Original Artist: Kool and the Gang
Original Album: Wild and Peaceful (1973)
Historian: Martin Acaster
"Jungle Boogie" was one of three tracks on Kool and the Gang’s album Wild and Peaceful that made an impact on both the pop and R&B charts, thereby initiating their run of nineteen Top 40 hits. “Jungle Boogie” marked the band’s transition from their vocally minimalist soul-slide roots into the funk-laden disco hit machine that was responsible for “Ladies Night” and “Celebration.” Considering their jazz quartet origin (The Jazziacs), Kool and the Gang’s subsequent collaborations with both Deodato and Michael Ray, and the influence that “the funk” has had on Phish, it is hard to believe that it took over twenty years for Phish to finally “get down, get down” to playing a Kool and the Gang cover.
Perhaps, based on the placement of its debut as the song chosen to ring in 2004 in Miami, it could be proposed that Phish was waiting for an interesting time, place, and style of accompaniment to “knock with the Jungle Boogie.”
Previous Pork Tornado performances of “Jungle Boogie” had typically culminated in mobs of willing young ladies ascending to the stage to “get down with the boogie,” “shake it,” and help Fishman “feel the load”; the Phish debut instead featured the Miami Palmetto Senior High School marching band, a psycho bunny-headed mascot, and an auxiliary corps who helped us to “feel the heat” by emerging from a fluorescently flamed-out Mini Cooper that had been lowered to the stage. Much like the original recording of the tune, reproductions of this New Year’s Eve surprise reportedly don’t quite capture the moment of the live spectacle; which, in keeping with the song’s role in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, was definitely “the Royale with Cheese!”
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