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Ultimate Spinach

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Boston, United States (1967 – 1969, 1970 – present)

Ultimate Spinach is an obscure ’60s Psychedelic/Hard Rock/Blues group from Boston, Massachusetts, similar to the likes of The Lost, Front Page Review, Country Joe & The Fish, Orpheus, Mandrake Memorial, Earth Opera, Boston Tea Party, The Beacon Street Union, and Jefferson Airplane.
Ultimate Spinach was formed in 1967 and comprised keyboardist/guitarist Ian Bruce-Douglas and singer Barbara Hudson.

The music is undeservedly forgotten. Despite suffering claims of dishonesty, they published technically sophisticated but also musically fascinating albums. On Ultimate Spinach (MGM, 1968) the standout cuts are “Ballad Of The Hip Death Goddess,” with an instrumental interval for theremin (an early electronic instrument), feedback and reverberation, the psychoanalytic folk-blues “Ego Trip,” the 4-part suite “Sacrifice of the Moon,” as well as “Your Head Is Reeling” and the Frank Zappa-esque — but less nasty than he typically was — “Plastic Raincoats.” While there was a rumor that Bruce-Douglas had been taken to court by Country Joe McDonald for having copied “The Masked Marauder” in his “Baroque #1,” this was pure fantasy.

More complex compositions such as the suite in four movements “Genesis Of Beauty” and “Fragmentary March of Green,” two pieces soaked in mysticism, enliven the second album Behold & See (MGM, 1968). The tracks “Jazz Thing” and “Mind Flowers” experimented with unusual tempos and atmosphere, while the graceful “Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos” exemplifies the best of their psychedelic folk ballads.

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