the charlie hickox story

charlie hickox is a piano player and singer from Cleveland, Ohio.

he’s now in Fairfax, California.

he plays and sing a lot of New Orleans music, rhythm and blues, country, and traditional standards.

way back when, he wrote couple of tunes, Second Hand Information and Cruisin'(In My Automobile) which were recorded by the great and generous Marty Balin. with Bodacious and The Jefferson Starship, respectively. in the early 1970’s.

The California Honeydrops recorded his little number, A Higher Degree(of Sophistication). written in 1969. recorded by the Honeydrops in 2019.

here’s some kind of biography.

charlie hickox is a piano player and singer from Cleveland, Ohio. he moved to the Western Addition in San Francisco in January of 1970.
In the early 1970’s, he played at the legendary Minnie’s Can-Do Club on Fillmore and Bush St. in San Francisco, CA, working with Crazy Mike(Michael Kissel) and the Bad All-Stars, and, later, as a solo performer.

he moved on to play with the gospel group, Gideon and Power.
they recorded on Bell Records, releasing an album, Live at Keystone Korner. Gideon and Power. the record was produced by the legendary New Orleans musicians, Harold Battiste and Melvin Lastie. Gideon also toured with the Supremes, in 1971, thanks to their manager, Wally ‘Famous’ Amos(of William Morris Agency).

he played for many years, 1972-1990’s, with the talented songwriter-guitarist, John Shine.  he learned a lot playing with John and Bing Nathan, in the Moons, throughout the 1970’s. this band owned the East Bay ‘reefer circuit’ during that time: The Ordinary, the real Freight and Salvage(Nancy’s), The New Orleans Room. they even played the collegiate ‘Steak and Lobster’ spots, The Refectory, The Front Room, the rusty this, the broken that. John and company became a killer wedding and private party band, as well. all great gigs with amazing musicians.

In 1972 he joined the late Marty Balin(Jefferson Airplane founder and lead singer) in Bodacious, a raucous experiment of Marty’s, recording an album on RCA records.
Marty later recorded charlie’s tune, Cruising, with the Jefferson Starship, on the album, Spitfire.

over the years he has played the local club scene with many great Bay Area bands.
and he has frequently donned coat and tie to play many private parties.

some of  the bands with whom charlie has played: The Naughts(Cleveland, Ohio 1964-66), The Restless Ones(Yale College, 1966-67), The Cheshire Cat(1967)(a Yalie band), The Gross National Product(a local New Haven soul band – 1969), The Bone(a local New Haven band-1967), Crazy Mike and The Bad All-Stars(1968-1971), Gideon and Power(1970-1971), John Shine and the Moons(1970’s), The Energy Crisis(Berkeley – 1970’s), Chicago Blues Power, The San Francisco Medicine Ball Band(life member), Fess Up(Bing’s thing), The Jeff Sanford Trio(at Nick’s in Pacifica – 1980’s-90’s), The 9th Ward Millionaires(Ken Jacobs – leader and saxophonist), Tim ‘Yellow Springs’ Eschliman, The California Honeydrops, gumbo west, Mal Sharpe and Big Money in GumboLand, The Uptown Rulers(Jon Korty, Fairfax, CA -currently intermittently active). and these days, with The Arkestra de Fairfax(a collection of fine locals – Dave and Joan Getz, Ken Jacobs, John Hunt, and Michael Price).

charlie enjoys playing songs by the New Orleans greats. songs by artists such as Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, Fats Domino, and Professor Longhair…oh yeah, Danny Barker, Rod Bernard, Belton Richard, and Cookie and The Cupcakes. always sneaking in some of his favorites by Ray Charles, maybe a little Floyd Cramer, too. then there’s Solomon Burke, Don Gibson, Thelonious Monk, and Webb Pierce(as Professor Bob Dylan once said, “I don’t believe in border patrol, when it comes to music.”)

you do not want charlie to play classical music or show tunes.

he is currently, as always, playing solo piano gigs. maybe a band gig, here and there. and trying to record some “evidence”, too.

still doing it.

Fairfax, CA – July 2022

15 thoughts on “the charlie hickox story

  1. Hey Charlie,

    Great meeting you tonight on Zoom and hearing your music. Wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Tim

  2. Loved reading this Charlie – you are one of a kind and its a pleasure to know and play with you – fairfax royalty? that’s you my man – c u soon !

  3. Hi Charlie,
    Just came across your bio and am happy to see you kept up with your music. Pretty impressive stuff. I can still remember you boogie woogying on your piano when I’d stay over at your place in Pepper Pike. I have good memories of the early years at Hawken, one of which is playing football in fifth and sixth grade. You were a great QB, but there was never enough blocking, as I recall!
    I’ve had a rewarding life as well, having moved a couple years ago to a college town in northwestern Oregon. We have a place in the forest and would live to see you if you ever get up this way.
    Best wishes to you my old friend,
    -John

    • wow. you made my day. so many great memories. your parents and and brothers and sisters. speaking french at the dinner table.

      you taught me the boogie woogie bass piano part on your porch piano, i recall.
      your dad was a great teacher. a gentleman, as in gentle man.
      my oldest son: born on Bastille Day at French Hospital(SF),
      Masters in French Philology from Columbia, and married to a French scholar. 4 French kids, as well. i credit your dad.

      John, please stay in touch. you can email me at charlie at charliehickox dot communist.
      or phone me 415dash870dash9191(please excuse my internet phobia).
      re: my football career, I always say, once you’re over 90lbs, you shouldn’t be allowed to play football.

      I’d love to hear more about what you’re up to, what you’ve been doing all these years.
      Oregon woods, sounds good.
      I played the Oregon Country Fair with The California Honeydrops(no, I did not strip for the ‘naked sauna’). Portland and other towns, too. I love it up there.

      please give my best to your family,
      charlie h

  4. Hey! Hobart here. Great show yesterday. I am a fan of big music like David Bromberg and Boz Scaggs and Tower of Power. Pretty cool all the horns and percussion. A great taste of vintage Fairfax vibes. Thanks!

  5. Charlie,

    Hi from Bali. Hope you’re well. Just been listenin’ to the Honey Drops. Bringin’ back memories of Minnie’s. Drop a line if you have a moment. Don’t know when or if getting back to the Bay Area.

    Peter Waddell

    Ps Do hope you remember me.

    • of course I remember you, Peter.
      great to hear from you.
      I’ll hit you back later.
      still in touch with Minnie and family.
      I hope you are doing great!
      Charlie

  6. hello Charlie,
    paul sanford here; jeff’s brother from nyc. somehow came upon this site and remembered you from back in the day. i believe we even helped move you to fairfax. always love catching your gigs back in the 80’s. with the sad passing of the Fat Man looks like it’s down to you. hope you, Cosimo and family are happy and laughing and well. love to see you sometime before i’m too old and too deaf.
    all the best old friend,
    p.

  7. Hey., my name is Charles ‘Chas’ Hickox

    I play guitar bass n drums.., just found u on a doodle search.., pretty cool..

    • yeah. too cool. I’m sure you’re better looking.
      where you be?
      there are a bunch of us Charles Hickoxes out there. all above average.
      was another one in my college class, even.

  8. Charlie reunites with the Centennial All-Star Band for a performance in Gates Mills, OH on 10/8/16…don’t miss it!!

  9. HI Charlie. I enjoyed playing with you, all those years with John Shine and the Moons. I hope to play with you again sometime soon!

  10. Hi Charlie,

    It’s Kim from Lincoln Movers (blah, blah, storage, Cazadero, blah, blah) Your bio is exciting! BTW my daughter Katie played trombone with Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra when they performed with the Jefferson Starship a couple years ago. I need to listen to your song, Cruising. Small World!

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