|Originally Performed By||Al Green|
|Original Album||Al Green Is Love (1975)|
|Music/Lyrics||Green, Mabon "Teenie" Hodges|
|Historian||Ellis Godard (lemuria)|
When Al Green recorded the original, he was recovering from an assault with boiling grits by a girlfriend. Prior to the assault, he had released six albums, each with successively greater success, about getting together and working things out. Later, he would become ordained as a minister and then fade, in popularity and creativity, with a smaller series of Gospel albums about righteousness and absolution. But Al Green is Love came in the interim, a period of frustration and pain. Those emotions are hidden on this song behind an upbeat tempo, nursery rhyme cadence, and refrains of “I won’t let it get me down / turn my smile into a frown.” But the album marked a turning point, away from musical success.
“Rhymes” appropriately entered the Phish world with a series of performances by Mike Gordon’s band, with Scott Murawski handling lead vocals. Both the tempo and the uncertain emotions meld well with other parts of Mike’s quirky solo repertoire, such as the original “Only a Dream”, which has often followed it live.
Mike Gordon – “Rhymes” 12/28/08, Portsmouth, NH
Phish’s debut was a surprise breather during a solid first set filled with Phish classics, and hinted at the second set’s levity (“Mango”, “Halley’s”, “Meatstick”, and more). It’s always fun to hear Mike sing, and some fans hope for more assimilation of the solo repertoires into Phish’s active catalog. But Phish’s version, like that by Mike’s band, was about as flat and bland as Green’s – even the bridge (such as it is), where Trey’s guitar wanking pales even compared to Mabon “Teenie” Hodges on the original. It’s not worth throwing grits at; but one hopes, upon hearing it, that the performers will navigate the quirky respite and get back to what we loved about them.
Phish “Rhymes” 6/7/11, Mansfield, MA
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $750,000 to support music education for children – 210 grants in 43 states, with more on the way.