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Between 1971 and 1973, San Francisco-based Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks recorded three irresistibly engaging albums for the Blue Thumb label, blending elements of jazz, swing, boogie, folk, and country music with wry, often surrealistic lyrics. Singer/songwriter/rhythm-guitarist Hicks assembled an eclectic acoustic quintet featuring an oddly matched brace of female vocalists. Maryann Price had worked with big bands and Las Vegas lounge groups; Naomi Ruth Eisenberg, a topless dancer, previously performed in a psychedelic rock band. Classically trained violinist Sid Page was selling women’s shoes when Hicks tapped him to become a Hot Lick, and bassist Jaime Leopold was peddling grass and playing in an avant-garde ensemble that included future Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil. Return To Hicksville, released in 1997, complied the cream of the Hot Licks’ Blue Thumb sides including the group’s eerie masterpiece, “I Scare Myself”, a title that came to Hicks while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge stoned on hash brownies. The Hot Licks broke up in 1973 at the peak of their popularity. Since then, Hicks has made two solo albums, and, in 1991, reassembled his original band for a reunion on television’s Austin City Limits. This Sunday night, the Birchmere hosts the local stop of the groups’ 2000 reunion tour in support their new Surfdog CD, Beatin’ The Heat, featuring guest appearances by Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler, Elvis Costello and Brian
Setzer. Not all of the original Hot Licks will be on hand, but Page will be present to recreate his incendiary “I Scare Myself” violin solo at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $20. (703) 549-7500. (Joel E. Siegel)