Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Mermen - Humunga Cowabungadotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the Mermen's set produced from the live event held December 16, 1995. The CD-R is for on air promotions, and is not available in any form.
Picks: 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


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.