Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: “I scare myself” and a little more – in the context of perplexed personal situations

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Sylvia Plath in Yorkshire, 1957
Sylvia Plath in Yorkshire, 1957

It was sometime in the early 1980’s.

I was in my late 20s and doing postgraduate work in the United States of America.

As luck has it, I was cohabitating with a woman. I do not want to comment on the merits of cohabitation before marriage here. Suffices to say that it was one of the wisest things I have ever done. And I will explain why later.

My good cousin “J” one day introduced me to the genius of Dan Hicks.

“I scare myself” became an obsession for me.

Dan Hicks
Dan Hicks

Before I continue, I must warn the reader (if there is any) of this that the text and the images and the songs and everything about it may appear to be totally incoherent and structureless.

This is one of the conditions of life that cannot be changed. So I take it for granted, as a given inevitability and continue. (You have been warned!)

But who is Dan Hicks?

In order to answer this question in a respectable way I will borrow from Wikipedia.

Hicks at the Santa Fe Brewing Co. June 28, 2009
Hicks at the Santa Fe Brewing Co. June 28, 2009

Daniel Ivan Hicks (born December 9, 1941, in Little Rock, Arkansas), is an American singer-songwriter.

Hicks’ father, Ivan L. Hicks (married to the former Evelyn Kehl), was a career military man. At age five, an only child, Hicks moved with his family to California, eventually settling north of San Francisco in Santa Rosa, where he was a drummer in grade school and played the snare drum in his school marching band.

At 14, he was performing with area dance bands. While in high school, he had a rotating spot on Time Out for Teens, a daily 15-minute local radio program, and he went on to study broadcasting at San Francisco State College during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Taking up the guitar in 1959, he became part of the San Francisco folk music scene, performing at local coffeehouses.”

Charlatans in 1966 or1967. Dan Hicks is the first from the right.
The Charlatans in 1966 or1967. Dan Hicks is the first from the right.

And now I switch to another source, “Triviana Magazine”.

‘After earning his bit of fame and fortune in his early 20s, as a folkie in Bay Area  coffee houses, singing and finger-picking in 1963, he joined the Charlatans as a drummer in 1965 — the Charlatans being the blues-rock band that a lot of people are now calling the beginning of what became the San Francisco rock scene.

But Hicks wasn’t content to sit behind the traps, so started his own band, doing an acoustic swing-folk kind of thing with just him on guitar, a bass player  and two female singers. That eventually became Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, and from 1968 through about 1973,  they were, indeed, hot.

Dan Hicks has said about the song: “I was in love when I wrote this song…either that, or I’d just eaten a huge hash brownie.”‘

Dan Hicks
Dan Hicks

As I have already mentioned, I gor to know Dan Hicks because of the song “I scare myself”.

‘I Scare Myself’ and ‘It’s Not My Time to Go’… I think they’re two of the best songs ever written”Elvis Costello

If Elvis Costello says so, we better listen!

The thing is though, I loved the song long before I Read what Elvis Costello said about it.

With hindsight, I can say that I loved the song because I was scared when I heard it.

I did not know what the hell I was going to do with the cohabitant.

I was receiving mixed signals and was perplexed.

Was she true love, or was she just a passer by?

She already had a failed marriage in her bag, I was a marriage free person at the time.

Life always twists things and gives the answers to the unsuspecting humans.

This is exactly what happened with my situation.

One day my cohabitant fell out of our love nest, then she came back in tears asking for re-admission.

But is there a jailed person who sees an open door in the jail complex and shies away from it?

I beg to say there is not!

And so my cohabitation ended in glory, but my love of the song remains to date.

And I continue ot be scared. Mostly for other reasons now.

striking it rich

The song was released with the album “Striking it Rich” (1972).

I scare myself

I scare myself
just thinking about you
I scare myself
when I’m without you
I scare myself
the moments that you’re gone
I scare myself
when I let my thoughts run

and when they’re runnin’
I keep thinking of you
and when they’re runnin’
what can I do?

I scare myself
and I don’t mean lightly
I scare myself
it can get frightenin’
I scare myself
to think what I could do
I scare myself
it’s some kinda voodoo

and with that voodoo
I keep thinking of you
and with that voodoo
what can I do?

but it’s oh so, so, so different
when we’re together
and I’m oh so so much calmer, I feel better
for the stars have crossed our paths forever
and the sooner that you realize it, the better

then I’ll be with you
and I won’t scare myself
and I’ll know what to do
and I won’t scare myself
and then I’ll think of you
and I won’t scare myself
and then my thoughts’ll run
and I won’t scare myself

then I’ll be with you
and I won’t scare myself
and I’ll know what to do
and I won’t scare myself
and I’ll think of you
and I won’t scare myself
and my thoughts will run
and I won’t scare myself…

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks live at the High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI, Sunday, December 9th, 2007, Dan’s Birthday!

Original Recordings

Pendle Witches: Mist II Paula Rego 1996
Pendle Witches: Mist II Paula Rego 1996

Dan Hicks is a wise man.

He knows that love can hurt.

And so he sings that he does not want love, if love ….

This is a treatise on gastrolinguistics. In case you wonder what gastrolinguistics is, do not worry, you are not the only one.

Instead of giving an answer to the difficult question, I cope out and invite you to read what Dan Hicks says.

I don’t want love

“Hey, that’s pretty cool

Why don’tcha turn that up?”

Some folks say when you fall in love

You lose your appetite
If love makes you feel that way

Listen to what I say, dear

If love makes you give up steak and potatoes

(That’s what you eat?)

Rice, corn, chitlins, and tomatoes

If love makes you give up all those things

I don’t want love

If love makes you give up ham and greens

Chicken pot pie and lima beans

If love makes you give up all them things

(Don’t want it)

(Don’t want it)

I don’t want love

Ooo…

Well, I am here to say to you that

I love my bread and my meat

Take a look at me and it’s plain to see

That I’m a man

That loves to eat

So, if love makes you give up steak and tomatoes

Eggs over easy and hashbrown potatoes

If love makes you give up stuff like that

(Oh no)

Heh, I don’t want love

No, no, no, no, no, no, no

If love makes you give up corn-dogs and mustard

Cracker Jacks, tootie fruity custard

If love makes you give up onion rings

I don’t want love

(Don’t want it)

If love makes you give up pizza night

Garlic mashed potatoes, then it’s outta sight

If love makes you give up all those things

No no, not me

Well, my baby’s awful skinny

And she don’t like meat

And she can’t stand breakfast in bed

And as for me, well, where’s my seat?

‘Cause it’s time that I was fed

So if love makes you give up saute and pate

And foie gras

And stuff you have to flambé

If love makes you give up buffalo wings

I don’t want love

No, no

Not me

No sir

No siree

I, I, I, I, I don’t want love

Pass the sausage!

“I don’t want Love”

After this wonderful declaration lets watch an original 1970’s video for old times’ sake.

Dan Hicks and his hot licks in 1972

In closing, two more songs, one by Dan Hicks and another by Tom Waits.

Both wonderful.

Thank you Dan!

…and please,

“Pass the sausage!”

Dan Hicks & His Sidekicks – Canned Music

The Piano has been drinking – a Tom Waits Song

Sources

1. Triviana Magazine “Gettin’ in His Licks!”

2. Wikipedia

3. Al Gravitar Rodando

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