Edited by guitarist Trey Anastasio in the late '80s, this compilation of early demos and four-track experiments was sold by the band at early performances. After going out of print, the collection (known as The White Tape) informally circulated among fans for years before being officially released by the band in 1998. The band itself only appears on five of the disc's 16 tracks ("Alumni Blues," "You Enjoy Myself," "AC/DC Bag," "Dog Gone Dog," and "Letter to Jimmy Page"). The rest of the album is comprised of songs recorded by Anastasio and his high school friends (including future Phish collaborator and Amfibian founder Tom Marshall and the Dude of Life, with whom Phish would record 1991's Crimes of the Mind) as well as several tongue-impaled-in-cheek cuts created by bassist Mike Gordon. The music is decidedly amateurish, but contains a certain charm that comes only with recordings made in dorm rooms and suburban basements. Pieces such as "Fluff's Travels" and the vocal-only arrangement of the future Phish standard "You Enjoy Myself" hint at the complexity the band would soon embrace and invest the album with a historical interest.
The White Tape Review
by Jesse Jarnow