I only found out today that Dan Hicks passed away on Feb. 6 at the age of 76.
When I think of Dan Hicks, one phrase comes to mind: “how can I miss you, when you won’t go away.” The title of one of his novelty “semi-hits” of the early ’70s. I remember seeing Hicks and his Hot Licks, a weird but cool assemblage of thrift-store Americana, hippie Western Swing and a dash of hot jazz, on various TV shows back then. It was around the time when Bette Midler and the Manhattan Transfer broke through too with their ’40s-inspired music, but Hicks was different. His band had a fun, unpolished quality that made you think that they had just set up to play.
That’s little doubt that I saw these Flip Wilson Show performance when they did it.
I didn’t keep a close track of his career. I have one or two of his more recent CDs. I should keep an eye out for one of those early Hot Licks albums. But he will also be in my head, because of that phrase, and the fun-loving band that stuck it in my memory.
So I can’t end this without the song itself: