Dan Hicks - vocals, rhythm guitar; John L. Girton - lead guitar; Sid Page - violin; Maryann Price - vocals, rhythm instruments; Jaime Leopold - string bass; Naomi Ruth Eisenberg - vocals, second fiddle, rhythm instruments
Departing the seminal San Francisco band, The Charlatans, Dan Hicks was a true original who pursued a distinctly different path, veering away from the electric psychadelic music then at its prime in 1968. Instead, Hicks recruited some of the most talented acoustic musicians and female vocalists (aka The Lickettes) in the Bay Area and began Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks. Following a few years of practice, performing, and personnel changes, Hicks settled on the classic lineup, releasing several memorable albums on the Blue Thumb label featuring an eccentric blend of folk, country and old time parlor music fused with Hicks' often absurd sense of humor. This benefit concert for the California Marijuana Initiative featured Copperhead, Stoneground, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks and Hot Tuna. Originally simulcast on local radio, this excerpt from the Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks performance captures the most beloved lineup in their prime.
This set was recorded around the time the group's Striking It Rich album was released, and includes several new songs from the project. The band was at the peak of their creativity in 1972, with Hicks encouraging the other band members to step it up musically. Fine examples are guitarist John Girton's bouncy instrumental, "Fujiyama," and Naomi Ruth Eisenberg's work fronting the group on "Presently In The Past."
Also featured are two classic early Hicks songs, "Milk Shakin' Mama" and the irresistible "How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away." The highlight of the set however, has to be the spacey, elongated version of Hicks' best known song, "I Scare Myself," later to become an international hit in the hands of Thomas "She Blinded Me By Science" Dolby.
What's here is very enjoyable and captures the band in their most memorable lineup. Radically different and totally out of context with the times, Hick's acoustic music has aged well and still sounds fresh today.