My Sweet One
Vocals: Mike, Page, Trey
Historian: Ellis Godard
Written as Phish was expanding its territory from being a Northeast bar band, “My Sweet One” mixes the best of Phish’s lighter side: authentic bluegrass riffs, a hint of country twang, syncopated vocals, silly lyrics, and sincere emotion. Word of that mix (and the band’s name) was spread far away from its geographic base, and engendered a mutual respect between band and audience even in places it had not yet played.
The song reached its clear peak during the extensive touring of 1991, when they played it nearly 71 times in roughly 118 shows, more than twice as frequently as in 1990 or 1992. A sign of the band’s growth, during which mutual respect may have become less evident, “My Sweet One” slipped quickly from setlists, played only thrice in 1995 (6/15, 12/2, and 12/14) and once each in 1997 (12/31, after a substantial movement on the net to push for the song’s return), 1998 (7/20), and 1999 (7/17). Notably, of the five post-hiatus performances thus far, three were in California.
For an essentially composed (yet not terribly complex) song, there are many interesting versions. A number of versions have differed from the studio Lawn Boy track, including six acoustic (5/25/94, 6/19/94, 6/22/94, 7/5/94, 11/3/94 and 11/1/09), one with John Popper on harmonica (3/3/90), and three with Secret Language signals (two signals on 5/16/92, three on 8/11/93, and five on 3/27/92). Additionally, the song has often had interesting placement, segued nicely out of “Tela” (9/25/91), into “Big Ball Jam” (beginning with six shows in December 1992), out of “Vibration of Life” (12/7/92), both out of and into “AC/DC Bag” (10/22/89 and 4/7/90, respectively), inside a monster “Antelope” (11/30/94, with some “snoring”), inside “I Didn’t Know” (6/14/94, with an actual picture of Otis Redding displayed), and into “Tweezer” (7/8/03).
Other memorable versions include 5/24/90 (preceding the first known “Horn,” on the first Southeast tour), 4/16/91 (segued out of the “Crew Football Theme Song,” which combined its drumbeat with a demented “Barracuda”), 7/14/91 (with a tease of the Bonanza theme), 10/15/91 (a cappella during the soundcheck), 11/9/91 (initially as gospel with no drums), 3/25/92 (a show full of sweetness), 4/15/92 (with Fishman bowing for his songwriting), 12/31/94 (interrupted by delivery of the over-sized hot dog), and an encore performance on 9/17/90 with Russell Flanagan on fiddle.