JUDY HENSKE & JERRY YESTER – Farewell Aldebaran

Jerry Yester was a producer (The Assocation among others) before replacing Zal Yanovsky in The Lovin’ Spoonful. With the end of the Spoonful in 1969 Yester recorded this album with his wife. It is a mixture of progressive folk and more psychedelic tracks and is very much of its time. ‘Snowblind’ opens with a heavy psyche feel, while ‘Horses On A Stick’ is much lighter – almost nursery rhyme in tone. ‘Lullaby’ is, as its name suggests, a lovely harpsichord led ballad, and is the other side of the coin from the preceding track. ‘St. Nicholas Hall’ sounds like something from the pen of Jacques Brel, but Henske does a good job on a tricky song. ‘Three Ravens’ is another quiet ballad, augmented this time with strings, while ‘Raider’ might be known from its excellent interpretation by Ian Matthews on his Plainsong album ‘In Search Of Amelia Earheart’. We can now hear it by the writers, and realize that Matthews stuck pretty close to the original in his cover. Yester takes lead vocal on ‘One More Time’ and reveals a pleasant voice which is otherwise buried in backing vocals. He gets another chance to show this in a rare duet on ‘Charity’, and he takes lead on the highly experimental title track, which quickly evolves into a weird psychedelic piece with Moog and an early example of vocoder vocals. An odd ending to an otherwise perfectly respectable folk/rock/psyche album, but showing that Yester was much more than just the guitarist in a jug-band and that his wife’s career as a folk singer was always leading up to this album. Now out on CD and well worth investigation.