a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics


Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall

Vocals: Trey

Albums: Billy Breathes, The Clifford Ball

Debut: 1996-08-05

Historian: Martin Acaster

The fine art of communication comes in many forms. The one which sets humans apart from the other passengers aboard Noah’s Ark is the ability to “Talk.” Certainly many other species have audible communication. Some even appear to be able to send messages telepathically or through color changes. But no other form of communication can carry the depth of thought and emotion that we feel for each other, as well as a good conversation. The song “Talk” is one of frustration. Imagine a father trying to share his thoughts with a newborn child, or perhaps a sober individual trying to speak with a pseudo-extra-terrestrial being whose thoughts are surrounded by a cloud of mind altering chemicals. Sometimes our words just can’t get through the filter that surrounds the consciousness of a listener. “Talk” at times like these can feel cheap and meaningless.

“Talk” was one of several tunes (along with “Waste” and “Train Song”) from Billy Breathes that debuted in an acoustic mini-set format. The first performance of “Talk” was on 8/5/96 at Red Rocks. The acoustic mini-set made subsequent appearances at Deer Creek on 8/12/96 (without “Talk”) and the Clifford Ball on 8/16/96 (with “Talk”). Performances which followed in fall 1996 and both the spring and summer European tours in 1997 were stand-alone breathers performed in a sparse, predominantly percussion-free (perhaps a few cymbal taps) acoustic guitar, bass, and piano arrangement. “Talk” was played only once in 1998 (8/6/98 Atlanta), once in 1999 (Trey's solo performance at the Murat Theater on 5/4/99) and was left speechless until reappearing on 2/25/03 in Philadelphia. Trey also performed the song three times during solo shows in 2005 (4/26/05, 4/29/05, and 8/7/05). "Talk" was most recently performed in the encore to the Festival 8 acoustic set (11/1/09), in this instance with the delicate Fishman cymbal work confirmed.

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ucpete Reply
ucpete I used to listen to Billy Breathes straight through all the time. I had burned a copy from my good friend and roommate in college, and this is days of 2x CD-burners before (at least to my knowledge) EAC, so the ripping was slow as shit as well. Well something strange must have happened, because "Talk" in its true form never made it onto my burned copy -- I *did* have a three minute track six, but it was a quiet ambient track with faint talking in the background. I could never really make out what they were saying, and never bothered looking it up, and after a few runs-through I would just skip the track and move on. Some time later, when I was getting *really* into Phish, I felt guilty for having some burned discs from friends of a band that have made a positive impact on my life, and I wanted the cover art et al., so I made the purchase on Dry Goods and to my surprise there was a *song* during track six -- it wasn't just dudes talking! I went back and listened carefully to my burned copy and to my surprise it was my roommate and I talking and laughing and being stupid stoners. Apparently something went awry in the ripping process and instead of recording the song from the CD, it recorded through the terrible microphone on my late '90s Windows laptop while my buddy and I were just hanging out, and it took me two years to figure out that "Talk" was a real song and not ambience (i.e., the buzz of an old CD burner and the whiz of a shitty hard drive) and dudes talking (Dave and I getting reefed). If it were called *anything else* I may have figured it out sooner... I like the real song, and those acoustic mini-sets are great. They should bring those back.
Score: 3
lastubbe Reply
lastubbe This song always reminds me of the great year 1996. Beautiful.
Score: 0
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