Dan Hicks

Throughout his decades-long career, Dan Hicks stood as one of contemporary music's true eccentrics. While steeped in folk, his acoustic sound knew few musical boundaries, drawing on country, call-and-response vocals, jazz phrasing and no small amount of humor to create a distinctive, albeit sporadic, body of work which earned him a devoted cult following.

Hicks was born December 9, 1941 to a military family then living in Arkansas, and grew up in California, where he was a drummer in a number of high school bands. He attended college in San Francisco, where he switched to guitar and began playing folk music. He returned to the drums, however, when he joined the Charlatans, one of the Bay City's first psychedelic bands. Although the Charlatans were short-lived -- they issued only one single during their existence -- they proved influential throughout the San Francisco musical community, and were one of the first acts the play the legendary Family Dog.

Hicks had formed the acoustic group Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks in 1968 as an opener for the Charlatans, but soon the new band became his primary project. After adding a pair of female backing vocalists -- "the Lickettes" -- the group issued its debut LP Original Recordings in 1969. After a pair of 1971 records, Where's the Money? and Striking It Rich , they issued 1973's Last Train to Hicksville , which proved to be the Hot Licks most successful album yet.

At the peak of the group's popularity, however, Hicks dissolved the band, and did not resurface until 1978, releasing the solo LP It Happened One Bite , the soundtrack to an uncompleted feature by animator Ralph Bakshi. He then phased in and out of the music industry for more than a decade, and did not issue another major recording until 1994's Shootin' Straight , a live recording cut with a new band, the Acoustic Warriors.

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