YEAR RELEASED: 1989
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: (Non-Phish Phreak Division) – You Enjoy Myself, Fluffhead.
LINEUP: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Mike Gordon, John Fishman
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The for-reals debut record by Phish, independently recorded and released on cassette, sets the modus operandi for the group.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Not being a Phish-head, I added their catalog into consideration into my library with a little trepidation. I do have a dislike for the self-indulgent and meandering ways of jam bands, and didn’t really know how Phish would handle themselves in the studio.
Welp, I was surprised.
Sure, there’s some noodling, and a couple songs aren’t my cuppa, but this is mostly tight, well recorded, and diverse. They have some serious chops, but unlike prog rockers they’re not taking themselves seriously. They sound like they’re having fun playing. It’s long but it’s a good listen.
NOTES & MINUTAE: This was released on cassette, and re-released on Elektra when Phish broke out. For a cassette only recording this sounds tremendous.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Elektra appended three tracks (two live, one studio), and well, um, they’re what I feared about jam bands. Fortunately, they’re bonus tracks from the cassette release so I can exile them with no regrets.
GRADE: B+: Much better than I thought it would be, and there are some really enjoyable moments even if I find a couple of songs tedious.