Dan Hicks

Alive & Lickin'

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After the constant joy and flood of creativity Dan Hicks expressed in Beatin' the Heat, his previous release, it would be difficult to return with a stronger effort. This live set, recorded during the subsequent touring of Beatin' the Heat, doesn't quite hit you over the head with great new songs, but rather keeps you entertained with live versions of Hicks favorites like "Where the Money?" and "Shootin' Straight," as well as the gem "My Cello." The disc's greatest strength, though, comes between the songs, when Hicks' wacky personality shines. His song introductions are so entertaining in their own right that sometimes it almost sounds as if the music is a letdown. After the opening track, he sings a short version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" with twisted lyrics about missing the toilet and cleaning up with a toothbrush, "Don't Brush My Teeth Much Anymore." Later, before "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?," he jokes about how he's been performing the song for years. "This marks the four-billionth time I've done this one," he says as the audience erupts in laughter. His jokes aren't limited to between the songs, though. He also inserts silly but cool one-liners in between sung lines. But don't get the impression that the disc's only value comes in Hick's oddball banter. The music, like all his records with the Hot Licks, is played by top-notch instrumentalists, mixing equal parts Django-inspired jazz with jug band and folk traditions.

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