Bill Hicks,
The Perfect Gig
(self-produced, 2002)

Bill Hicks describes himself as a fiddler who is also a songwriter, and The Perfect Gig is a showcase of that side of his talent. It works.

Hicks is an excellent performer who draws on may areas of inspiration. The cover notes are on the humorous side and they give some background to the songs, some of which also reveal a devilish sense of humour. This is exemplified in the title of the first track, "The SOB in the Carvel Truck."

"Were They Happy" is very reminiscent of Willie Nelson at his best. Believe it or not he even manages a very good song about the Laundromat on the track, "La Senorita," which is no easy feat. "Uncle Charlie's Revenge" is a track that you must give some time to, and "Bridges" has a lovely intro and tells a story in simple well-honed lyrics.

"The Perfect Gig" is poetic song about looking for that holy grail of the title. It is the sort of song that could only be written by a singer who has served an apprenticeship of small venue gigs where the performer and audience can truly connect. "Last Call" has so much to hear that you may miss some of the nuances on first, second or third hearing. It is a story-song of the old style with a simple musical backing.

I enjoyed this CD very much but I had to look up the lyrics on the web to try to get the most of Hicks' excellent writing skills. It was recorded live and then had the "non-essential stuff" excised and it is all the better for that.

This is a CD to seek out and relish. Music needs to nurture this sort of talent and the airwaves need to play it as an antidote to the banal lyrics that are bombarding the ears.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 28 September 2002

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