Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Halibuts - Life On The Bottomdotdotdotdot
artworkThe worldŐs longest continuously performing surf band has done it again. This gorgeous CD is full of quirky infectious downright happy tunes done as only the buts can. Pete CurryŐs writing and taste has always run to the tongue in cheek side of the aisle. Most of the tracks on this CD force a smile on even the most intentional scowl.
Picks: Hammerhead, Caldera, Stinky, Life On The Bottom, Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai, Noodles, Hombre De Palabra, Madcap, Hula Scuba, Suicide Bay, Night Crawler, Duck Dive, Fire One, Istanbul, Summertime

Track by Track Review


Hammerhead dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This almost bell-like ringing melody is just a joy. It is dramatic, as well as playful. Thundering drums and bass under the flippant lead is a mighty fine combination, almost an oxymoron, but the differences create a unique synergy. Great listening.

Caldera dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The longest continuous playing surf band in existence, and still fresh with every performance. Mike Palm is filling in on this track. It is not possible to listen to the Halibuts without smiling. All of them are happy when they play, and it shows in their music. "Caldera" is from their recent CD, but when this was recorded at Summer Surf II in July '95, it was called "Uncle Fester's Comb." Look for them to visit us again real soon! I love this band! Lot's of Spanish feel here, and that uniquely identifiable writing style of Pete Curry.

Stinky dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super prancy number with big tribal drums, and a very spirited interplay between the crisp rhythm and dancing lead guitar. The child like innocence of the Halibuts' faster numbers is as well typified here as anywhere. There is an almost cartoon jungle quality that hearkens back to early cartoons. Mike Palm (Agent Orange) plays bass on this track. This is a great track Incidentally, it's named after a surf spot in El Segundo.

Life On The Bottom dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow and shimmering track, with a picturesque sound and melody line. There is a sense of settling waters after a storm, with the sky still gray, and the surf small but choppy, like a pool still sloshing after everyone has gotten out. Fine track.

Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai" a.k.a. "Hawaiian War Chant" is speedily chunked out over tribal Polynesian drums, and interlaced with a keyboard cheesier than Don Ho's mai tai. Fine, unpretentious fun.

Noodles dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thundering drums, big chunky chords, pummeling energy, and swirling melody line combine into one powerful surf pounder. Very cool vibes within, and super high energy drums.

Hombre De Palabra dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tropically Polynesian, melodic, fluid, and very pretty. The lap steel and ukulele are perfect support instruments for the Mexican-surf lead guitar. It's a mid tempo number that is very pleasing, but then it is the Halibuts, isn't it. They can do no wrong.

Madcap dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Piano, keyboard melody, and a rolling progression of an R&B party nature. Sax stuff, guitar fills, and that plinkery on the piano is quite spiffy.

Hula Scuba dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Freddie King funkabilly surf-n-soul, with major Central Coast influences, and fine piano tones. Definitely playful and suave.

Suicide Bay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The "Buts" slaughter the boundaries with super fast double picked wonderment, not unlike that which must have inspired Eddie Angel to do the surf thing. This longest running surf band always delivers the good. A fast and furious performance.

Night Crawler dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Semi pomp, quirky crawly, almost Adams Family bug like. The piano is too suave. This seems like a bachelor pad smoothy. The growly bass break is totally boss.

Duck Dive dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfisimo like a Central Valley interpretation, suave, soulful, and mean. Not very melodic, but probably great at a tavern.

Fire One dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rolling snare, twisted calliope keys, thumpy rhythm, demented visions, and all from the back side of the merry-go-round. You can just see subnormal mutants frolicking on the lawn while you spin around on the back of a plaster horse. Wee!

Istanbul dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not the serious surfism that others have made of this classic tune, but rather a very playful and infectious party favorite. The sax warbles are very cute, and add an air of exotic silliness that just tops off a mighty grin laden performance. Wonderful, and magical. Visions of dancing girls weave through my dreams....

Summertime dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfing up the melodramatic Billy Stewart version of the Gershwin classic is a stroke of genius. The straight surf sections are predictably melodic and satisfying, but it is the end, when they drop into that almost scat singing big production thing that it all comes together. Great stuff.