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Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart

Funky Bitch

Music/Lyrics: Son Seals

Vocals: Mike; Son Seals (7/17/99, 10/3/99)

Original Artist: Son Seals

Original Album: Live and Burning (1978)

Albums: Hampton Comes Alive, At the Roxy, Live Phish 06, Live Phish 09, Live Phish 18, Coral Sky, Alpine Valley, The Egg

Debut: 1986-12-06

Historian: Mockingbird Staff

Last Update: 2011-07-12

Some say that the ultimate compliment for an artist is when another musician covers his or her material. Son Seals took it one step further: after joining Phish for a cover of his song “Funky Bitch,” he invited Trey to join him on a new studio rendition (released on the 2000 album Lettin’ Go). Sadly, Son Seals passed away in 2004, at the age of 62.

Some of the band’s most memorable takes on “Funky Bitch” have been as much for the atmosphere and surroundings as for the music. Fans remember fondly the fireworks that lit up the Maine sky during The Great Went “Bitch” on 8/16/97. And Phish turned a strange situation into a humorous one on 12/30/96, when the arena P.A. system cut out during “Bitch” and the band hammed it up on stage to keep the crowd entertained while technicians scrambled to fix the equipment. Otherwise, though, “Funky Bitch” remains a fan favorite (see 7/1/95, where Trey talks about how often the song is requested) while never straying too far from its bluesy progression. It does, however, allow each member of the band to show off their chops while Mike sings a high-pitched lament of his lover’s fickle ways.



"Funky Bitch" 11/15/96 St. Louis, MO (with John Popper)

But “Funky Bitch” has been more than just a quick blues number, or a novelty act for guests. On a select few occasions, the song has been a monster jam vehicle. Pick up 11/22/94 (or Live Phish 18, which includes the version as filler) for an insane, free-form jam that sprung from the ending of an otherwise normal “Funky Bitch,” and 11/30/97 for an unfinished version that jammed into new territories. Round out your collection with 7/28/98, with an ending akin to “Black-Eyed Katy.” Those looking for rare, obscure versions should try their hand at some circulating soundchecks, as “Funky Bitch” was a frequent soundcheck number in the ‘90s. Two notable versions are 5/5/93 (“Poor Heart” and “Funky Bitch” intermingled) and 8/24/93 (sung in the vein of Midnight Oil, complete with “Beds are Burning” lyrics). Also notable is that Mike has featured “Funky Bitch” in his solo shows, first on 11/16/10 in Minneapolis and then semi-regularly thereafter. 

The list of special guests that have joined Phish for “Funky Bitch” reads like an All-Star lineup from jamband heaven. In addition to members of Son Seals’ band (7/10/97), and, as mentioned, Son Seals himself (7/17/99 and 10/3/99), other special guests on “Funky Bitch” include John Popper (3/3/90 & 11/15/96), Carlos Santana, Raul Rekow, and Karl Perazzo (7/25/92), Jimmy Herring (2/19/93), Sugar Blue (4/10/93 and 10/3/99), Warren Haynes (12/11/95), Peter Apfelbaum (11/30/96), Dave Grippo and James Harvey (3/18/97), LeRoi Moore (7/21/97), Derek Trucks (7/7/99), and Michael Ray (9/9/00). 



"Funky Bitch" 10/31/10, Atlantic City, NJ

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GitDown Reply
I'm also curious about the lyrics. What's printed looks like an interpretation of what Mike may actually sing, but when I listen to Son Seals do it, it sounds like he says, "Lord, now I'm stranded now" as opposed to "Lord, now I'm standing there". Also, instead of "'Cause I'm alone down here," it sounds like Son sings, "'Cause of a lowdown dirty..."

It also sounds like both Mike and Son sing "She's riding all the boys in town", not gotten.
Score: 1
GitDown Reply
Of huge significance [and phish.net boys, feel free to delete this comment if you update your entry] is the soundcheck version of 6.8.11, one that spawned the tour-long running joke of "WHAT?!" It's got great potential from the get-go because it's slowed down and particularly funky, but then Mike (with help from Trey) embarks on a hilarious band inside joke at someone else's expense. This then leads to the epic Dream On of Two Zealands (call it What You Will... or is that In A Hole? But I digress...).
Score: 1
concertconfessions Reply
Hello,

I shot the 8/5/10 video of Funky Bitch found in this history. As you can also see, my YouTube account was deleted. Over the next few days I will be re-uploading my vids from the Greek last summer. Here is the link to Funky Bitch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCoMeWrf-n8

Best,

Justin Watt
concertconfessions.com
Score: 1
larvalcraze Reply
larvalcraze Camp Oswego with Son Seals was beautiful!
Score: 0
nichobert Reply
nichobert Mike definitely sings "cuz of a lowdown dirty..." Also
Score: 0
mscerbo Reply
Phuckin SICK!!!!
Score: 0
Kheldar Reply
The version from 11-4-90 is THE definitive Bitch.
Score: 0
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