The Story of the Ghost

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The Story of the Ghost
Studio album by Phish
Released October 27, 1998 (U.S.)
Recorded March 11-15, September 29-October 2, 1997; April-June 1998, Bearsville Studios
(Bearsville, New York, U.S.)
Additional sessions:
March 4-7, April 7-11, 1997,
Dave O's Farmhouse
Genre Funk rock, neo-psychedelia
Length 49:51
Label Elektra
Producer Andy Wallace
Phish chronology
Slip Stitch and Pass
(1997)Slip Stitch and Pass1997
The Story of the Ghost
Hampton Comes Alive
(1999)Hampton Comes Alive1999
Singles from The Story of the Ghost
  1. "Birds of a Feather"
    Released: 1998
  2. "Wading in the Velvet Sea"
    Released: 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[2]

The Story of the Ghost is the seventh official studio album by American rock band Phish. It was released by Elektra Records on October 27, 1998.

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.[3] 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."[4] Unlike Phish's previous albums, The Story of the Ghost does not include any instrumentals. "End of Session" was performed live for the first time on July 25, 2017. [5]

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", "Frankie Says", and "Shafty" (the latter song a reworking of Phish original "Olivia's Pool") were all 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".[6]

Tom Marshall recalls that one of these stronger songs was omitted in favor of what he felt was a weaker track in "Fikus".[7]

In February 2009, The Story of the Ghost was made available as a download in FLAC and MP3 formats at

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Ghost" Anastasio, Marshall 3:52
2. "Birds of a Feather" (Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 4:15
3. "Meat" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 2:39
4. "Guyute" Anastasio, Marshall 8:27
5. "Fikus" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 2:21
6. "Shafty" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 2:21
7. "Limb by Limb" Anastasio, Scott Herman, Marshall 3:32
8. "Frankie Says" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 3:07
9. "Brian and Robert" Anastasio, Marshall 3:03
10. "Water in the Sky" Anastasio, Marshall 2:29
11. "Roggae" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 2:59
12. "Wading in the Velvet Sea" Anastasio, Marshall 4:30
13. "The Moma Dance" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 4:28
14. "End of Session" Anastasio, Fishman, Gordon, Marshall, McConnell 1:54


From the band's website:[8]


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 Soundtracks 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


  1. ^ Gallucci, Michael (2011). "The Story of the Ghost - Phish | AllMusic". Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (2011). "The Story of the Ghost by Phish | Rolling Stone Music | Music Reviews". Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Sessions at West 54th. Phish 10.20.1998 - David Byrne Interview (Part 2) Online. Accessed: August 30, 2011.
  4. ^ Kot, Greg. Story of the Ghost Review Rolling Stone. October 5, 1998. Online. Accessed: August 30, 2011.
  5. ^ Song History: End of Session Online. Accessed: August 30, 2011.
  6. ^ Geoffrey Himos. Farm Boy: Trey Anastasio Sows the Fields of Phish
  7. ^ Randy Ray. The High Watermark with Tom Marshall and Trey Anastasio Part I
  8. ^

External links[edit]