Ah man, there's just something much too hip about a band that can be sloppy and slinkily precise simultaneously, and Ted Hefko & the Thousandaires have that gift. If I Walked on Water (Would You Sail on Back to Me?) is a Ben Sidran / Mose Allision affair trading in a good deal of jazz edge for post-beatnik Greenwich folk cool gliding between generations but always hanging a flourish of Dixie and New Orleans right around the corner. Hefko sings the lazy finger-snapping lyrics then blows reeds alongside Satoru Ohashi as Luca Benedetti twangs a backwoods guitar strolling from the pines and hickory into the Village to trade licks and spin stories.
Each cut in Walked is like a step back into twilit years as the 50s closed down and melted into the 60s. Jesse Colin Young and crew kinda jumped into this territory back with their ensemble and often highly idiosyncratic solo works, as did Country Joe McDonald, but Hefko's labors—and he not only wrote everything here but produced the whole shebang as well—is of a different order…though he 'n da boyz obviously woulda got along just fabulously with the Youngblood gang and their ilk (John Sebastian, David Bromberg, Dr. John, anyone who dug the John Handy gig, and such).
Things really slow down for the closing instrumental You Took Away the Best Part as Benedetti trots out some Cropper / Byrd / Szabo / Morricone licks, making…every…single…note…count. Scott Ritchie (bass) and Moses Patrou (drums) almost fall asleep here, so head-first are they into the vibe, but somehow manage to keep things perfectly balanced between sweet repose and misty-eyed reminiscence. Finally, Hefko's sax is every inch as somnolent, crooning its South Side lament. So, don't look for high gloss, metronomic, cellophane chart music when you get ahold of If I Walked on Water; instead put on some sandals and a pair of cheaters and then tuck them Marlboros inside yer t-shirt sleeve as you saunter bemused alongside sunrays, sidewalk, and Sweet Sally. 'Ere long, you'll remember that true living includes not giving a shit about perfection, and that relaxation can be just as swingin' as jitterbugging. It all depends on your state of mind.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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