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Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

Crazy for Christmas – 2010 (Surfdog)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

Every year, somebody puts out what they believe to be the ultimate cool Christmas album. In their estimation, this new music is in stark contrast to all of yesterday's old-timer drivel. In other words, it is music that is in step with today's sound fashion. Of course, next year all of it will simply sound stupid.

Then, on the other hand, there's Dan Hicks. This man is eternally cool. Along with his floozy Lickettes backing vocalists, he creates music that would have sounded just as good at a Beatnik Christmas party, as it does now. "Crazy For Christmas" makes you want to put on your shades (even if it's snowing) and just lean against a wall snapping your fingers.

With Santa's Workshop, Hicks paints a vivid picture of St. Nick's toy factory just before Christmas Day. We're first introduced to McGerkin, an elf that "gets the coffee perkin'" early in the morning so the other elves will have enough energy to make all the toys that kids love best. Hicks goes on to describe all the other activity on the factory floor, in great detail. Hicks' unique take on Carol Of The Bells is also a blast. On it, Hicks and his Lickettes scat their way through the tune, making it sound as though it was always intended to be a jazz vocal showcase. On the recording, he even throws in an electronically altered vocal that sounds like The Chipmunks.

Many of these tracks are either Hicks originals or older tunes adapted in Hicks' individualistic way. In Hicks' hands, for instance, Run Run Rudolph is closer to a joyride than Chuck Berry's original drag strip rocker. You'd be crazy not to pick up "Crazy For Christmas."