By Greg Haymes
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
No question about it – Dan Hicks was the walkin’ one and only.
He was a ham on wry kind of guy. A hepcat with a heart of gold. A romantic who was quick with a sarcastic putdown. A folkie with swing on his brain. Back in the 1970s when Hicks was leading the Hot Licks, he was the hippest of the hipsters, whipping off sensational albums like Striking It Rich and Where’s the Money?
Dan Hicks died on Saturday (February 6), following a lengthy battle with liver cancer. He was 74 years old.
Even back in their heyday, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks were obviously caught up in some kind of time warp. While bands like Foreigner, Foghat and Frampton were clogging up the airwaves in the ’70s, Hicks forged a wickedly witty hybrid of Django Reinhardt’s Gypsy jazz, Jim Kweskin’s jug band jams, Mose Allison’s sardonic jazz, Bob Wills’ western swing and Cab Calloway’s jumpin’ jive.