The core of this CD is an album that Dan cut in 1968 whilst still in the Charlatans and pre the Hot Licks. David La Flamme guests on his way to It's A Beautiful Day. Aficionados will love this, but it also makes a great introduction to the idiosyncratic, walkin', talkin' one and only Dan Hicks.
Muse - n., the spirit regarded as inspiring a poet or artist . . .
Following on the heels of 1996's acclaimed Charlatans package THE AMAZING CHARLATANS (CDWIKD138), Big Beat is proud to present a further volume in the 'Nuggets From The Golden State' series featuring twenty previously unissued performances by the Charlatans' pre-eminent songwriter, the walkin' talkin' one and only Dan Hicks.
EARLY MUSES consists of recordings made by Dan at the "pre-dawn" of the Hot Licks' formation in late 1967-early 1968. The bulk of the CD is an unissued publishing demo album taped in October 1967 and produced by the Kingston Trio's Nick Reynolds, principally to pitch Dan's tunes to other artists, but also to represent himself as a solo act (Dan was still in the Charlatans at this time). He's accompanied on most of the thirteen studio tracks by Jaime Leopold on bass and David LaFlamme on violin, so in effect this is the never-before-heard embryonic Hot Licks - in fact LaFlamme never officially recorded with the Hot Licks, instead leaving shortly after these sessions to form It's A Beautiful Day.
As one might expect from the idiosyncratic Mr Hicks, the performances are fascinating and the material is fabulous. As well as early versions of Hicks classics like Canned Music and How Can I Miss You, there are several tunes he never returned to, like He Don't Care, The Gypsy's Secret and Shorty Goes South.
The rest of the collection is culled from Dan's personal archive and features homemade demos of further tunes never recorded or later rearranged, like Fallin' Apart, The Laughing Song and All Day Sucker (which Dan prefaces as his "contribution to the adolescent world"). Finally, the disc opens with a brief but priceless snatch of a pre-teen Dan warbling Home On The Range in 1953 with his father Ivan, culled from a primitive home-recorded acetate.
As with the Charlatans package, the booklet is crammed with period photos and memorabilia, plus sleeve notes featuring Dan discussing his early days in the inimitable Hicks style. Featuring all previously unissued material and nine little-heard Hicks originals, EARLY MUSES will make a nice early Christmas present for fans of the man, the phenomenon that is Dan Hicks.
By Alec Palao