Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Album of the Day

Half Alive in Hollywood, by Mike Keneally & Beer for Dolphins (1996): For all his productivity, Keneally is not exactly big on live albums. In fact, until the release of the upcoming Guitar Therapy Live album (order yours now!), Half Alive . . . was the only official live album in Mike's catalog. And it's a bit of a weird one, as you might expect from the title. It covers two discs, recorded a year apart, in very different situations at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Disc One is a "live in the studio" recording of the then three-piece BFD (Keneally, bassist Bryan Beller, and drummer Toss Panos) that was conceived as a learning process for the Institute's engineering students. As such, it's a bit rough and Mike retained the starts, stops, rehearsals, and declarations of impending demise to spice things up. The vocals are also a bit off, as Keneally expected to go back and redo them but never got the chance. Disc Two has the same trio raging in front of a live audience at the MI ("Live on a Stage" it's called) and is a little more cohesive.

I like this album a bunch because (a) it covers material from the supposedly fabulous-but-out-of-print Boil That Dust Speck, which I don't own; and (b) Keneally's liner notes are really funny and show what a neat easy going guy he is.

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