Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Halibuts - Bottom Fishingdotdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Halibuts were captured in full force live in the Pit at KFJC on November 2, 1996. The Halibuts have been together since... well... since God was a boy. They are a large band as surf bands go, six members. Their sound has evolved over the last fourteen years from primal surf-ska to more complicated multipart tunes with a greater and greater sense of humor.
Picks: Twitchin', Russian Roulette, No Minors, It's A Wonderful Halibut, Bien Tranquilo, Duck Dive, Bottom Feeder, Banzai Washout, Chumming, I'm A Believer, Blackball, Out Of Control, Caldera, Impact Zone, Stinky, Hammerhead, Malibu Run, Walk Don't Run '64, Grunion Run, Wham, Mr. Mysterioso, Centipede, Shore Pound, Skinny Dip, Centipede, A Taste Of Honey, Hula Scuba, Java, Summertime, Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai, Lullaby Of The Leaves, Fly Swatter, Suicide Bay, The Natives Are Restless, The Wet Spot, GBU, Noodles, Geronimo, Istanbul, Mr. Rebel, The Jester, Bowling Ball Gardens, Squad Car, Beluga Stroll

Track by Track Review


Twitchin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Soest's incredibly cool "Twitchin'" gets the full monty from the Halibuts. Chunky and full of reverb, with keys floating gently and drums a-pumpin'. The catchy melody and chunk of rhythm drives this all the way home.

Russian Roulette dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Nevegans' obscuro "Russian Roulette" is a solid vehicle for the Halibuts. It's infectious melody line and rhythm are right in the pocket. Way cool.

No Minors dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This playful melody splashes with the Halibuts' sound. Circular and reverby as all get-out, "No Minors" is simply fun.

It's A Wonderful Halibut dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The title tells all. Bouncy infectious optimism oozes from every corner of this great song. Way fun and fluffy - but wait, the break comes and the lead guitar drops into an intense double picked frenzy of mean surf.

Bien Tranquilo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dave Sherman's (Hillbilly Soul Surfers) fine instro becomes splashy and incredibly fun when the Halibuts do it. Spanish lace drips off every melody line, and the grins are hard to hide. Totally great!

Duck Dive dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a Central Valley feel, this suave and soulful tune pumps and surfs. "Duck Dive" is playful and gutty.

Bottom Feeder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bottom Feeder" is bass driven, with a Ben Vaughn-like melody. The sax and keyboard harmonies are nice, as is the Middle Eastern keyboard solo. Way fun.

Banzai Washout dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Catalinas' incredible "Banzai Washout" is driven at least as hard as Dick Dale drove it when he covered it. Written by sax master Steve Douglas, this hot tune double picks in the classic power surf style. Totally cool!

Chumming dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Chumming" is chunky, thumpy, percussive, progressional, and rhythmic. Like a fifties instro, with more precision and damped reverb. Great stuff!

I'm A Believer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Monkeys' teen pop hit "IÕm A Believer" is actually a very fun vehicle for the Halibuts, always getting grins from their fans. Simply fun.

Blackball dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The guitar riff laughs of surfabilly roots and surfside frolicking. This is a simple riff rocker with reverb. It splashes and pleases.

Out Of Control dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Crossfires' bloody thrasher "Out Of Control" is amped and splashed and thundered. Angst ridden and powerful, it pumps and thunders with gusto.

Caldera dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Originally titled "Uncle Fester's Comb," this fine instro has an infectious melody riff that splashes with Spanish flare and major grinology. There is a quirky air to the melody. When they played this song at Summer Surf II, it was so cool that it ended up on KFJC's Reverb Central CD.

Impact Zone dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The 'Buts' honked and squirted this venerable old flatfish number with their usual grin and dry humor. Very fun track.

Stinky dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Stinky" is a super prancy number with big tribal drums, and a very spirited interplay between the crisp rhythm and dancing lead guitar. The almost cartoon jungle quality is too fun. It's named after a surf spot in El Segundo.

Hammerhead dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The almost bell-like ringing melody is joyous, with long sax lines to counter the liquid call of the guitar. Dramatic and playful, with thundering drums and bass under the flippant lead. It's a mighty combination of surf elements.

Malibu Run dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

You can't go wrong covering the Fender IV. Joey Lyou's sax lead and a major ska arrangement totally change the character. The thunder of the rhythm section is very strong, and the infectious percussion is brilliant. A complete reincarnation of a great lost classic from 1965.

Walk Don't Run '64 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The 'Buts do an honest cover of the earliest Ventures' surf instro single. Straight forward and very well done.

Grunion Run dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Grunion Run" allows the keys to lead the pack, slithering out a smart granny gone surfinÕ melody line. Spiffy fun. Stinging whammy, intense tones, full bodies fun.

Wham dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lonnie Mack's infectious "Wham!" gets the Halibuts treatment. It prances and bounces more than the original, just as you might expect from these guys. Too fun.

Mr. Mysterioso dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The incredibly great Halibuts play one of their anthemic classics with rich energy and drive. This ska flavored powerhouse is always a crowd pleaser, and without a doubt, among their best compositions. Deluxe!

Centipede dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another decade old Halibuts song, "Centipede" remains my favorite. Totally infectious and incredibly cool, with great drums and guitar, and those haunted organ fills. Must have!

Shore Pound dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Shore Pound" has survived over a decade in the Halibuts repertoire. It's a totally killer dribbling surf rhythm guitar song with a killer ska sax lead. The break sports a marvelous surf guitar. Infectious, driving, and utterly rhythmic.

Skinny Dip dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is so pumped and edgy that Agent Orange covered it. The hard edged rhythm section is fronted by a smooth surf lead playing an infectious melody line. A really cool song.

Centipede dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another decade old Halibuts song, "Centipede" remains my favorite. Totally infectious and incredibly cool, with great drums and guitar, and those haunted organ fills. Must have!

A Taste Of Honey dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Halibuts have been doing this tune forever! It is less playful and ska based than it was in the last decade, but still sports an infectious filigree and dramatic interplay. Like an elevator at the beach, where gentle tones are interspersed with funky percussion. Grins required! When they drop into the slow solo in front of an audience, everyone turns to the stage and begs the transition back to the main song.

Hula Scuba dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

Java dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Al Hirt's pop sensation "Java" gets all decked out with reverb and a sax-trumpet duet.

Summertime dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfing up the melodramatic Billy Stewart version of the George 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.

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

This is an incredibly cool performance of "Hawaiian War Chant." It's speedy and bouncy with tribal Polynesian drums, and is punctuated with a keyboard cheesier than Don Ho's mai tai. Too fun!

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Halibuts really surf twanged the Ventures' classic. It's big time cool, with a little faster pace and whammy deluxe. Way cool.

Fly Swatter dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just too fun. It's almost goofy structure brings grins all around. Tribal drums, spiffy guitar chops, and a delightful almost prancing riff. "Fly Swatter" is an unusual and trippy party track.

Suicide Bay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Vintage surf style and thunder, and low-E lead double picked power. Melodic and very wet. I like this much better live, especially the throb of the vibrato in the break. Totally cool.

The Natives Are Restless dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A quirky fundango of surfin' barn dance fun. "The Natives Are Restless" has a mighty fun melody line and tribal rhythms that drive home the title theme. Poundingly joyous.

The Wet Spot dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Completely reformulated from the days of old, this classic Halibuts track retains its warmth, and with the cool sound of the keys, it's just too cool. The melody line remains a pure joy as it rises, hesitates, and then falls.

GBU dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

the Halibuts do the best surf version of this "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" anywhere. It's more subdued here than on the Live At Toes album, but still very suave. Great guitar whammy in the bridge.

Noodles dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Raging drums and big chords, fire in the belly, and that circular riff. The grumbly sax gives it a scary edge. Excellent.

Geronimo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon and the Nightriders' ultra cool "Geronimo" is very well suited for the Halibuts. It's less chunky than Blair's version, but has all the right stuff. Tribal drums, and excellent tone.

Istanbul dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The shiny grins of the Halibuts show through mightily in this bouncy performance of the old standard. Cheesy and fun, surfy and reverby, and too cool.

Mr. Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie and the Showmen's classic peon to KRLA DJ Reb Foster is nicely done. Bright and reverby, and fully trad, "Mr. Rebel" is always a pleasure, even more so at the hands of the Halibuts.

The Jester dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jim Messina and the Jesters' astoundingly cool double picked monster "The Jester" rages in the hands of the Halibuts. Great drums, ultimate surf guitar, and fine energy.

Bowling Ball Gardens dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bowling Ball Gardens" is a stomp-on-demand kinda tune that's strictly for fun. Joey Lyou's sax squirts and the driving rhythm thumps are perfect, while the lead guitar provides a creative riffology. Energetic and fun.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another classic surf monster from Eddie and the Showmen is introduced by Joey Lyou's sax reed siren. The double picked lead is right outta the Eddie Bertrand textbook, and the whole track just shines.

Beluga Stroll dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This grodie slow groove is definitely a stroll, of the midnight variety. "Beluga Stroll" employs a simple riff, lime the sort of thing that Link Wray does so well with, and it has that sort of guitar tone as well. Plodding and ominous.