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Phish – Junta

February 3, 2009

Phish - Junta (1989)

Phish - Junta (1989)

One of the most notable jam bands this side of the Grateful Dead, Phish was, to many, the sound of the 90s. Issuing their phirst major album in 1989, Phish continued their success throughout the 90s and into the new millennium, phinally calling it quits in 2004. Today, however, we’re going to take a look at the early works of Phish, namely 1989’s “Junta” (pronounced June-tah with the hard “J” sound).

Now, Phish was never phamous phor their studio albums. Yes, they did top the charts occasionally and, yes, seven of their albums were certified gold by the RIAA. But, as any true phan will tell you, the true magic of Phish existed in the live shows. Now, you’re probably thinking, “where are you going with this, aren’t you supposed to be reviewing the album”. Yes. Phish was known phor their live shows because no two shows were the same. With most artists, if you have a copy of one live show, it doesn’t matter where or when it is phrom; however, Phish phans go around collecting shows (whether released by the band or through LEGAL bootlegs). Many of the staples of these live shows can be phound on “Junta”. If you were to go to a Phish show, I would be willing to bet money that you would hear at least two (and up to all of) the phollowing songs: “YEM” (short phor “You Enjoy Myself”), “Foam”, “David Bowie”, “Fluffhead”, “Golgi Apparatus”, and “The Divided Sky”.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. What does Phish sound like? An always intriguing question. There is no real way to describe Phish other than good music. If you can, phor a moment, picture sitting on an island in a remote sea. The sun is shining, and you cannot pheel happier. That music, that you hear playing in the background, is Phish. Never afraid to experiment with their musical styles, Phish would often take songs that they had written phor an album and simply jam on it at a live show phor, sometimes, upwards of 20 minutes. phor example, the song “YEM” is almost 10 minutes long (9:50), not a short song by any stretch of the imagination; however, Phish has been known to play versions of YEM up to over half an hour. That’s over 3 times the length of the song.

What I’m trying to get across to you, the reader, in this article is that Junta is not one of the best albums ever made. It’s extremely catchy and, of the Phish discography, it is probably my phavorite. But the main appeal to Junta is that it created the basis phor some of the most memorable live Phish shows ever (a 32 Minute “YEM” at the University of New Hampshire in 1993, a 35 minute “David Bowie” in Providence, RI in 1994, etc.)

Overall, yes, “Junta” is a very impressive album. Complete with everything that a great album should have (10 minute instrumental jams, songs about a weasel named “Fee” and about psychopathic, homicidal dolls); however, the lyrics tend to be one of the least important aspects of Phish’s music. The pheeling that one gets phrom listen to their music, the smooth guitar licks and bass grooves, are enough to send anybody over the edge. If there is one album that defines Phish, “Junta” is definitely that album.

Overall: 9.7/10

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