it was released.
Sony's Legacy division had a tough time bringing "The Most Of…" to completion. According to compellation producer Al
Quaglieri, some of the
original mixdown tapes were so badly damaged in 1991 that the five cuts from
Hick's first Epic album had to be remixed from the eight-track session masters. Personally I prefer these remixes, as they have a particular clarity
and added inner detail that the original releases lack. Hick's masterpiece "I
Scare Myself" has much greater power because the dynamics and intricacies of
the mix are easier to hear.
Along with nine selections from his first release Dan Hicks & His Hot
Licks, Most of... has seven unreleased original versions of songs that
subsequently found their way to later albums. Hick's original band included Sid Page on Violin, Jon Weber playing guitar, Jaimie Leopold on stand-up
acoustic bass, and Sherry Snow and Tina Gancher as back-up vocalists. Their command of this new-old music has been equaled by modern groups like the Hot
Band of Cowtown, but no one has surpassed their ability to swing with both passion and control.
Some "best of" releases are all about nostalgia and remembering an era long past. Dan Hick's
The Most of... is different. Instead of a trip down memory lane, it is about rediscovery. Dan Hick's music is timelessly hip and
obscenely infectious. You will definitely still be regularly listening to this CD twenty years down the road.
Sound Quality: 85