Sluggo! Roads

Posted: January 16, 2014 in fz related album review, zappa
Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins Sluggo! SuperDeluxe

Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins Sluggo! SuperDeluxe

In 1994 (Boil That Dust Speck) 1988 was a million years ago and, according to this distortion in spacetime, about 4 million years have been the optimal distance to be produced (probably from an emotional point of view too) before releasing some piece of music by Frank Zappa. The releaser of the matter is dolphins dear friend Mr. Mike Hat Nokertompf Scambot Keneally. “I should be enough tall“, he should have thought, where tallness is a measure of distance too. And the release of the matter is:

Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins Sluggo! SuperDeluxe (2CD+2DVD+Download)

This hyperbolic piece of musical evidence includes the long awaited Sluggo! (out of print since 1997) in a new powerfully clear remixed version, with two bonus tracks.

Craney, the first bonus, is dedicated to Mark Craney. Mike Keneally wrote it to support Mark when he was still struggling with his bad health (Mike tells the story on his web site). Sadly Craney passed away in 2005.

I ignore the origin of the title of the second bonus track, but it’s seems that Bob Dylan’s Nose is a hot (sort of) topic on the Internet. Just google it, or try these two blogs: thenewcornpoppy, spinalbap. Mike says: “is a pretty scorching track recorded live in the studio by Bryan Beller, Joe Travers and myself.”

Such a luxury package includes also a DVD with the original mix and over two hours of unreleased stereo live and studio video material which witnesses some of the mystic of the Beer for Dolphins era. Just to give a sneak inside, during the first video live set (Club Tavern – Madison, WI – 8/8/98) the band builds a piece of music working on casual bits of humming produced by selected members of the audience, who are kindly invited to give away a short vocal improvisation. The episode arises into Uglytown, is a lot of fun and at the end of it, the band goes back to the song, but they can’t help themselves to quote bits from the former episode. And the fantastic highest moment of this frenziness is Keneally and Beller spontaneously starting to play in unison one of the previous themes into Uglytown. Mike describes the whole thing in the commentary track, in his words this is what you have back as “payoff” when the band is so comfortable with itself. And it is not all: some hidden treatments are also available on the DVD, I will not spoil them, search the menus carefully!

There is one DVD more, actually a DVD-A with no less than PCM 16/48 Stereo, DTS 24/48 5.1 Digital Surround, MLP 24/96 Lossless Stereo & MLP 24/96 Lossless 5.1 Surround. I for one can’t tell much about it as my PIBKOAPSI state endures.

The fourth physical piece of the Sluggo! SuperDeluxe embodiment is a CD including Mike Keneally & Beer for Dolphins performing live in Boston on August 15, 1998 (Live At Mama Kin). Another gorgeous 1998 live set which closes with a 13 minutes long Inca Roads, here we are. Shut up and listen to a great rendition. Mike take a long (4 minutes) solo, he starts quietly to slowly but boldly go to the final resolution sustained by a great rhythmic section. Mark Ziegenhagen takes the second solo, again over a great rhythmic section, with Keneally. Right after that a bit confused synthetic marimba lick, maybe the only blur of the set which showcases parts of Sluggo! and some BFD classics, like the beloved Dolphins sequence. The band performed also Immigrant Song, almost at the beginning of the set, after an instrumental intro. Needless to say, a pleasure for your ears.

Inca Roads aside, if you are a Mike Keneally fan grab Sluggo! SuperDeluxe, if you are not, you are even luckier, grab it and become a fan!


A final remark. That is for Mike. For sure you already know Road Tapes #2. As soon as I heard Village of the Sun, the Helsinki ’73 rendition, I imagined what now could be your next official move into the Zappa realm. Take the “new” VotS intro and outro and write a new song within!



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