Summer ’91 and The Giant Country Horns

Arrowhead Ranch July 1991

Arrowhead Ranch w/ GCH July 1991

If we were to travel back 18 years in time this week, we would find ourselves in July of 1991, right in the middle of Phish’s famous summer tour with The Giant Country Horns.  Spanning only sixteen shows, Phish took local musicians Dave Grippo (alto sax), Russell Remington (tenor sax), and Carl Gerhard (trumpet) on the road for what was an exciting and musically divergent few weeks.

phish-summertour-91Taking their moniker from Giant Country White Bread, a brand of bread from New Hampshire, The Giant Country Horns were born.  Spicing up many standard compositions with horn arrangements that sounded completely natural- like they were meant to be there- the horns gave songs like “Gumbo,” “Cavern,” and “Suzy Greenberg” new life for this summer run.  In more open improvisational pieces, like “Tweezer,” “Mike’s” and “Stash,” the horn ensemble lent a darker feel of fusion to the jams, enhancing the band’s interplay and adding another layer on top of the textured jams.  This well-loved tour of early-era Phish started in their home town of Burlington, and culminated at Amy Skelton’s Farm in Auburn, ME for what would be the earliest foreshadowing of the Phish festival.

In addition to enhancing songs already in the band’s rotation, the addition of The Giant Country Horns also allowed Phish to break out some jazz tunes that had been shelved such as “Caravan” and “Flat Fee,” some new covers in The Doors’ “Touch Me” and Charlie Parker’s “Moose the Mooch,” and breakouts like “Frankenstein.”  The horn lineup certainly lent a jazzier feel to Phish’s early music, which was rooted in jazz tradition, itself.

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (M. Gordon)

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (M. Gordon)

Largely contained to the Northeast corridor, Phish’s 1991 Horns Tour did stretch all the way to Atlanta during a four-show southern dip between the festival-like weekends at Arrowhead Ranch in Parksville, NY and their finale at Amy’s Farm.  Though the members of The Giant County Horns would reappear in various incarnations come 1994 and beyond, it was this sixteen-show collaboration that was the central focus of Phish’s experiments with their horn section.

With Grippo, Remington, and Gerhard on the bus for the tour, the band’s onstage dynamic took new form.  Trey and the horns played off of each other dynamically, and the band, as a whole, took on a new sonic shape for these shows.  Often adding rhythmic lines as well as complementary lead melodies and psychedelic backdrops, the horns brought a whole new element to Phish’s music.  Trained in the jazz tradition, Phish easily blended with their guests, playing off of their musical ideas amidst jams as well allowing space for their composed accompaniment.  What resulted over the abbreviated tour was some of the most memorable music of Phish’s early years.

Phish Update - Summer 1991

Phish Update - Summer 1991

The Giant Country Horns appeared as a six-piece ensemble with Phish for a couple more shows in 1994 at Burlington’s Flynn Theatre (4.4) and New York’s Beacon Theater (4.15), and the band periodically featured different horn lineups through the years.  The Cosmic Country Horns- a six-piece lineup led by New Orleans’ Michael Ray, included Grippo, Gerhard, and some of his own Cosmic Crewe- joined the band for a few shows in 1994.  This lineup gave the music a more free-jazz / Sun-Ra feel rather than the more classic swing style of accompaniment of The Giant Country Horns.  Additionally, individual members of both groups have appeared with Phish over the years, including their landmark Remain In Light performance in which Grippo and Cosmic trumpeter, Gary Gazaway, joined the band for their defining set.  Grippo and Russell Remington would go on to become integral members of Trey’s solo band in later years, and friendships between the musicians still exist.  Will we ever see the return of the horns-  who knows?  But just as always in this Phishy world- anything is possible.

Below is an all-SBD compilation of highlights from Summer ’91 with The Giant Country Horns.  Check it out to hear a wholly different vibe to our favorite band.

DOWNLOAD “MINER’S PICKS: GIANT COUNTRY HORNS ’91” < TORRENT

DOWNLOAD “MINER’S PICKS: GIANT COUNTRY HORNS ’91” < MEGAUP.

1. “The Landlady” 7.23 Washington, DC II

2. “Tweezer” 7.21 Arrowhead Ranch, NY II

3. “Cavern” 7.23 II

4. “Magilla” 7.14 Townshend, VT II

5. “Split Open and Melt” 7.14 II

6. “Bathtub Gin” 7.14 III

7,8. “Oh Kee Pa > Suzy” 7.23 I

9. “Stash” 7.15 New Music Seminar, NYC, NY

10. “AC/DC Bag” 7.21 II

11. “Flat Fee” 7.23 I

12,13. “Dinner and a Movie > Gumbo” 7.23 II

14. “Frankenstein” 7.15

15,16,17. “Mike’s > Hydrogen > Weekapaug” 7.21 I

18. “Contact” 7.11 Burlington, VT E

19. “Caravan” 7.15

20. “Touch Me” 7.21 E

21. “You Enjoy Myself” 7.20 Arrowhead Ranch, NY II

22. “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars” 7.14 E

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 4.21.92 Eureka, CA SBD

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/01-Tweezer-SBD.mp3]

If you know this “Tweezer,” you love it, and if you don’t, take fifteen minutes of your time with some headphones and fall in love.  One of the most unique and sublime jams to come from the band’s amazing west coast run of Spring ’92, this “Tweezer” is musical nirvana- all surrounded by redwoods in Northern California.  This is an impeccable soundboard recording of one of my all- time favorite jams.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.14.91 Townshend Family Park, Townshend, VT SBD < TORRENT

7.14.91 Townshend Family Park, Townshend, VT, SBD < MEGAUP.

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (phish.com)

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (phish.com)

Here we have a three setter from the Summer of ’91, showcasing Phish and The Giant Country Horns in all their glory.  The horns joined the band for most of the second and third sets of this marathon show.  While the compilation gives you snapshots of the era, this is a portrait of the band during a very special tour.

I: Reba, Llama, The Squirming Coil, Golgi Apparatus, Guelah Papyrus, My Sweet One, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, The Sloth, I Didn’t Know, Possum

II: Suzy Greenberg, Caravan, The Divided Sky, Gumbo, Dinner and a Movie, Bouncing Around the Room, Split Open and Melt, Magilla, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

III: AC/DC Bag, The Landlady, Esther, Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, HYHU > Touch Me, Harry Hood

E: Contact, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars

With The Giant Country Horns for most of set II and III

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“Golgi” 7.20.91 Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY (partial)

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279 Responses to “Summer ’91 and The Giant Country Horns”

  1. pd Says:

    speaking of Gorge tickets, i just rec’d mine but can’t make the trip.. email me if interested for face & fees $255 for 2 2day passes or $510 for all 4 (8 tickets, 4 each night). soumyeahATyahooDOTcom

  2. Mugician Says:

    Walfredo, I haven’t even gotten my email yet.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    @walfredo…I got notice last night that mine are in the mail…guy I’m buying from recv’d them yesterday and is supposed to be shipping to me today. I…can’t…wait…

  4. butter Says:

    got my gorge from ticketbastard yesterday ups!

  5. wasmm Says:

    Anyone looking for a Friday gorge lawn for face & fees? i have it in hand.
    And Robear,
    If you’re writing to Devon DeJohn, he had agreed a few months ago to buy my gorge ticket but recently backed out.

  6. msbjivein Says:

    I still have an extra Hotel Room for red rocks. 1 king bed w/ sofabed @ Holiday Inn Express Littleton CO. $149 a night 30th-2nd
    If interested hit me up msbjivein@yahoo.com if I don’t hear anything I’m gonna cancel today.

  7. Robear Says:

    Probably beating a dead horse, but do any of you folks have any extra RR for any nights? I have mine, but need one each night for my lady friend. They will be her first shows.

  8. Robear Says:

    Maybe for Halloween, Phish could cover the above show, with the horns. jk

  9. Chalkdustin Says:

    Any of you WA natives know of good places to go rafting around the Gorge or on the way to Seattle? I don’t even know the major rivers in the area, but want to get all that I can out my time there. Any hiking suggestions would be great, too.

  10. Pence Says:

    Wow I just realized that the JOD and the DLOD are both SBDs. I cant wait to GOW and DL them to my HD. I think im running out of GBs though. FTW yes.

  11. Pence Says:

    I was driving in yesterday, and on jamon on sirius they played Mike’s version of Sweet Emotion. Why not Aerosmiths Toys in the attic, as the halloween album. To be honest havent heard the whole album, but I think thats a great song, and a cover that they can handle.

  12. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Aerosmith is playing the entire Toys in the Attic on their summer tour this year. It is one of the best of their albums, but I don’t think Phish would do it too.

  13. notkuroda Says:

    I may not use the PTBM lottery again. For one thing, the stupid policy of sending out tickets waaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy to close to showtime. I got my first run tickets on a thursday, left town on saturday for tour. Had to email them to make sure they were coming.
    Second, their customer service sucks. One of my tickets to Deer Creek DID NOT WORK! My friend ended up getting a miracle in to the show(lawn tix were everywhere). When I got back from vacation I emailed PTBM and asked for a refund. Some biotch asked for the barcode, then made the comment “I seriously doubt Deer Creek is going to have any records 10 days after the show”. I have emailed a couple of times after that, and received no response. I work in client service, and I really try to turn my back on businesses that care so little about their customers. I know my little boycott won’t hurt PTBM, but it’ll make me feel better.

  14. msbjivein Says:

    ^^^That Sucks!!

  15. SOAM Says:

    Aerosmith kinda blows-but more importantly-they are missing 2 band members for health problems and I think they cancelled the rest of their tour-if you can call 90 minute shows part of a tour.

    TTTTTTTT

    Toys–toys- toys

    in the attic-90 minute shows are like pre gig warm ups for our band

  16. guyforget Says:

    robear, i may have an extra for thurs and fri red rocks. i’ll know tomorrow.

  17. SOAM Says:

    Can’t believe a mail order ticket was rejected-was it raining before you went in-those bar scanners get fucked up in the rain-I WOULD FREAK OUT.

    I wonder if that duchey beeatch was one of Fishman’s wookettes on the rag?

  18. guyforget Says:

    i haven’t received my email confirm or any tix from PTBM. i am waiting on shoreline, gorge, MPP…

  19. albert walker Says:

    Never an Aerosmith fan but as their albums go Toys is pretty good

    gotta love the Mamma Kin probably there best song which was covered by G n R

  20. albert walker Says:

    I got my emails from stub hub for my red rocks so I think people have been getting there tix today

  21. guyforget Says:

    i can’t stand Aerosmith. the only thing good that ever came out of steven tyler was Liv

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Phish has jammed Sweet Emotion more than a few times. My favorite is definitely during the Bomb Factory second set from 1994. Amazing Tweezerfest.

  23. Robear Says:

    right on guyforget! robgale3 at g mail dot com

  24. notkuroda Says:

    SOAM, it wasn’t raining yet. I’m pretty sure that it was some kind of technical problem with the scanner used. I don’t care. I paid PTBM for a ticket that would give me entry into the show and they didn’t. To make it worse, they didn’t seem at all interested in helping me. Obviously there was no harm done in this situation, but I’m a stickler for service. I don’t like giving my money to people who act like they could care less whether I give it to them or not.

  25. Pence Says:

    Steven would prob. require no alcohol/drugs at the show if they agreed to let phish play it anyway.

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