R.I.P.: Dan Hicks

(Hey, Reaper, take a break, alright? Wait until the warm weather at least … sheesh.)

I got a huge kick out of Where’s the Money? when the music-nut college gang discovered it the year after it came out and then Striking It Rich a bit less and can live without everything later except the wonderful surprise Christmas album from 2011 — maybe the most triumphant use of tweaked-traditional he ever found. But I regularly played Where’s the Money? for years until I stopped reading Underground Comix as much and, no question, the cartoon aspect did wear off.

But with Dan Hicks gone, the hippie movement is officially over for me. He was drummer for the Charlatans, who more or less kicked off the hippie outlook with their concerts at the Red Dog Saloon (before all the other SF psychers) and set off the whole retro-cowboy with long hair look. And you can hear how the Hot Licks concept was part of the Charlatan sound — not on the lousy 1969 album they released years after Hicks had left, but on the collection called The Amazing Charlatans (Big Beat, 1996) and if you want yet more (and fuller, less demo-y sound) the LP on the French label Eva called The Charlatans/Alabama Bound. The pang I feel listening to these lost sides reaches deeper than the sigh evoked by Where’s the Money?

Very generous salute from Rolling Stone, natcherly.

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