Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks – Tangled Tales – Surfdog Records
Published on November 5, 2009
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks – Tangled Tales – Surfdog Records 2-517618 **** [www.surfdog.com]:
(Dan Hicks – vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion; Daria – vocals; Dave Bell – lead and rhythm guitar; Paul Smith – bass; Dave Grisman – mandolin on 2 tracks; Richard Greene – violin on 3 tracks; Roy Rogers – slide guitar on 2 tracks; Bruce Forman – guitar on 2 tracks; Charlie Musselwhite – harmonica on 2 tracks; John Hunter – strings; & others)
Dan Hicks is at it again, creating a light-hearted fun album of jazzy vocals in the style of Jack Sheldon, Cab Calloway, and Fats Waller, with a bit of countrified whimsey plus up-to-date references. He has the help of plenty of top musician friends in the Hot Licks who live up to their fame, including a couple of back-up female vocalists who do a fine Raylettes trip. Hicks’ humor is illustrated in his liner notes saying how proud he is of his title tune, and especially the chorus – which masters the art of lyric writing – in which he takes great pride: it goes: “Bah bey bah-deet dot doody-doot doot dee etc….”
Hicks updates the hoary Ragtime Cowboy Joe, enunciates Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues so I finally hear the lyrics (though am no wiser), and proves it’s not all in jest with a touching version of Horace Silver’s Song for my Father. While recorded in Sausalito, the CD was mixed at Capitol in Hollywood, probably in the same place trumpeter Jack Sheldon recorded his hilarious vocals. If you can get past the ugly cover art, this is a winner CD.
TrackList: Who Are You?, The Diplomat, Savin’ My Lovin,’ The Blues My Naughty Baby Gave to Me, Song for my Father, The Rounder, 13-D, Ragtime Cowboy Joe, A Magician, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Tangled Tales, Let It Simmer!
– John Henry