Don't You Want To Go?
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Original Artist: The Meditation Singers
Original Album: Don't You Want To Go? (1966)
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
The Voters for Choice benefit in Lowell, MA was a heck of a way to kick off the year in Phish for 1995. No less than ten songs were debuted on that evening, including future repertoire fixtures "Theme From the Bottom" and "Free."
The first of these debuts was a cover of the comparably obscure "Don't You Want To Go?" from the little known but highly respected gospel act The Meditation Singers. An adaptation of an African American slave spiritual "The Gospel Train," The Meditation Singers' version maintains the call and response of the traditional but replaces the earnest religious refrains ("she's loaded with bright angels / don't you want to go?" – "King Jesus is the captain / don't you want to go?" with a decidedly lighter and secular approach ("I got my chickens ready! / Don't you want to go?").
Phish stood little chance to match the power and intensity of the original gospel version, but they offered respectable renditions at a handful of shows after the Lowell debut, dropping the song from the repertoire after the 9/28/95 gig at the Summer Pops in San Diego, CA.
The Meditation Sisters, "Don't You Want To Go?"