The Story of the Ghost
|The Story of the Ghost|
|Studio album by Phish|
|Released||October 27, 1998 (US)|
|Recorded||March 1997 - June 1998|
|Genre||Funk rock, neo-psychedelia|
Much of the album originated during large-scale improvisation sessions. The band then took favorite moments from those in-studio jams and wrote songs around them, adding lyrics from a book of writings by long-time Phish lyricist Tom Marshall. Additional excerpts from the improvisational "Ghost Sessions" were also later released as The Siket Disc.
A few of the album's songs reflect the band's 1997 "cow-funk" sound, with bass guitarist Mike Gordon taking a more prominent role. Much of the album, however, is defined by what Rolling Stone called an "unhurried vibe ... with airy, uncluttered grooves and relaxed vocals." Unlike Phish's previous albums, The Story of the Ghost does not include any instrumentals. "End of Session" is the only song on the album to have never been performed live.
Early incarnations of several tracks from the album can be heard on the 2000 release Trampled by Lambs and Pecked by the Dove, a collection of song sketches recorded by frontman Trey Anastasio and lyricist Tom Marshall.
"Birds of a Feather" and "Frankie Says" were both debuted live during the "Island Tour", a brief run of shows the band played while taking a break from recording the album in April 1998. All four nights of the "Island Tour" were later released as part of the LivePhish Series.
In 2000 during the promotion for Farmhouse, many interviews saw Anastasio citing a certain disdain for the process of creating The Story of the Ghost. He was critical of the band's "socialistic" approach to the song selection for the album. "There were songs I thought should have gone on The Story of the Ghost album, that were better than the songs that got on there" Anastasio said in a 2000 interview. "if anyone didn't like a song it was out. But what happens with that approach is the material gets watered down. You end up with songs that everyone is fine with, but the best songs are usually those where one person is passionately for and one person really hates, because the best songs are those that arouse strong reactions".
Tom Marshall recalls that one of these stronger songs was omitted in favor of what he felt was a weaker track in "Fikus" 
- "Ghost" (Anastasio, Marshall) - 3:52
- "Birds of a Feather" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 4:15
- "Meat" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 2:39
- "Guyute" (Anastasio, Marshall) - 8:27
- "Fikus" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 2:21
- "Shafty" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 2:21
- "Limb by Limb" (Anastasio, Herman, Marshall) - 3:32
- "Frankie Says" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 3:07
- "Brian and Robert" (Anastasio, Marshall) - 3:03
- "Water in the Sky" (Anastasio, Marshall) - 2:29
- "Roggae" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 2:59
- "Wading in the Velvet Sea" (Anastasio, Marshall) - 4:30
- "The Moma Dance" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 4:28
- "End of Session" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell) - 1:54
From the band's website:
- Trey Anastasio - guitars, vocals, horn arrangement for "Birds of a Feather"
- Page McConnell - keyboards, vocals
- Mike Gordon - bass guitar, pedal steel, vocals
- Jon Fishman - drums, vocals
Additional Musicians and Production Staff
- Andy Wallace - producer, mixer
Recorded at Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, NY April - June 1998
- Chris Shaw - engineer
- Chris Laidlaw - assistant recording engineer
- Dave Grippo - saxophone on "Birds of a Feather"
- James Harvey - trombone on "Birds of a Feather"
- Jennifer Hartswick - trumpet on "Birds of a Feather"
- Heloise Williams - background vocals on "Birds of a Feather" and "Shafty"
Additional Recording Sessions: Bearsville Studios 3/11-15, 9/29-10/2, 1997
- John Siket - recording engineer
- Chris Laidlaw - assistant recording engineer
Dave O's Farmhouse 3/4-7, 4/7-11, 1998 Recorded by Phish and Andy Wallace
Mixed at Soundracks Studios, NY, NY June/July 1998
- Steve Sisco - assistant mix engineer
Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk July 1998
Pre-Production Digital Editing: John Billingsly
Management: John Paluska/Dionysian Productions
Production Assistance: Beth Montuori, Brad Sands
Technical Assistance: Paul Languedoc, Pete Carini, Kevin Brown, Brian Brown
Paintings by George Condo
Art Direction: Lili Picou
Project Management: Cynthia Brown and Jason Colton
- Gallucci, Michael (2011). "The Story of the Ghost - Phish | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- Kot, Greg (2011). "The Story of the Ghost by Phish | Rolling Stone Music | Music Reviews". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- Sessions at West 54th. Phish 10.20.1998 - David Byrne Interview (Part 2) Online. Accessed: August 30, 2011.
- Kot, Greg. Story of the Ghost Review Rolling Stone. October 5, 1998. Online. Accessed: August 30, 2011.
- Phish.net Song History: End of Session Online. Accessed: August 30, 2011.
- Geoffrey Himos. Farm Boy: Trey Anastasio Sows the Fields of Phish
- Randy Ray. The High Watermark with Tom Marshall and Trey Anastasio Part I