Taking their name from a Hee-Haw sketch, BR5-49 were the talk of Music City in the 90’s, playing high energy shows at Robert’s Western Wear in Nashville where they would perform hours long sets several nights a week.
After their self-titled debut the group— bassist Smilin’ Jay McDowell, drummer “Hawk” Shaw Wilson, multi-instrumentalist Don Herron and pair of singer/songwriter/guitarists: Chuck Mead and Gary Bennett — toured Europe where their authentic sound had garnered a following. In October 1996, they appeared, and played live, on the German TV program Ohne Filter.
The new Bear Family CD/DVD BR5-49: One Long Saturday Night released November 20th, captures that appearance, one which clearly demonstrates their love for the classics and proves why they created such excitement on Lower Broadway and beyond. The DVD and CD both contain nineteen songs, with the CD also having four soundboard recordings taken from a concert the band played in Japan one week after their German TV appearance. These bonus tracks include songs that were regulars in the band’s live shows: “Knoxville Girl,” “Settin’ the Woods on Fire” and “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Hillbilly Thang.”
The other songs featured on the CD include Hank Williams’ “Lone Gone Lonesome Blues,” Ray Price’s “Heartache by the Numbers,” Carl Perkins’ “Gone, Gone, Gone,” and two popularized by Bob Wills, “Right or Wrong” and “Take Me Back to Tulsa.” There’s also Johnny Horton’s “Ole Slewfoot,” Webb Pierce’s “I Ain’t Never” and Gram Parsons’ “Big Mouth Blues,” with originals included as well - “My Name Is Mudd,” the dance hall ready “Even If It’s Wrong,” the Elvis recalling “Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts)” and the ode to a certain pin-up, “Bettie, Bettie.”
The songs and the sonic quality of the record (which somehow perfectly mixes a live show with that of vinyl) unite into a great collection of tunes that has the ability to take you back to Roberts (even if you weren’t old enough to be there the first time) and experience what it would have been like seeing them twenty years ago…..and leaves you wishing you could have been there the first times.
As the year winds down, don’t let One Long Saturday Night get lost in the holiday frenzy. It’s a record full of truly timeless rockabilly, classic country and original tunes that are perfect for Saturday night and beyond.