Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks’ new album Selected Shorts boasts contributions from Hicks’ fellow iconoclasts Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Van Dyke Parks and head Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes.
Set for release October 26th, the thirteen-track concoction of jazz, swing and folk features the veteran Hicks backed by a band composed of legendary drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan) and original Hot Licks violinist Sid Page, as well as some female call-and-response provided by the Lickettes.
Included in the set is Hicks’ update of the Rosemary Clooney popularized “Come on-A My House.” “I just put a different shuffle beat on it, made it more how I’d like to hear it,” says Hicks. “It leans a bit towards Duke Ellington, having the gypsy violin and guitar stuff. A lot of it starts with the approach of ‘What am I going to do with the girls?'”
With Nelson and the recently chart-topping Buffett unavailable to come and record in person, Hicks sent both singers detailed tapes outlining their parts. Although this process yields no memory-making stories, the well-humored Hicks is happy to fictionalize the account. “Willie was a little hungover when he got in, and Jimmy Buffett had this entourage that wouldn’t keep quiet,” he says, “but I wasn’t even there, so what do I know?”
The follow-up to 2000’s Beatin’ the Heat — which featured Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Brian Setzer and Rickie Lee Jones — Selected Shorts is just the tenth LP of new material in Hicks’ thirty-five-year recording career, a deliberate pace he’s happy to maintain.
“I used to pick up my guitar and write songs every day,” he says. “I don’t really do that much now.”