BR5-49: One Long Saturday Night, Plus

BR549_OneLongSaturdayNightPlusRevivalist country legends in the flush of early greatness

Initially formed in 1993, it took only a few years for BR5-49 to catch on with the Nashville locals at Robert’s Western Wear, score a major label deal with Arista, and find themselves touring the world. This set of country standards, western swing tunes and original songs was performed live on German television in October, 1996, hot on the heels of the release of their debut EP and album. The quintet set up in a cafe setting and ran through a full set for a small audience, just as they had been doing a year earlier in Nashville.

As was their practice, the songs were called off on the fly, rather than written out in a setlist, demonstrating not only their deep knowledge of classic songs, but their innate ability to string them together into a rousing program. Their originals (“Even If It’s Wrong,” “Bettie Bettie,” “Hometown Boogie,” “My Name is Mudd,” “Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts)” and “One Long Saturday Night”) are nearly indistinguishable from their brilliantly selected and inventively arranged covers of Hank Williams, Harlan Howard, Webb Pierce, Carl Perkins, Gram Parsons and others.

The group’s panache comes across on both this CD and the parallel DVD issue. The CD includes nineteen tracks from the German Ohne Filter show plus four soundboard recordings captured a week later in Japan. Bear Family’s digipack comes with a 30-page booklet that includes notes by Chuck Mead and a wealth of period photos. The Blasters, Domino Kings and Derailers trolled similar retro territory, but none plowed Nashville roots as deeply as BR5-49, and the excitement they stirred up was never more evident than on stage. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

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