Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks Beatin' The Heat

Not having made a record since 1976 is sufficient enough reason for yours truly to have zero clue about the importance of who singer/guitarist Dan Hicks was, or is, for that matter. But, apparently, others do, especially when reading the impressive list of guest contributors on this Hot Licks comeback release. A band, I should mention, that was received 30 years ago. Tom Waits, Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, Elvis Costello and Rickie Lee Jones all add their touch to this multi-faceted melting pot of lounge, blues and rockabilly numbers, all spiked by Hicks' playful, bubbly and suave guitar noodlings. It is as if everyone is on a vacation, as each track has that distinct characteristic of sounding like something that would be played at an all-out beach resort; Hicks with his sly voice crooning away some rather fun and wacky lyrics. Either age has got to him or perhaps it is just sunstroke. Doesn't matter, it sounds like someone's having a good time. (Universal)