Band members               Related acts

- Bo (Ray) Gooliak -- bass, backing vocals (1973-)

- Bill Rice - bass, backing vocals (1973-74)

- Steve Newbold -- bass, guitar, backing vocals (1973-83)

- Pat Smith -- keyboards (?)

- Mark Tribby -- vocals, bass, guitar, backing vocals


- David Zerfas -- vocals, drums, percussion, guitar


- Herman (Brian) Zerfas -- vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar





- The Elders (Pat Smith)

- Ray Gooliak (solo efforts)

- Jubal (David and Herman Zerfas)

- The Knightsmen (Mark Tribby)

- Peddler (Bo Gooliak)






Genre: psych

Rating: 5 stars *****

Title:  Zerfas

Company: 700 West

Catalog: LH 730710

Year: 1973

Country/State: Indianapolis, Indiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: Radioactive reissue #533 of 1000

Available: not available for sale

GEMM catalog ID: --

Price: not available for sale


James Plummer's Radioactive Records was one of those 'gray area' reissue labels.  Before going under in 2006 the label apparently paid royalties to some artists, but screwed far more outfits over.  That said, I'm not sure whether this band ever saw any money out of the company ...  If I were a betting man, I'd say no.  Assuming the Radioactive release was a boot that puts people in the tough position of having to shell out some big bucks for an original copy, waiting for an approved reissue, or temporarily abandoning their morals in order to check the music out. It's not much of a personal defense, but I actually bought a couple of Radioactive releases after I saw a full page ad they'd placed in a nationally distributed music magazine.  I mistakenly thought that a company with such a blatant ad campaign must be legitimate.  (You'll also notice that my Radioactive copy of the LP isn't for sale.)  


Brothers Dave and Herman Zerfas started their professional recording career as members of the Indiana-based band Jubal.  By 1973 the band had morphed into Zerfas, in the process recording an album that I'd easily categorize as a true lost classic.  Released by Moe Whittemore, Jr.'s 700 West label, 1973's "Zerfas" stood as one of those rarities - an album that came close to living up to the collector hype surrounding it and probably one of a handful of albums that I'd consider paying the asking price in order to own an original copy.  Produced by Whittemore, Jr. with four of the five members contributing material, the album's gained a Beatlesque reputation over the years.  That's normally a mixed blessing and while not entirely accurate in this case, the Zefras brothers had clearly listened to their share of mid and late-era Fab Four.  The album's also regularly slapped with a psych label which I find somewhat misleading.  I've listened to the album dozens of times over the years and while 'The Piper' is psychedelic and there are occasional psych studio effects including the opener 'You Never Win' which started with an interesting bit of backward tape manipulation before kicking into the tuneful organ propelled garage rocker, the bulk of the set has always struck me as being surprisingly commercial.  So what were the highlights?   Six of the eight tracks were exceptionally good.  With a dazzling fuzz guitar and inspired lead vocal from bassist Mark Tribby (who was supposedly reluctant to sing lead) 'The Sweetest Part' demonstrated the band were equally comfortable working in a country-rock arena.  Apparently written during their Jabul days, 'I Don't Understand' started out with a slice of studio insanity before switching over to a pretty, if stark Badfinger/Emmitt Rhodes/McCartney-styled ballad.  The song was also worth hearing for what may have been the album's best guitar solo. With a killer melody, glistening group harmonies and a touch of studio experimentation (I've always loved the way the cheesy synthesizer snuck in) the side one closer 'I Need It Higher' found the band taking a stab at a more commercial sound.  You had to scratch your head and wonder how this one wasn't a major radio hit.  Best of all was 'The Piper' which actually managed to mix pop, rock, psych, and progressive moves into a wonderful slice of music.  That left one track up in the air (the experimental 'Fool's Parade' - complete with 'mushroom soup' belches) and two tracks that were marginal - 'Stoney Wellitz' which sported a bouncy melody, but was plagued by a cheesy synthesizer and an irritatingly whiny lead vocal. Complete with ocean waves sound effects, 'Hope' was a mid-tempo piece that simply didn't make much of an impression on me one way or the other.  Those minor criticisms apart, as I said earlier, a lost treasure and one of the few LPs I'd even think about awarding 5 stars on my lame grading scale.


"Zerfas" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) You Never Win   (David Zerfas - Herman Zerfas) - 

2.) The Sweetest Part   (David Zerfas - Mark Tribby) - 

3.) I Don't Understand   (David Zerfas - Herman Zerfas - John McCormick) - 

4.) I Need It Higher   (David Zerfas) - 


(side 2)
1.) Stoney Wellitz   (David Zerfas - Herman Zerfas) - 

2.) Hope   (Bill Rice - Herman Zerfas) - 

3.) Fool's Parade   (David Zerfas - Herman Zerfas) - 

4.) The Piper   (David Zerfas - Steve Newbold) - 


In 1975 the Zerfas brothers resurrected Jubal, keeping the nameplate (The Jubal Band) alive via a heavy Southeast touring schedule through 1983.  Based on information from Whittemore's entertaining 700 West website the band also recorded quite a bit of post-LP material including a club demo of then-popular hits and at least one album's worth of new material for an album that was suppose to be entitled "Winds of Change". Additional demo tapes were apparently lost when the Atlanta, Georgia studio they working in caught fire.


The album's been reissued a couple of times.  In 1999 the European Atlas label released a bootleg copy of the LP (Atlas catalog number 730 710 16). In  2004 Radioactive reissued the album in vinyl (Radioactive catalog RRLP050) and CD formats (catalog RRCD050).  From a technical standpoint the Radioactive reissues are of mediocre quality.  If you can't afford an original (hard to believe you don't have $400 - $500 lying around for something like this), the one to buy is Stan Denski's 1994 Or release.  A legitimate, band approved project, 500 copies were pressing, though reportedly about a third were defective.  The reissue carried the 700 West logo and was virtually identical to the original except for a 1994 copyright date and the fact it came with a bonus poster (designed by Denski), a promo photo and a third insert that provided information on the band.  Yes, I have a copy and no it isn't for sale.





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