Various Artists

Sharin' in the Groove: Celebrating the Music of Phish

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This major two-disc set featuring tributes to Phish offers a particularly Phish-like twist to the tribute album equation. Instead of being performed by artists who Phish has influenced, the bulk of the tracks here come from Phish's own forerunners, including Tom Tom Club, Son Seals, Little Feat, the Wailers, John Scofield, and members of Los Lobos. The catch is that most of Phish's elders provide utterly straightforward and uncompelling interpretations, Scofield (who performs with DJ Logic) and Tom Tom Club being notable exceptions. The most successful tracks are performed by Phish's contemporaries, who are more than willing to disregard all but the environmental aspects of Phish's originals. As such, two tracks on the second disc are magnificent pieces of music in their own respect: Boredoms' "Free (End of Session Version)" and Lake Trout's sequence of "Faht >Catapult >Tweezer Reprise" (a trio of songs lifted from Phish's A Picture of Nectar). Also of note here, buried among the irrelevant music, is Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio's first foray into the world of orchestral music. His arrangement of "Guyute" (which contains elements of his earlier song "My Friend, My Friend") is performed by the Vermont Youth Orchestra, who transform the song into a wonderfully narrative piece which functions heartily in its new context, loosened from its original rock & roll moorings. The collection is cluttered but good-natured fun, especially for fans.

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