Backwards Food for Backwards Folks

Originally Performed ByTrey Anastasio
Music/LyricsAnastasio, Marshall
Last Update2015-06-07


"Backwards Food" was composed in 2003 during the "Spices era" by Trey and Tom Marshall in the midst of a songwriting marathon. Many songs were composed in this furiously creative time, songs that eventually would be performed by Phish, and/or released on Phish's Undermind.

Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, “Backwards For for Backwards Folks”

A melodically enchanting song, the lyrical passages of which seem to confound meaning, "Backwards Food" has never been performed by Phish. It circulates widely on a collection of studio recordings referred to as "The Flotsam Five," and as filler on a copy of "A Christmas Gift From Trey" on "Backwards Food" features Trey on an acoustic guitar and vocals, with Mike assisting on the "Backwards food for backwards folks" vocals – that partially overlap with Trey singing "Leave and don't ask why" – during the song's mesmerizingly repetitive coda.

At some point, Trey wrote the lyrics of "Rose Alone," and recorded them over the music of "Backwards Food," also adding an instrumental coda. "Rose Alone" appears on Trey's 18 Steps album, distributed as a bonus disc that accompanied pre-orders of his Bar 17 album, released in October 2006. Similar to "Backwards Food," "Rose Alone" briefly but beautifully features different lyrics – specifically, the lyrics "another winds" and "Southern seas" – being being sung by Trey and a female vocalist (identity currently unknown) simultaneously over each other, making them a bit difficult to hear. The instrumental coda of "Rose Alone" features piano and violin, among other instruments, and is quite unusual for a Trey studio track. 

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