Phish The Story of the Ghost
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- Released: October 27, 1998
- Label: Elektra / WEA
Rolling Stone - 10/29/98, pp.73-743.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...Phish still sounds fresh....they've moved beyond fancy finger exercises as their primary means of expression. With THE STORY OF THE GHOST, Phish affirm that songs, and not solos, are the soul of the jam."
Spin - 12/98, p.1736 (out of 10) - "...what these ambitious young hippies are best at--not unlike Dave Matthews and Primus--is gettin' jiggy with it, in the old-timey, Celtic barn-dance sense....There's some atonal jazz crap, but the music is not entirely shapeless..."
CMJ - 11/23/99, p.24"...the most well-crafted collection of its near 15-year-long career. Overall, GHOST is simpler and more immediate than the band's previous work..."
- 2.Birds of a Feather
- 7.Limb by Limb
- 8.Frankie Says
- 9.Brian and Robert
- 10.Water in the Sky
- 12.Wading in the Velvet Sea
- 13.The Moma Dance
- 14.End of Session
Phish: Trey Anastasio (vocals, guitar); Page McConnell (vocals, keyboards); Mike Gordon (vocals, bass); Jon Fishman (vocals, drums).
Additional personnel: Dave Grippo (saxophone); James Harvey (trombone); Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet); Heloise Williams (background vocals).
Engineers: Chris Shaw, John Siket, Phish, Andy Wallace.
Principally recorded at Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York between March 1997 and June 1998.
Personnel: Trey Anastasio (vocals, guitar, alto horn); Page McConnell (vocals, keyboards); Dave Grippo (saxophone); Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet); James Harvey (trombone); Heloise Williams (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Andy Wallace.
Recording information: Bearsville Sound Studios, Bearsville, NY (03/11/1997-06/??/1998); Dave O's Farmhouse (03/11/1997-06/??/1998).
Why does Phish have such an uncanny knack for constructing amazingly dynamic eight-minute jam-journeys upon a few verses about little animals with funny names? At times reminiscent of the darker songs on RIFT, THE STORY OF THE GHOST is a shadowy assembly of songs about dream-makers, phantom princes, listless wanderings and alienation. Let us not think, however, that Phish's wacky lyrics would mire us in the gloom of the pictures they paint. Just the opposite, they form the verbal thread through often fantastical musical situations that exude a magical feeling of limitlessness.
Building freshly on familiar formulas from the past, this is one funky album. Concert favorite "Guyute" (that's "gai-yoo-tee") opens with a tale of a strange, nasty pig, in a 7/8 meter that makes "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in 4/4 sound awkward. It quickly yields to an instrumental rhapsody that blazes with wild guitar-piano unisons. "Fikus" is just plain moody, with creeping bass, vocals with a whiff of Robert Wyatt, and a lonely bell in the background to boot. Mike Gordon's bass playing has arrived at being truly excellent, providing both ample grooves and melodic grit. If any of the band's more recent writing proved too pop-ish for some, this is surely a ripping return to their dreamy tie-dyed soul.
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