Rosebud by Rosebud on Apple Music

8 Songs


About Rosebud

The short-lived Rosebud has sometimes been classified as an outgrowth of the duo of Judy Henske and Jerry Yester, who did one album, the underrated cult classic Farewell Aldebaran, in 1969. In fact, although Henske and Yester were both key performers and songwriters in Rosebud, Rosebud was an entirely separate entity from Henske and Yester. It was in fact a group consisting of Henske, Yester, keyboardist/vocalist Craig Doerge, drummer/vocalist John Seiter (who had been in Spanky & Our Gang and the Turtles), and bassist David Vaught. Henske and Yester did write six of the ten songs on their sole album, Rosebud (1971); Judy Henske was the most prominent vocalist (as she should have been, since she was the best and most distinctive); and singer and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Yester produced. But other singers also took lead and backup vocals on the LP, and Doerge and Henske co-wrote the remaining four tunes. The confusion about whether Rosebud was a group was perpetuated by the artist billing, on the cover and spine, to "Jerry Yester, Judy Henske, Craig Doerge, John Seiter" (Vaught, a full member of the band, was left off as he joined after the album had been started).

Henske-Yester's Farewell Aldebaran was a neat, often terrific blend of psychedelia, folk-rock, art song, and just plain quirkiness, featuring Henske-Yester's melodic songwriting, Henske's versatile and powerful vocals, and Yester's imaginative production. A few of the songs on Rosebud are similar extensions of the Farewell Aldebaran's sound, but it would be a mistake to view this as a follow-up. There's much more of a standard easygoing L.A. early-'70s rock feel to both the songwriting and production, as well as an occasional country-rock touch. These tunes are much more ordinary fare than what Henske and Yester had crafted on their own, and although Henske again demonstrates her vocal excellence, those tracks on which she does not sing lead are again far more ordinary for her loss. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to make her the dominant or exclusive lead singer, but then Rosebud seems to have been consciously conceived of as a group effort, not Henske or Henske-Yester with backup musicians.

Any chance Rosebud might have had to make a commercial impact was scuttled when they broke up shortly after completing the album. This occurred in tandem with the breakup of Henske and Yester's marriage; to make matters more awkward, Henske married Craig Doerge shortly afterward. Although Henske retired from the music business for nearly 30 years after the Rosebud album, Yester continued to work as a producer (most notably for Tom Waits) and musician with reunion lineups of the Lovin' Spoonful and the Modern Folk Quartet, while Doerge became one of the top session musicians in Los Angeles. ~ Richie Unterberger

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