a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

Camel Walk

Music/Lyrics: Jeff Holdsworth

Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)

Albums: Colorado '88, Live in Vegas

Debut: 1984-11-03

Historian: Ellis Godard (lemuria)

This is an original Jeff Holdsworth composition for Phish, one of the two (with “Possum”) that Phish still features in their repertoire. It is not to be confused with the Southern Culture on the Skids song of the same name but with a more country-fried freakabilly sound.

"Camel Walk" – 12/12/97, Albany, NY

Jeff Holdsworth (who sang lead on all versions prior to leaving Phish in ‘86) mysteriously introduced “Camel Walk” on 4/15/86, and fans will have to seek out that entertaining early show to find out what meaning he intended to impart with this dastardly tune. Fun early versions include 10/17/85, 10/15/86, 8/21/87, and 2/24/89 (“see those humps a movin’”). Following a dwindling of appearances in the late ‘80s, the song disappeared altogether for six years and 755 shows, not showing up again until the classic 7/2/95 Sugarbush show. 

Though more or less faithful to early incarnations, performances since Sugarbush have been at a more languid, oozing pace. They also lack Jeff’s brief, prog-rocky bridge, which the band attempted 2/26/97 but which adds some complexity at the expense of listening pleasure. Modern versions of note include 8/14/97 (“the funk is too thick!”), 12/12/97, 7/28/98, 7/24/99 (accompanied by the first “Alumni Blues” in five years), 7/29/03, 12/1/03 (featuring Jeff Holdsworth himself on guitar & vocals), 4/16/04 and 11/24/09

For a song both so long in the repertoire and comparably least-often played, 2010 was a genuine surprise as the most commonly played year in its history, including at high-profile gigs such as 7/4/10 Atlanta, 8/9/10 Telluride and 10/31/10 Atlantic City. 

"Camel Walk" – 10/31/10, Atlantic City, NJ

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