Mike Keneally

August 16, 2007

Keneally fans will be delighted with these Special Edition releases of his first two albums: 1992’s Hat and 1993’s Boil That Dust Speck. Each includes a remastered CD of the original tracks, and a DVD containing what even enthusiasts will likely consider an excessive amount of bonus material. Hat contains 25 songs—several of which are presented as full-length versions for the first time—segued together much like those on Zappa’s We’re Only in It for the Money, with much of the same mirthful and musically varied character of his mentor’s work—including lots of great guitar playing. The DVD contains video footage from both the actual sessions and a 2006 reunion with the original band members, Keneally’s entire debut concert in 1993, various interviews, and about 30 Audio Archive tracks consisting of demos, alternate mixes, and other fun stuff. There’s even a “Hat Salad” function that lets you randomize the presentation of the “entertainment chunks.”

Boil That Dust Speck, one of Keneally’s best albums, has been unavailable for years. The 30 songs are generally darker and heavier than those on Hat—though still humorous at times—and Keneally’s tones and playing are killer on every song (the extended solo on “Bullys (Sic)” is particularly incendiary). The DVD includes the 90-minute The Making of Boil That Dust Speck, an exhaustive overview featuring studio footage, interviews, live-in-the-studio performances from 2006, and 20-plus audio goodies.

These recordings are must-haves for fans, as well as excellent introductions to one of America’s finest and most underappreciated guitarists. Keneally signed the first 3000 copies of each Special Edition set, and Standard Edition versions of the remastered discs without the DVDs are also available.
—Barry Cleveland

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