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Ultimate Spinach was an American rock band, originally from Boston. In their '60's heyday they specialized in lengthy songs such as "Ballad of the Hip Death Goddess", from Ultimate Spinach (1968) and "Genesis of Beauty", from Behold And See (1968).
The Ultimate Spinach, composed of keyboardist/guitarist Ian Bruce-Douglas and singer Barbara Hudson was a band of Boston's alternative scene in the second half of the 1960s. The phenomenon of the "Bosstown Sound", (whose other top acts included the Beacon Street Union, also on MGM), was more a publicity stunt than a legitimate artistic movement.
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) and feedback and reverberation; the psychoanalytic folk-blues "Ego Trip"; the 4-part suite "Sacrifice of the Moon"; "Your Head Is Reeling"; and "Plastic Raincoats", somewhat in the style of Frank Zappa or the Velvet Underground.
More complex compositions, such as the suite in four movements "Genesis of Beauty" and "Fragmentary March of Green", two pieces soaked in mysticism, are included in the second album Behold And See (MGM, 1968). "Jazz Thing" and "Mind Flowers" experimented with even more unusual tempos and atmosphere, while "Gilded Lamp Of The Cosmos" exemplifies their psychedelic folk ballads. (A later re-release on the Big Beat label omits "Visions of your Reality" and makes liberal edits to other cuts.)
Upon release of the second album, Ian Bruce-Douglas quit Ultimate Spinach and a new band was formed with only Barbara Hudson as an original member. Tony Scheuren, Ted Myers, Mike Levine and Jeff Baxter were added and a third album was recorded. Jeff Baxter, who played guitar for the band, was later a member of Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers. This album leaves behind the psychedelic effects that characterized the Bruce-Douglas period and displayed a generic sound more reminiscent of such acts as The Byrds, The Monkees and the '68-era Beach Boys.
- Ultimate Spinach (1968)
- Behold & See (1968)
- Ultimate Spinach III (1969)
- Sacrifice of the Moon: Instrumental Music of Ultimate Spinach (2006)