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Ultimate Spinach - Live At Unicorn Coffee House, Boston (1967)





Ultimate Spinach powstał w drugiej połowie lat sześćdziesiątych w Bostonie. Założył go wokalista Ian Bruce-Douglas - absolwent szkoły muzycznej. Grupa początkowo nazywała się Underground Cinema i grała mieszaninę rocka i muzyki dawnej. Podczas jednego z występów zauważył ich producent Alan Lorber i spowodował, że grupa (już pod nazwą Ultimate Spinach) podpisała kontrakt z wytwórnią MGM. W 1967 roku ukazała się pierwsza płyta nagranna na żywo w studiu. Zyskała sobie niezwykłą popularność w kręgach psychedelicznej młodzieży i bardzo dobrze się sprzedawał. Drugi album "Behold and See" zespół nagrał w 1968 roku i była kontynuacją muzycznych pomysłów z pierwszej płyty. Jeszcze przed ukończeniem nagrań grupę opuszcza jej założyciel i lider Ian Bruce-Douglas, perkusista Keith Lahteinen oraz basista Richard Nese i gitarzysta Geoffrey Winthrop. Ze starego składu pozostała tylko wokalistka i gitarzystka Barbara Hudson. Miejsce brakujących muzyków weszli członkowie równolegle działającej grupy Chameleon Church. Muzyka odrodzonego Ultimate Spinach praktycznie w niczym nie przypominała już tej z dwóch pierwszych płyt. Słychać to na ostatnim albumie w 1968 roku - Ultimate Spinach III. I tak grupa zakończyła swoje istnienie. Prezentowana płyta "live" pochodzi z najlepszego okresu działalności.

  • Ian Bruce-Douglas - vocal
  • Barbara Hudson - vocal, guitar
  • Keith Lahteinen - drums
  • Richard Nese - bass
  • Geoffrey Winthrop - guitar
Ultimate Spinach was a psychedelic/ hard rock/ blues 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). Since 1970 the band have largely abandoned the psychedelic sounds and have (since at least 1975) dropped all of the '60's songs from their setlists (with the exception of 'Ballad Of The Hip Death Goddess' and a few from the third album).

The Ultimate Spinach, comprised 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 a "Boston Sound" was more a publicity stunt than a legitimate artistic movement, and the Bruce-Douglas version of the band tends to be remembered for its name. The music is largely forgotten. Despite suffering claims of dishonesty, they published quite technically sophisticated but also musically dull albums. On Ultimate Spinach (MGM, 1968) the standout cuts are the suite "Ballad of the Hip Death Goddess", with an instrumental interval for theremin (an early electronic instrument), feedback and reverberation, and the psychoanalytic folk-blues "Ego Trip". They were taken to court by Country Joe McDonald for having copied "Section 43" in their "Sacrifice of the Moon". Also "Pamela" is reminiscent of Country Joe's "Grace".

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 And See (MGM, 1968). Jazz Thing and Mind Flowers experimented with even more unusual tempos and atmosphere, while the graceful "Gilded Lamp Of The Cosmos" exemplifies the best of their psychedelic folk ballads. (Note: Big Beat's re-release of Behold And See omits "Visions of your Reality". In addition, it liberally edits other cuts, and thus should not be considered a true re-release, if anyone cares). A third album was recorded, but the only original member was Barbara Hudson. One of the musicians who played on the album was guitarist Jeff Baxter, future session man for Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers. This album is superior to the two before it, largely leaving behind the dated psychedelic effects that characterised the Bruce-Douglas period and developing a sound reminiscent of such acts as The Byrds, The Monkees and the '68-era Beach Boys.

Upon release of the 2nd album, Ian Bruce Douglas was fired by his own management and members of his band. The reason being two fold. First, none of the band members who played on that album were given a credit. Second, Ian was becoming more and more beligerent, insanely egotistical, and unreliable with psychotic and violent episodes. A new band was formed with only Russ Levine and Barbara Hudson as standing original members. Tony Scheuan, Ted Myers, Mike Levine and Jeff Baxter were also added.

In 1970 the band reformed with no original members and have continued to this day, performing (generally in the Oregon area) and releasing several independent albums. This band, while arguably superior to the '60's outfits, has always remained underground and in recent years Bruce-Douglas has derided their existence.

Years later Bruce-Douglas joined the Azlbrax, with whom he released In The Valley Of The Shadow (Intergalactic, 1988). (60s-classic-rock.com)



The first mistake I as a "virgin" bandleader made was that someone would introduce me to a guy who happened to play guitar and I would say "You play guitar? Cool! Wanna play in a band I'm putting together?" With the exception of Barbara Hudson...who I had heard play at an open mic at the UNICORN COFFEEHOUSE, in Boston...I had never heard any of these people play and I didn't have the sense to audition them or "feel out" their personalities beforehand. The drummer, Keith, was the brother of the local record store owner on Cape Cod, where I was living at the time. He, essentially, introduced me to the guitarist and bassist. Keith was a very nice, mellow, easy-going guy...and he played pretty well, too. Unfortunately, he had the good sense to leave the band right after we recorded the first album. Barbara was okay, too. However, I had nothing but problems with the guitarist and bassist. They were a couple of Cape Cod rednecks who played in country bands on weekends. They wanted no part of the Hippie Movement, didn't smoke cannabis or take LSD and had absolutely no concept of the psychedelic images I was trying to create. We nearly came to blows on a number of occasions and were on the verge of collapse when we were "discovered". In a word: I was sincere...if inexperienced...and was doing it for the passion and joy of creating and making music...well, maybe the sex and drugs were part of it, too! They, however, were only in it for the money. To put it mildly, there was something of a "culture shock" between me and the rest of the band. In fact, it ALWAYS seemed to be about "me against them"...and, having had a few really joyful bands since then, I know that it doesn't have to be this way...even if the band has a strong-willed leader, like me. I have always called my bands "benevolent dictatorships" since I reserve the right to make all decisions as I see fit...but, in my best bands, we have always shared a lot of laughter along with the hard work and as my respect and appreciation for my musicians grows, we tend to become friends outside the band and I end up considering their feelings whenever I make those decisions. In a word ULTIMATE SPINACH was a VERY bad mistake...even if it got me my "15 minutes of fame"! (100mirrorsproject.blogspot)

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3 komentarze:

Ankh pisze...

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Anonimowy pisze...

Hello and greetings from France. Thanks a lot for this share, I wasn't expecting to hear Ultimate Spinach live on day... what a great surprise !

Anonimowy pisze...

Superb. More people should hear this. Can we buy it anywhere ?

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