Hot Tuna's first album made after the breakup of Jefferson Airplane found Jorma Kaukonen taking a firm hand: he's the author of nine out of 10 songs. The walking tempos and familiar soaring, psychedelic guitar solos are in place, but much of the music is given over to Kaukonen's reflective lyrics, sung in his matter-of-fact voice, and there are strings on a couple of tracks. Although the approach would produce Kaukonen's most impressive record the following year when he made the acoustic solo album, and although critics have pointed to The Phosphorescent Rat as among Hot Tuna's better efforts, the group's fans, devoted as they were to its extended versions of blues standards, seem to have been unimpressed: the album was Hot Tuna's lowest charting among those released during its 1970-1978 heyday. Probably a lack of enthusiasm at RCA, due to the demise of Jefferson Airplane, didn't help in the album's promotion, either.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann