The first time I heard Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks happened back in the early seventies. From that point, I was totally hooked, playing the life right out of his albums. Hoping that someday I'd get a chance to see them in concert. Well, here it is the twenty-first century, and I finally got the next best thing, the newly released album by Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks called, "Alive & Lickin'"(2001 Surfdog). A live performance that was recorded earlier this year, while on their 2001 U.S. Tour. This is the first live album recorded by Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, since the album "Where's The Money" was released back in 1971.
I'm not a big fan of "live" recordings, there's either too much crowd noise, or too many long drawn out solos, which in my opinion, it takes away from the music itself. You won't find any of that here with "Alive & Lickin'", the sound quality is sharp and clear, as if your at a club and sitting at a front table. Any buzz from the crowd, is part of the banter and audience participation that makes a Hicks concert so special.
This new album is laced throughout with witty observations and the driest of humor that Hicks is famous for. The music itself, is a mix of the old favorites, "How Can I Miss You, When You Won't Go Away?"(yodel along), "I Feel Like Singin'", and new tunes like, "Wild About My Lovin'". The strength of this new album, like all the others before, comes from their unique styling. A blending of jazz with country, ragtime with doo-wop, Swing with honky-tonk, and folk with blues, resulting in a smoothly delicious, toe-tapping good time.
For those of you who have recently discovered Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, I highly recommend "Alive & Lickin'"(2001 Surfdog), it has the best of both past and present. To all his long-time fans, this album is a "must have" for adding to your collection. "Alive & Lickin'", is a perfect follow up to last years very successful, "Beat The Heat" album. Until the day I actually get to see them in concert, I'm sure to wear the life right out of this album too.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Pamela L. Dow, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.