From: Paul Lewis
Date sent: Tue, 11 Apr 2006
Subject: Tribute to Singing Cowboys show report
Hereís a show report on the Tribute to Singing Cowboys show, starring Dan Hicks
and the Hot Licks, with guest steel slide guitarist Bob Black and guest
co-violinist Dick Bright, last Saturday (4-8-6) in Mill Valley, California.
The 142 Throckmorton Theatre is a large room with a stage and a balcony, seats
about 250. There were a couple of Western movie posters in the lobby. A large
rear projection movie screen behind the stage showing audioless Roy Rogers
movies before the show, and various western-themed backgrounds during the show,
like Gabby Hayes and the full-length Dan picture from Original Recordings. At
front stage right were a stuffed emu and some purty cowboy boots.
Dan wore a black shirt with sheriffís badge, tan slacks, tan and white boots,
and a black gamblerís chateau. The Licks all had on cowboy hats, and the
Lickettes were similarly western-attired. Richard Chon, violin and mandolin;
David Bell, lead guitar (too often hidden behind Dan's music stand during his
solos); and Paul Smith, bass. I think Roberta Donnay was one of the Lickettes,
and was the other called Dolly or Hollie? [Daria] I muffed the names each time they
were introduced. They occasionally shot the crowd with water pistols.
The songs were maybe two-thirds Hot Licks standards and one-third cowboy songs.
Between songs, Dan lectured on the history of cowboy singers (I was not aware
that Roy Rogers was originally named Leonard Slye or that Britney Spears once
was a singing cowboy).
Two sets. Hereís the titles I can remember (someone help me out here):
Iím an Old Cowhand
Cowboys Dream # 19
Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy
Four or Five Times
four or five others whose titles escape me
Red River Valley and Happy Trails to You as background traveling music.
Not included were Home on the Range or Streets of Loredo (or El Paso, for that
The high point of the evening was the usual excellent Hot Licks musicality,
with rotating solos and periods of full boil. Danís vocalizing and
scat/yodeling was in fine form. Some choreography with Dan and the Lickettes.
V. funny, dry wit banter. Like his conversation with the tumbling tumbleweed.
The special high point, in my mind, was hearing the gang do all these
non-repertoire cowboy songs, obviously close to Danís heart and mine as well.
Dick Bright is a brilliant fiddleplayer, but he seemed to be trying to blend in
rather than stand out. Bob Black on the steel slide guitar was also largely
understated, but sublime. His work on Duke Ellingtonís Caravan was especially
All in all, a delightful memorable evening.