Phish African-American Musicians Covers Playlist

By Andy Kahn Jun 20, 2020 12:54 pm PDT

Phish stands in solidarity with all those working to eliminate systemic racism. We are deeply troubled by the senseless killing of George Floyd and the injustice shown to countless others over the years. Building a better society requires every single one of us to play an active role.

Today, The WaterWheel Foundation is donating to Color of Change, a non-profit devoted to racial justice. Tomorrow night’s Dinner And A Movie webcast will be postponed until next week.


Phish June 1, 2020

The message above was issued by the members of Phish the day before JamBase joined others in the music industry for Blackout Tuesday. Atlantic Records executives Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas organized the day of protest in reaction to the deaths of “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black citizens at the hands of police.”

The most recent edition of Phish’s archival replay series Dinner And A Movie supported the Equal Justice Initiative, which is “committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.” June is African-American Music Appreciation Month, and in recognition, this edition of Saturday Stream presents a Spotify Playlist composed of original versions of songs by black musicians covered by Phish. The covers performed by Phish, when available, are included as well.

Phish’s catalog – both covers and originals – is known for showcasing different musical genres, many of which are rooted in African-American culture. Throughout their career, Phish has delved into the blues, jazz, reggae, calypso, R&B, hip-hop and funk, either through covers or their own songs influenced by those styles.

Songs like “Funky Bitch” and “Ya Mar” have been covered by Phish so often they can seem like originals rather than tunes by blues great Son Seals and calypso musician Cyril “Dry Bread” Ferguson, respectively. Early covers like Allen Toussaint’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” and Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” became beloved fan-favorites after each went years before bust outs and returns to regular rotation.

Toussaint and Wonder appear multiple times as do guitar god Jimi Hendrix, Americana pioneer Taj Mahal and jazz legends Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Other featured black musicians include Robert Johnson, Josh White, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Dizzy Gillespie, Marvin Gaye and more.

The playlist features the original versions of the songs immediately followed by Phish’s cover version if available. The collection concludes with a string of additional original songs by black musicians covered by Phish. Stream it below:

JamBase Collections