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Ultimate Spinach - Behold And See CD (album) cover


Ultimate Spinach


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.84 | 37 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars There are many albums and bands that are ignored that are very good. The reason is many reasons: the press and the general audience doesn't understand what they're doing, the label doesn't have the budget to promote their artists or sometimes have it distributed where it's widely and easily available. Ultimate Spinach suffered due to press hype. Seems Alan Lorber wanted to promote Boston as the next "new thing", the East Coast Haight-Ashbury. MGM labelmates Beacon Street Union and Orpheus suffered the same fate. Indirectly another Boston band called The Listening also suffered a similar fate, but they weren't on MGM, they were on Vanguard. Apparently Alan Lorber's ego was so big he pressured his bands to play a certain way to capture that psychedelic sound that he wanted (members of Ultimate Spinach complained that Lorber wanted them to sound more like a San Francisco band, probably Jefferson Airplane because they too had a female vocalist). Behold & See was Ultimate Spinach's second album, released later in 1968. Listening to this, you can see why that Bosstown hype blew up in its face. The album is actually quite good, although it has some questionable moments. It's the kind of album you know right away rock critics will not like. To my ears, the music on this album screams "middle class", especially the vocal delivery, and the church choir like singing on "Suite: Genesis of Beauty". I guess that "middle class" vibe this group gives off rubbed the critics the wrong way (they prefer rock music to have a more blue-collar attitude, more like Bruce Springsteen, but even many hard rock and metal acts were blue collar, and weren't liked by the critics). The great news is I can't compare them to any specific band. They have a female vocalist but you can't compare them to Jefferson Airplane. "Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos" and "Visions of your Reality" are more or less straight psych, may not appeal to the progheads, but they sure get much more adventurous on "Jazz Thing", which has a real nice jazzy thing going on (hence the song title). "Suite: Genesis of Beauty" is a strange suite with church choir like singing and more psychy passages, and a nice organ passage. "Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse" is pretty questionable with the use of cheesy harmonica. To be honest, when it comes for the "Boston scene", The Listening was better, but they weren't on MGM (as mentioned before), so didn't suffer directly from the press hype, but the hype didn't help anyways.

Now I see what this "Boston sound" that MGM was trying to push. There really wasn't anything to distinguish the scene from any countless psych albums across the country at the time. This album is a bit uneven, but for the most part still quite good. I'd rate it a three and a half.

Progfan97402 | 3/5 |


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