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Performances Song History

The Happy Whip and Dung Song

Music: Phish

Vocals: Instrumental

Albums: The Siket Disc

Debut: 1999-07-24

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

According to Page McConnell (in The Phish Book), to know “The Happy Whip and Dung Song” you must “imagine driving through a blinding snowstorm in the tundra with a yak, a sled, and a heaving pile of dung.” With this in mind, it is easy to picture the snowy tundra blowing out of the blinding white noise of the guitar loop that opens this instrumental snippet from the Bearsville Studio sessions for The Story of the Ghost. The ponderous bass line that follows can be equated to the plodding footfalls of the Yak. The incessant cymbal crashes evoke images of the sled driver’s stinging lash on the Yak’s rump. But what of the heaving pile of dung?

“The Happy Whip and Dung Song” (as it was entitled on The Siket Disc) made its debut (and only appearance to date) on 7/24/99 at (appropriately enough) Alpine Valley. Since it was the middle of summer and likely a blazing hot day, the song selection was perfect. Rather than taking the crowd to the tundra to cool it down, Phish simply brought the tundra to the crowd. 

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