Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: Dan Hicks- Crazy For Christmas

Video trailer for Crazy For Christmas

Burl Ives on acid. That was my first thought when I heard "Carol of the Bells" on Crazy For Christmas, the new holiday album by Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks.

Longtime fans of Hicks' unholy combination of Mose Allison, Django Reinhardt and Frank Zappa already know what to expect. Hicks applies his brand of hillbilly jazz to a mix of standards and originals. He couldn't resist stabs at "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Run Run Rudolph." "Santa Gotta Choo Choo" is a rewrite of "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie." The most rewarding material, however, are new songs including "I've Got Christmas By the Tail" and "Santa's Workshop." "C'mon boys," Hicks croons on the chorus of the latter song. "Gotta make about a million toys!"

The album is so good that I've actually enjoyed listening to it in October. It's made me speculate about why Hicks hasn't found a Tom Waits-style following among younger indie rockers. I suppose Hicks' irrepressible glee doesn't resonate with that set. It's their loss. Live footage from 1972 encapsulates Hicks' exquisitely wry sensibility.

I don't anticipate hearing Crazy For Christmas while grocery shopping this December, but it's easily the equal of similarly weird Christmas albums by Bob Dylan and Leon Redbone. At the There Stands the Glass compound, Crazy For Christmas has caused the holiday season to start two months early.

I can't help but think of Ron Rooks, the late proprietor of the Music Exchange, as I listen to Dan Hicks. Ron sure could be a pain, but I miss him.

My favorite song of the moment is 55 years old.

Kansas City Click: Eli "Paperboy" Reed opens for Guster Wednesday at the Beaumont Club.

The Uptown Theater hosts Band of Horses Thursday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)


Anonymous said...

Been a fan of Dan Hicks & Hot Licks since "Strikin' It Rich" - a must-have album.

A few years back the band played here in Aberdeen, Scotland and I got to speak with Dan, some of the band and one of the Lickettes. They were treeeeeeemendous live - can't rate their show highly enough.

Thankyou for posting the video link - an early Christmas treat.

bgo said...

Paperboy should be headlining and the venue lined up around the corner in anticipation.

Love Dan Hicks. Miss Ron too. He invades my dreams often. Bizarre. And scary too.

Happy In Bag said...

Thanks for checking from Aberdeen, Anon.

My dreams have been similarly surreal of late, BGO.