Egyptland - Ted Hefko And The Thousandaires Album Review
Wondering from Wisconsin to New York, via a healthy stint in New Orleans, Ted Hefko, And The Thousandaires, bring you a Jazz infused, sometimes bluesy, sometimes folksy, mellow musical mixture. Ted has proficiently captured his individual laid-back style of, almost clichéd, 'jazz cool' (think Tom Cruise before he quizzes the one time Miles Davis collaborator in Collateral, or Jeff Bridges self indulgence at his early hours smoke filled basement bar of choice in The Fabulous Baker Boys).
Egyptland tries to tie together all of Ted's influences for his self penned tunes. Trouble is there are a lot of influences, and because of that a certain lack of coherence. We've got everything on here from the narrative style vocal deliverance of Lou Reed (Losin' Hold) to the Vince Guaraldi's (Peanuts/Charlie Brown) flavoured sax licks that are peppered throughout the album. There's a bit of latin on Wet Wool and even a touch of funk on the instrumental 'The Short Mans Complex.'
Track #3, 'Wet Wool In Rain' is when Mark (Knopfler) met Carlos (Santana), with a lazy Leonard Cohen singing voice to boot. 'Twenty Three Dollars And Twenty Three Cents' is a soulful, blues number, in a 'woe is me,' 'down on your luck' 'the only way is up' kinda vibe that maybe considered a somewhat old fashioned social commentary (although with the current economic climate he's probably bang on the money!)...
I got twenty three dollars and twenty three cents,
Having trouble with my bills, I'm having trouble paying rent,
Ain't no glory in an honest day,
They'll be laughing to the bank when they take your pay.
Ted Hefko is a good musician and songwriter but the album he's put together here is all over the place. I dare say if you'd seen him play over a few drinks in New Orleans, at a Bourbon Street club for instance, or caught him at an impromptu Brooklyn bar performance then, as befits these moments, you may have got caught up in the atmosphere of it all and bought the CD on the way out. However when you get it out to play again the events cannot be recaptured and you are left with ever diminishing returns. He'd be great as your best local live band, and a welcome guest performer at any party, but as an album full of uncertainties it never quite works.