This is track #4 on Phish's 1999 studio album "The Story of the Ghost," and it's been a phan favorite since its debut on October 7, 1994. It features cryptic, creepy lyrics that reminded me of Esther the first time I heard it. The long instrumental at the heart of Guyute has some hoedown to it--and perhaps even a jig, but it also reflects some of the bright energetic sound that fans recognize in songs like Golgi Apparatus and Tweezer. The studio version has their new, tighter noodling: Trey Anastasio's guitar is sweet, crisp, and mellow, Jon Fishman's drums run triplets tighter than a Marine's haircut in 6/8 time signature just as easily as when they switch to the 2/2 jig, and back again, and Mike Gordon keeps a tight backbeat on the bass guitar. Page McConnell gets to shine in several places in the song; switching between a pounding fugue and a gentle romp through a meadow (in which one is romping with a homicidal pig!). The whistling gives the song that light, childish flavor that worked so well in Reba, and the same light-hearted glee that makes makes clowns so terrifying to little kids.
I won't apologize for the lyrics; they're vintage Phish, and if you're listening to the lyrics for enlightenment behind the silliness, go put on some They Might Be Giants until you're ready for an unapologetic jam band. I will, however, tip you off to one thing: it's pronounced "guy-OO-tee" (to rhyme with booty and beauty), not "GUY-oot" (to rhyme with galoot and taboot). Give it a listen on this album, and then go find a live version--share and enjoy!
Guyute was the ugly pig
who walked on me, and danced a jig
that he had learned when he was six,
then stopped and did some other tricks
like pulling weapons
from his coat
and holding them against my throat.
He lectured me in a language strange
then scampered quickly out of range
extended slow front-side jam, then climbing, climbing...
then rising and falling... to a feverish stutter jam
building up for an explosion
...and the feverish stutter jam again, into
the nearly-finished Guyute theme...
I'm bouncing like a newborn elf
I can't remain inside myself
Guyute glances in my eyes
and manages to hypnotize
me as I sleep the sleep of death
He sucks from me my only breath
that I have breathed since I was ten:
I hope this
happens once again!