Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Humunga Cowabungadotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is an in-house 4 CD-R set produced from the live event held December 16, 1995. The three bands that played at Humunga Cowabunga were the Mermen, with their huge howling wave rides in their patented pharmacologically correct style, LA's Brazil 2001 delivering their "Salt Water Damaged" songs for the next millennium, and our local heroes the Woodies, who celebrate traditional surf with a spirit of joy. The CD-R is for on air promotions, and is not available in any form.
Picks: Midnight Ride, If It Swells (Ride It), Agent Woodrow, The Swami, Surfin' With Bernie, Spanish Word, Slow Song, Maverick's, Chief Big Wood, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Zorba's Last Ride, Introduction, One Note Samba, Five Feet Short, PCH, Haole Girl, Rudolph The Love Sick Reindeer, Cactus, Fist Full Of Sand, Walk Don't Run, Shaved Ice, Fog, Penetration, Wearing Girl's Clothes, Madagasgar, Ocean Beach, No Definite Uncle Al, Curve, Pull Of The Moon, Carol Of The Bells, Happy Xmas, Varykino Snow, Casbah-America, Kaena, Brine (The Smell Beneath The Stage), Unidentified, Under The Kou Tree, Blue Xoam, The Silly Elephant That Stomped To Sea, Crash / Unknown, Soul SurfinÕ, Unidentified, Unidentified, Raglan, Unidentified, The Whales, Honeybomb

Track by Track Review


Midnight Ride dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Woodies opened with "Midnight Ride," an ominous song oozing monsters riding the huge waves after dark, haunting the surf, and stalking the unsuspecting. The throbbing of the evil one yields to a chunky pure surf cruncher. Dark and dangerous

If It Swells (Ride It) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"If It Swells (Ride It)" is an enduring and well written modern surf classic, sounding as if it's 1963 again. Melodic, chunky, and stormy, like the swells at Steamer Lane. Too cool.

Agent Woodrow dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a dark and ominous spy theme. The chunk and the melodic spy rhythm is intense. The melody line is broodingly lurking in the shadows of the eastern block before the wall came down. There's betrayal and danger just around that corner.

The Swami dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The mystery of "The Swami" is chunked out in this grand surf epic. It just oozes caravans of spice traders on the road to Morocco. Fast, powerful and melodic, this infectious shredder will make you bow to Mecca and pray for surf!

Surfin' With Bernie dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I recorded this live at Psychotronic Surf, a KFJC event I co-hosted with Robert Emmett. It was a variation on his Psychotronic Film Festival with a beach movie theme, a vintage beach flick, and lots of trailers and period TV ads, and a real surf band in the middle. This track shows off the live crunch the band possessed. Fine tight performance.

Spanish Word dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very pretty and energetic Spanish flavored surf number. With typical Woodies flair, it has all the ingredients to become a modern surf classic. Rick Escobar hadn't named this by the time this CD went to press. He was calling it "Spanish Word" because he was looking for a perfect name that fit the tune. I liked "Fajita Sunrise."

Slow Song dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This very pretty song goes without a name still, as Rick never found one, just like "Spanish Word." I kinda like "Offshore Breeze." It has a strong sense of island mystery at a balmy afternoon lagoon. It also has a bit of the Southwest to it. Very melodic and pretty.

Maverick's dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Maverick's" is a mean surf spot and a dark and powerful song, celebrating the danger of the 50 foot wave racing towards the rocks. You can just see a rider on a short board shredding back and forth across the face, all the while watching the approaching rocks, trying to get every last zig out of the wave before cutting back at the last possible minute before his death. Great track.

Chief Big Wood dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Chief Big Wood" is a surf number that combines Indian instro sounds and trad surf. Ominous and defiant, melodic and strong, rhythmic and enchanting. A great song, and a great name too.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer dotdotdotdot
Xmas Surf (Instrumental)

The peaceful air of Rick Escobar's gentle solo intro is shattered as soon as the band kicks in for a rousing trad surf holiday rave. Hot leads, chunky rhythms, perfect drums and bass... even the reindeer are dancing in the streets. The arrangement is a strait blend of pure surf and Santa Claus. Totally infectious and Marvelous.

Zorba's Last Ride dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This merger of east and west leaves you saying "of course." Take the nineties best trad surfband, make 'em do the Greek line dance and yell "Hey!" a lot, throw in some Greek folk changes, and you have magic!

Introduction dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mono-note opening thrasher prelude to "One Note Samba." Intense!

One Note Samba dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Antonio Carlos Jobim's little ditty became a monster under the gun of Bernard Yin's imagination. Bit's of Agent Orange and tons of energy make this work really well. Totally great!

Five Feet Short dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Thee best vocal tune in decades IMHO. I love this! It's all about the ocean as a female. The lip-buzz faux double pick is brilliant! "I'm having this vision of decadent love, putting on my booties, putting on my gloves." Yeow! The glass finger guitar under Dracula's daughter is marvelous. Like the song says, "Escargot with a golden tan, Brigitte Bardot in a 64 van!" Bernard introduced it as "Five Feet Short," but it's actually called "Double Overhead."

PCH dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"PCH" (Pacific Coast Highway) is brazilliant! B2K1 always deliver the goods, and this slowish and interesting song is no exception! It progresses down the road to the sunny coast on the left side of your map of the world where Bernard's big guitar meander through this lazy day driving song. Great.

Haole Girl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Starting out with a moody and delicate tropical guitar, "Haole Girl" moves into major guitar edge, tom toms, double picked chaos and massive glissandoes, all to support the lecherous tale of an Island youth lusting after the rich young tourist. This song is so Bernard! :-}

Rudolph The Love Sick Reindeer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The boys from Brazil 2001 pack a bunch of holiday cheer into a slow and touching new tribute to the lead reindeer. It's entirely different than you expect, with a surf-blues melody line bringing forth this sinewy and slow romancer. Great performance!

Cactus dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not since Slim Whitman has a whistling song been worth a shit. This is stellar! Totally melodic, infectious, and completely captivating! Imagine a slow sinewy Southwest desert guitar and haunting whistling Enio Morricone style. The circular melody line is magnetic and aromatic, and the whistle almost ghostly.

Fist Full Of Sand dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Huge number that reminds me a bit of Killing Joke. Maximum edge and cool glass finger guitar. B-man's soft lyrics seem somehow at odds with the music, yet curiously, that just adds to the draw of this song.

Walk Don't Run dotdotdotdot
Aggressive Surf (Instrumental)

This performance of "Walk Don't Run" powers and dodges with surf ease and punk chop edge. A brilliant false end decays into feedback chaos angst.

Shaved Ice dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

An edgy rock number with a spoken lyric about a painful summer for a local boy caused by a girl (what else?). Lot's of cool changes and a big sound. The damped chops and tribal drums are intensely cool!

Fog dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Here it is, Bernard Yin's sad tale of an ex-surfer in malaise over becoming oh-so middle class. Could it be Bernard is having an aging crisis? Brilliant and funny. It seques right into "Penetration."

Penetration dotdotdotdotdot
Intense Aggressive Surf (Instrumental)

This is hot! Many a version of the Pyramids surf classic has been recorded, but it can all stop here! Tortured edgy maximum guitar chunk.

Wearing Girl's Clothes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Ah yes, the story of cross-dressing, as opposed to salad dressing. Chunky, chop driven, silly lyrics, and amazing arranging. Yikes!

Madagasgar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow moody sensuous intro eventually leads you into a highly melodic and infectious number. Totally breathtaking, and I like it a lot! Lots of exotic island imagery here.

Ocean Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A funky disco drum beat opens this revamped "Ocean Beach." It's a very cool morphing. The intro verses take several minutes to gradually arrive at the main melody line. Jim Thomas gradually brings it home. By the two minute mark, the tune is in full swing and the brilliance of the contrast between the disco beat and the surf melody becomes precious. Very cool.

No Definite Uncle Al dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very slow and melodic. This has a haunting and magnet quality to it. When they played this at Winter Swell, Allen announced it as "With No Definite Uncle Al And No Purpose Other Than To Prevail Somehow..." in thanks to Uncle Al for mastering the limited edition Xmas CD-R for them.

Curve dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Huge surf grinder with delightful post-"Church Key" whammy dips and immense power. Double picked dark paean to the immense power of the waves. A huge surf grinder featuring whammy dips and immense power. A larger than life soundtrack for your soul. It is a double picked dark paean to the ocean's immense power. Great track, and the feedback intro is stellar!

Pull Of The Moon dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Beware! Psychedelic monster live here. This is a huge instrumental that completely redefined psychedelic. It's howling ecstasy is the hallmark of the new psych, no ifs, ands or buts!

Carol Of The Bells dotdotdotdotdot
Xmas Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Just like the studio version, this fine performance opens with pristine and precise beautifully played solo guitar over sleigh bells, before bringing in the tom toms and bass for a glorious second verse that's retains the delicacy. The third verse adds timbales and a little power. The arrangement employs several textural and energy level transitions that add drama and flair to this wonderful performance. It is totally different than the Malibooz interpretation. Huge, emotional, and moving.

Happy Xmas dotdotdotdotdot
Xmas Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

The beautiful sounds of this performance are introduced by Martyn's "Happy Christmas - War is over" through his bull horn. This is an amazingly psychedelic and interesting treatment of this otherwise common holiday tune. There is a fine blending of the original the intent with the huge imagery of this great great band. The methods of their madness transform this ancient standard when huge guitar or double picked delicacy is applied following the huge psycho-scream of the sustain. Midstream, Jim employs a most twisted warble to his immense guitar, giving this an eerie feel like no other version. It all comes down with a couple of lines from "Jingle Bells." Amazingly huge.

Varykino Snow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of Jim's most melodic songs, and it is wonderfully played here. This song displays Jim's surf roots and influences, as well as his more formal background. His keyboard training as a mere youth shine through this wonderful song.

Casbah-America dotdotdotdotdot
Ripping Surf (Instrumental)

Sandy Nelson's "Casbah" remains in the Mermen's set today. Jim Thomas has made it huge in his usual giant-sound way. He used a phrase from "America" as an intro-outro, and it works so well.

Kaena dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With an unusual drum cadence, an airy moody guitar line, and mysterious bass riff, this song is artful and wistful, sad and lonely, and romantic.

Brine (The Smell Beneath The Stage) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rising from throbbing vibrato and slowly building to a gentle moody on-the-edge of feedback intro, "Brine (The Smell Beneath The Stage)" is both beautiful and eerie, with the feedback merging with the vibrato, and the eventually arriving melody matched with Jim's new keyboard sounds. Imagery and spatially haunting are the keywords here. Extreme vibrato throbbing in a cool nearly ambient mood piece that demands your attention while lulling you into a false sense of security.

Unidentified dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This long soft and pretty song is introduced by Martyn as "being about pain." Very long flowing notes slowly wander gently rolling waves.

Under The Kou Tree dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of their best tracks, because it carries such exotic oriental influences and uses such a sad melody line. It is mid tempo grandeur.

Blue Xoam dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A huge double picked surf monster, intense and moody, fast and powerful. Nuff said! A huge double picked surf monster, intense and moody, fast and powerful. Nuff said!

The Silly Elephant That Stomped To Sea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Timbales heaven! This is what the drum was invented for. Never mind that Latin stuff, this is magical. It is one of the great Mermen songs, delicate and high powered. Highly melodic and infectious.

Crash / Unknown dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Creations' intense "Crash" seques right into the Vy-Dels' powerful "Unknown."

Soul SurfinÕ dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This powerful, melodic and quite surfy track from the Mermen really drives you down the road. It is an incredibly beautiful and energetic. This is Insect Surfer Dave Arnson's favorite Mermen song. It is very melodic, and most infectious.

Unidentified dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This long soft and pretty song is introduced by Martyn as "being about pain." Very long flowing notes slowly wander gently rolling waves.

Unidentified dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This long soft and pretty song is introduced by Martyn as "being about pain." Very long flowing notes slowly wander gently rolling waves.

Raglan dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Raglan" continues to be a favorite Jim Thomas composition. The fluid and beautiful melody line and it's tranquil sadness inspire a lazy afternoon drive on a coastal highway. Enduringly fluid.

Unidentified dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This long soft and pretty song is introduced by Martyn as "being about pain." Very long flowing notes slowly wander gently rolling waves.

The Whales dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This most unusual of all songs, with it's rhythmic and tribal drums and jazzy soulful bass under a very slow and atmospheric lead parroting the calls of the orca, creates a totally enthralling and magical vision of the green world of sea mammals. It is simply the best thing ever written about the inhabitants of the sea, and every performance on disc has been magical. The making of feedback from the mouths of whales is beyond imagination. It brings chills to the spine. Sad, romantic, stunningly powerful and beautiful.

Honeybomb dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is surf... at least one of the futures of surf, mixed with psychedelia and jazz and whatever else fits. They have a huge sound.