Ultimate Spinach was founded in 1967 under the name of 'Underground Cinema' as the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ian Bruce-Douglas. The same year the band changed their name to 'Ultimate Spinach' and recorded their first record for MGM, produced by the ambitious Alan Lorber.
Lorber created together with MGM the marketing concept of the 'Boston Sound' (later 'Bosstown' sound) to propose (and sell) an alternative to the West-coast bands. The three Boston bands starting that "movement" were Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus and The Beacon Street Union.
These bands, all produced by Alan Lorber, had musically not much in common and 'Ultimate Spinach' was the most interesting band to come out of this hype. Their first self-titled record, inspired by West-coast bands like The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, presented an original mixture of psychedelic rock, folk and classical music.
All lyrics and music were written by leader Ian Bruce-Douglas. 'Ultimate Spinach' privileged long elaborated suites, alternating instrumental passages, poetry and multipart vocals (the voice of Barbara Hudson reminding Grace Slick and Sonja Kristina) with original arrangements, including flutes, sitar, harpsichord and the electronic Theremin instrument.
The record sold well, but the band was a victim of the hype and got negative critics by the press. The second record "Behold and See" was released in 1968 and followed the direction of the first with tighter tracks and the same overall quality.
At the end of 1968 the band was reformed with Bruce-Douglas keeping only singer Barbara Hudson, but finally he left the band prior to the recording of the third self-titled 'Ultimate Spinach' record, leaving Barbara Hudson as the only original member.
The record moved away from the psychedelic sound of the first two records and consisted of mainstream rock songs. 'Ultimate Spinach' recorded some of the most original psychedelic rock records. (Martin Horst)
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