Why You Been Gone So Long?

Originally Performed ByJessi Colter
Original AlbumA Country Star is Born (1970)
MusicMickey Newbury
VocalsJeff Walton, Dick Solberg, and Trey
Phish Debut1993-05-06
Last Played1993-05-06
Current Gap1018
HistorianEllis Godard


Dick Solberg had already been on stage during the 5/6/93 show to liven up “Lawn Boy” with some violin, when Trey brought out acoustic guitarist Jeff Walton as well. But Jeff ’s first contribution was vocal, leading a rollicking version of this tune with lines like “Ain’t nothin’ to do Lord, so I’ll guess I’ll get drunk.” The author, Mickey Newbury, released his own version in 1973 (on Heaven Help the Child), a bit rougher than Jessi Colter’s original take though not as rough as David Allen Coe’s 1995 version.

Phish’s take was softer still. Dick and Jeff share good vocal harmonies, with Trey joining in before a nice little Page solo. The rendition ended with a four-part vocal harmony. Not a great tune, but a nice warm-up for “Tennessee Waltz” and “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train,” both of which followed.

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