via Press Release
Farewell Aldebaran arrived at the end of 1969 and promptly disappeared by the start of the new decade. With each of its ten tracks differing in style, and no promotion upon its original release, the album never had chance. While many records have tags “lost classic” or “cult masterpiece” hung on them, this album actually is one and inexplicably slipped through the cracks, never having been afforded a proper reissue.
Conceived and composed by singer Judy Henske (dubbed Queen of the Beatniks by producer Jack Nitzsche) and artist-producer, Jerry Yester (The New Christy Minstrels, The Modern Folk Quartet, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Association, Tim Buckley, and later, Tom Waits), Farewell Aldebaran was co-produced with Lovin’ Spoonful alum Zal Yanovsky (who also chipped in on guitar, bass and vocals). Among its many notable contributors: David Lindley, Paul Beaver (of the pioneering electronic music duo Beaver and Krause) and influential jazz bassist, Ray Brown.
Why did it languish in obscurity originally? “Maybe its snarling rockers, genteel ballads and gothic mood pieces made it too difficult to fit into conventional musical categories, or perhaps it simply fizzled due to lack of promotion. Whatever its initial fate, Judy Henske and Jerry Yester’s only album as a duo has become a genuine cult classic savored and pondered over by fans for nearly half a century,” surmises Barry Alfonso in his reissue liner notes.
Henske says, “At the time we recorded Farewell Aldebaran, I was reading only two things, The Oxford Book of English Verse and my Encyclopedia Britannica. It was the most psychologically balanced that I have ever been. One night I prayed, ‘Please God, give me a whole lyric in a dream so I can write it down.’ The next morning when I woke up I had Snowblind; it was complete. The next week I got Raider the same way. I love this album.”
“Judy and I started writing together in ’66,” explains Yester. “And I believe our first effort was Three Ravens. A year and a half later Herb Cohen gave us the go-ahead to do an album. It was very exciting for us to concentrate on an album of our own songs, and from the beginning there was a feeling of ‘no rules.’ That feeling stayed with us all through the making of Farewell Aldebaran. The excitement was heightened by it being the first of a number of albums co-produced by Zal Yanovsky and I. Of all the albums that I’ve been a part of, this one has always stood out as being the most fun, and free of constraints. It feels like it was yesterday.”
Omnivore Recordings is proud to reintroduce Farewell Aldebaran, nearly 50 years after its first release, on August 12, 2016. This is the first authorized and licensed reissue of this oft-bootlegged psych-folk classic — originally issued on Frank Zappa’s avant-garde Straight Records label — now remastered from the original master tapes. The CD includes five instrumental demos from Jerry Yester’s personal archives while the limited-edition first pressing of the LP will be on starburst colored vinyl. Both editions have extensive liner notes by Alfonso drawing upon new interviews with Henske and Yester, plus photos, original lyric sheets and additional illustrations.
From baroque pop to guitar-driven rockers, Farewell Aldebaran employs the use of instruments as unconventional as bowed banjos and hammered dulcimers to vocal samples on a Chamberlin tape organ to an early use of the Moog synthesizer on the title track. Farewell Aldebaran still defies classification, but has more than stood the test of time. This long-out-of-print album has now found a home; please say hello to Farewell Aldebaran.
- Horses on a Stick
- St. Nicholas Hall
- Three Ravens
- One More Time
- Farewell Aldebaran
- Merry-Go-Round (Horses on a Stick instrumental demo)
- Charity (instrumental demo)
- Zanzibar (Farewell Aldebaran instrumental demo)
- Moods For Cellos (Three Ravens instrumental demo)
- Divers Asleep (Rapture instrumental demo)