Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - 1969 - Farewell Aldebaran

Judy Henske & Jerry Yester
Farewell Aldebaran

01. Snowblind - 3:07
02. Horses On A Stick - 2:10
03. Lullaby - 2:55
04. St. Nicholas Hall - 3:35
05. Three Ravens - 3:30
06. Raider - 5:12
07. One More Time – 2:17
08. Rapture - 4:09
09. Charity - 3:17
10. Farewell Aldebaran - 4:21

Judy Henske – vocals
Jerry Yester - vocals, guitar (01, 02, 08, 10), piano (02-10), harmonium (02), toy zither (03), Marxophone (03), Chamberlain Tape Organ (04), orchestra (05, 10), organ (07, 08), banjo (08), bass (10), Moog synthesizer (10), producer
Zal Yanovsky - bass (01, 10), guitar (01, 10), producer
Larry Beckett - drums (01)
John Forsha - 12-string guitar (02, 05, 09)
Joe Osborn - bass (02, 09)
Dick Rossmini - guitar (02, 09)
Eddie Hoh - drums (02, 09)
David Lindley - bowed banjo (06)
Jerry Scheff - bass (06)
Toxie French - drums (06, 07, 10)
Herb Cohen – executive producer

Here's one that easily qualifies as a cult classic and (to the best of our knowledge), still hasn't seen a legitimate CD release (the Italian Radioactive released a boot copy in 2005)..

By the mid-1960s Judy Henske had carved out a reputation as a well known and rather successful folk artist.  She'd also married former Lovin' Spoonful bassist Jerry Yester, with whom she soon had a baby girl.  For his part, with the demise of the Spoonful, and a couple of solo singles, Yester originally turned his attention to production, working with the likes of The Association and The Turtles.  He also began writing material with Henske. 

Signed to Frank Zappa's newly formed Straight Records (Henske's manager Herb Cohen was also Zappa's manager), the two brought in former Spoonful cohort Zal Yanowsky to co-produce 1969's "Farewell Aldebaran".  With Henske handling the lyrics and Yester furnishing the music, the resulting album was highly eclectic.  Showcasing Henske's surprisingly versatile voice (anyone expecting fragile folk or top-40 pop was in for a major surprise), the LP found the duo effortlessly bouncing across musical genres.  While folk ("Lullaby") and pop ("Horses on a Stick") weren't entirely abandoned, the emphasis was on psych (check out the nifty country-cum-psych "Raider") and hard rock ("Snowblind") sounds.  Not everything worked; the couple occasionally sounding like they're simply trying too hard, but roughly half of the selections were worth hearing a couple of times.  In spite of strong reviews, the album sold few copies; a fact no doubt aided by Straight's minimal promotional support.  (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

1 comment: