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Farewell Aldebaran
Judy Henske & Jerry Yester
Farewell Aldebaran
Genres: Country, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Timely reissue of this late '60s folk/psych classic from husband and wife team Jerry Yester and Judy Henske. Yester had previously enjoyed an element of fame courtesy of his stint with The Loving Spoonful, but following th...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Judy Henske & Jerry Yester
Title: Farewell Aldebaran
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Phoenix Records/Forced Exposur
Original Release Date: 1/1/1969
Re-Release Date: 6/24/2008
Genres: Country, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Folk Rock, Country Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1


Album Description
Timely reissue of this late '60s folk/psych classic from husband and wife team Jerry Yester and Judy Henske. Yester had previously enjoyed an element of fame courtesy of his stint with The Loving Spoonful, but following the band's demise in 1969, he set about producing this little gem with acclaimed folk singer Henske and a bunch of pals which were said to have included Ry Cooder and David Lindley. Farewell Aldebaran, which is often heralded as one of the most proficient and creative albums of its genre, with Henske's incredible range of vocal styles (during her short solo career she had effortlessly made the transition from comedian to folk singer and then onto an accomplished rock singer) elevating the album to a higher plane. Her mind-blowing vocals on the opening track, the hard-fuzz "Snowblind," gives an early clue to Henske's talent.

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CD Reviews

A magical journey of real beauty
Mr. Thomas Thatcher | Salisbury, UK | 03/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In spite of the fact that doubt has been cast on the veracity of Radioactive's recording techniques (copied from vinyl?)it is worth going to any lengths to procure this quite extraordinary album. Apparently, Frank Zappa loved it but my God, we all loved it at Edinburgh University in 1969/70 too. I loved it so much that I bought several copies, one from the Flea Market in Paris. It was not easy to come by.

Judy Henske, with the contralto voice of an angel, was reading the Oxford Book of English Verse when she and Loving Spoonful musical director, the brilliant arranger and composer Jerry Yester, made this nugget. Judy is the only popular musician who really deserves the title poet and at the time she was married to Jerry.

Snowblind is a sort-of rocker whose protagonists are Fullbrook Sedgwind and Rosy (with HER STOCKINGS ROLLED), sung with gusto, let us say. Horses on a Stick is a ride through life on a fairground roundabout where your horse is shod with starlight, his hooves strike sparks in the night. Almost too beautiful to bear, with a jingle jangle musical arrangement and lovely harmonies arranged by Jerry and Judy. Lullaby has a tune of really rare beauty, and St Nicholas Hall (sends greetings to all, of the lambs who have strayed from the fold. A message sent, from Sister Content ( you remember her as your Dean - She is Mean and Incredibly old)) is a liturgical request from a convent to help out with all manner of requests from missionaries to the organ rebuild, ending with a heavenly chorus and a sharp single note at the end. Unique.

Three ravens, about a knight dying after battle with only a deer to protect him (the racing moon will trace his resting place, 'til dawn, when above him, with hungry eyes, and shining wings, three ravens fly.....) has the loveliest tune and chorus I have ever heard (she lifted up his head, and kissed his wounds so red, and by his side, she wept and died, in bitterness) with beautiful harmonies too. It is honestly true to say that the only thing that comes close in raw emotion is Dido's Lament from Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell. Raider (stole a Morgan mare) is about the reevers, I think, who made forays into other counties in Northern England to steal livestock, heavy on the banjo and country rhythms, and Mrs Connor is about an ageing, ill prostitute who is on her own and near her end (and when death comes to Mrs Connor, he'll lay lays his hoary length on her and groan..), to a city jazz arrangement. Rapture is a tour de force about rapture beyond the usual human pleasure, ie, almost religious rapture (divers asleep, dream of the deep, towering over their heads. Lost comrades gather, by their bed) with a soaring end-line and a voice that I have not heard before, anywhere, or again since. Charity is about a magic ship with a wierd cargo (ivory rings, singing peacocks and things: from the East, there's a beast, on a chain made of gold ...) and the ship is called the Charity .... and you can hear the sea is the ocean harmonies and major seveths of the final chorus (and the figurehead, is a Barbary Queen, with a breast as cold as the sea is green).

Farewell Aldebarn is about the the death of a galaxy (see, she is descending now, starting the slide), set to a bossa nova, I promise you, and ending up with a vocoder nightmare as she slips away. I cannot stress enough how odd and how heartstoppingly beautiful this album is. If one each of these songs had been on ten albums, all ten would have been worth buying. Judy's voice is, well, unique, and the arrangements, words, tunes and musiocianship are unforgettable. This is a one-off and Judy is a genuine poet/singer. Even Dylan never produced images or beauty like this.

Final note: I gather from Judy herself that Raider is based on the Scottish Border Ballads. I nearly got it right!
Production values an insult to the material
E. Baldwin | LA | 11/23/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I have several vinyl copies of this album and was excited to see a CD offering. This CD offering, however, is not the one to be excited about. While the packaging is a very good recreation of the original sleeve, the source material is obviously not the original tape. The timbre is pitched very far to the treble and on one song there is an unforgivable noise intrusion of the sort one gets when ripping tracks with cheap software and not checking the result. If this project was done for love, it was not enough love. If it was done for money, it is reprehensible. Wait for Henske to release an official CD version of this."
Pioneering Effects Save This Obscurity
directions | Space Time Foam | 02/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This was a classic "lost album" until it was reissued. Somewhat dated sounding and nowhere as unique as the Silver Apples or the United States of America who built their own electronic equipment. Still this is a nice album of ballads, especially the effects laden ones. "St. Nicholas Hall" has a nice use of a Mellotron that almost sounds voice like, "Farewell Aldebaran" has nice Moog touches and "Lullaby" has spooky ethereal lyrics though other songs are more conventional. Then again Judy Henske wrote "High Flying Bird" which was written before but later covered by Jefferson Airplane showing that she was a pioneer of 60's folk rock and for that genre this is a lot more interesting than the political whining or overly precious and whimsical storybook lyrics of other albums of that time that were much better known."