Ted Hefko And The Thousandaires – Gas Station Guru
9 songs time – 40:25
Ted Hefko was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but now resides in New Orleans, Louisiana and it shows in his music. The band’s music is an amalgamation of various influences. New Orleans rhythm & blues and jazz, rhythm & blues, roots music being the main ones. Top line musicianship and song writing are obvious in the six originals, along with three well conceived cover songs. Ted aside from capably handling the vocal chair, plays saxophone, clarinet and acoustic guitar. The Thousandaires include guitar, trumpet and keyboards along with a rhythm section. Their ensemble interplay is right on the money.
The narrator on “Two Vices” tells his girl that the wise men say you can pick two vices and she only has one-“Make the other one me”. Hammond organ by Beck Burger, horns and some nice guitar by fellow New Orleans resident Mem Shannon make this song a winner. “The Roofer” introduces the New Orleans via a funky groove peppered by horns and plenty of Nawlins references. The New Orleans feeling continues on “Tell Me The Truth”. He covers a slow, melancholy Billy Joe Shaver song-“Ride Me Down Easy” with a laid back vocal, accordion and acoustic and electric guitar.
Cajun accordion, rub board and N.O. references once again appear on “The Next Train”, a song about coaxing someone to leave town in no uncertain terms. “Ain’t Gonna Give You None O’ My Jellyroll” harkens back to the playful old time jazz tunes often associated with the venerable Danny Barker. The interplay of sax and clarinet is just divine and both played by Ted. Joe Welnick provides boogie-woogie-meets Professor Longhair style piano to “Ten Dollar Hat”, as the singer weighs the pros and cons of his girl friend.
Elliot Slater brings out some Lowell George style slithering slide guitar on the slow paced “Stop Sayin’ Unless”. Ted covers Steve Goodman’s “City Of New Orleans” at a tad slower tempo, a song more widely known as a hit by Arlo Guthrie. A nice snare drum beat and background vocals. A worthy rendition.
The guys deliver a well done roots-y, rhythm & blues, New Orleans R&B-jazz slice of music. I’m so glad this band finally crossed my path. Well performed New Orleans related music is right up my alley. If you are smart you will bring it to your alley too.