edie-sedgewick

(Sevens, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, pays tribute to the art of the individual song.)

I want you to listen to this song, so I’ll ask that you trust me and not let the following several sentences sway you from doing so.  The arrival of Ultimate Spinach’s 1968 debut album was derided by critics as nothing more than a Boston-based, commercially driven, cash-in project aping the recent West coast “psychedelia” craze. Or so we’re told. Ironically, for me, this has always added to the tracks appeal much in the same way I love the bubble-gum pop & rock one hit wonders of the 1950s and ’60s.  Sometimes there is real art to be found in the artifice — whether it is intentional or not.  It is true that the album from which this track is culled often feels thin and sounds more than a little Johnny-come-lately, but in the span of its eight minutes “(Ballad Of) The Hip Death Goddess” is a bizarre pre-fabricated gem.

A couple of years ago, while digging for information on the track, I discovered Little Hits, a (now defunct) music blog, that featured an edit of “..Goddess” shaving off a good four and half minutes.  In their post, the Little Hits gang described the essence of the track, stating “in hindsight, “Goddess”…sung by the chillingly seductive Barbara Hudson, sounds like a deadpan parody of psychedelic malarkey taken to a logical extreme.”  And that, for me, is exactly what makes the song so enjoyable.  Remember, this is early 1968 — this is the sound of a new sub-genre of rock music as seen through the lens of a group 3,000 miles away from its origins in the Haight of San Francisco.  Hudson’s vocals sound more Nico than Grace Slick, and if I didn’t know better would swear that guitar line was purloined from Van Morisson’s “T.B. Sheets.

“(Ballad Of) The Hip Death Goddess” has found its way onto several mixtapes over the years and makes semi-regular appearances on my radio show.  Someone needs to cover this. Maybe that someone is you.

Download:
MP3: Ultimate Spinach :: (Ballad of) The Hip Death Goddess (edit)
MP3: Ultimate Spinach :: (Ballad Of) The Hip Death Goddess
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7 Responses to “Sevens :: (Ballad Of) The Hip Death Goddess”

  1. While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I assure you that this is little more than musical drivel. By the way, would you care for a Jelly Baby?

  2. This is a totally cool post. I had no idea that my friends in college from the short-lived, but fantastically weirdo-psych Teenbeat band, Sexual Milkshake, were playing a cover when they released this song on their debut album, which came in a barf bag with little trip toys ….

  3. […] MP3: Ultimate Spinach :: (Ballad Of) The Hip Death Goddess Posted by Jake in Music, Pop on 08 18th, 2009 | no responsesHello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box(Sevens, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, pays tribute to the art of the individual song.) […]

  4. Teenbeat band, Sexual Milkshake – best band name I’ve heard all month.

  5. while i agree that yes-
    this is one of the best psych trax, EVER…
    from my favorite psych band, EVER…
    it should most definitely, NOT be covered.
    it should be left alone.
    dont mess with perfection.
    we all know whats happened to “love will tear us apart”
    lets not encourage that-
    k?
    thanx.

  6. Do you know how I can obtain one of the Sexual Milkshake barf bags? I collect such ephemera. Yes, really, check out my website.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  7. Why would anyone think that Boston’s “scene” was any more a concoction than San Francisco’s? The object was to be heard, make money and get high. Sure “Death Goddess” is pretentious, but so were many West Coast psych bands (Iron Butterfly,
    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Electric Prunes, Blue Cheer). The thrill was how their songs sounded under the influence of mind-expanding drugs, and believe me, Ultimate Spinach, especially “Death Goddess” worked real well. It was a nice mind journey, pretty well produced and righteously trippy. And don’t even get me started on Beacon Street Union.

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