They don't make 'em like Dan Hicks anymore. Never did really. A genuine anomaly, Hicks essentially could have stepped from the pages of an R. Crumb comic: amiably subversive, eccentrically hipsterish with a wicked, phenomenally arid wit, and a love for vintage styles of music he still makes every bit as mind-altering as the psychedelic stuff floating around his Haight-Ashbury environs in the '60s. Early on, Hicks was a member of one of the formative Haight bands the Charlatans before getting his Licks in via a clever amalgamation of jug band, Tin Pan Alley, old time country, vintage jazz, folk, western swing, and blues, regaling his cultish followers with tales like "I Scare Myself" and "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" The Licks went cold for an extended period before Hicks re-heated them around the turn of the century, and they've been firing on all quirky cylinders since, including last year's Tangled Tales (in which our hero tangles with such modern atrocities as cell phones). There's also a forthcoming Christmas album, Crazy for Christmas, which includes a tinselly variation on "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" called "Santa Gotta Choo Choo," the tragic seasonal ditty "Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit," and an astounding scatty, yodelly, Chipmunks-referencing version of "Carol of the Bells."
Mon., Sept. 20, 7 p.m., 2010