BR5-49: BR5-49

You’ve never heard it, or even of it, but this is probably the greatest country album of all time.  At the very least it’s the greatest country album released in 1996 and I’ll even say it’s the greatest country album released in the 1990’s.  With, you know, all of my extensive knowledge of country music.

I found out about these guys because they opened for The Black Crowes.  Loved ’em.  Bought this record and their debut EP, Live From Robert’s, immediately.  Where that EP was raucous and wild, this album is well-mannered and cleanly groomed.  It’s old, 50’s-style honky tonk, right down to the clothes, with 90’s-level production quality.  It’s clean, beautiful, and pure.

If you think you hate country, and especially if you think what you hate about is the twang, listen to this.  This will (probably) demonstrate to you that what you hate is lowest common denominator pop dressed up as an “other” to modern sophistication.

Beautiful playing, beautiful sound, beautiful songs, beautiful lyrics.  Pure beauty by a crew of honky tonks who feel completely comfortable navigating urban, modern life.

Rating:
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Mix:
“Even If It’s Wrong,” “Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts),” “Hickory Wind”
Keep: “Cherokee Boogie,” “Lifetime To Prove,” “Crazy Arms,” “I Ain’t Never,” “Chains Of This Town,” “Are You Gettin’ Tired Of Me,” “One Long Saturday Night”
Like: “Honky Tonk Song”
Filed Between: BR5-49’s Live From Robert’s and Big Backyard Beat Show

Track Listing and Notes:

  1. Even If It’s Wrong –
  2. Cherokee Boogie – Such a good song, especially the end, though it does get my culturally insensitive senses tingling.
  3. Honky Tonk Song –
  4. Lifetime To Prove –
  5. Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts) – Mix rating is in no small part due to its lyrics, which push it over the hump.  About a punk rock girl who’s now into country. Best line: “Now she’s drinking Blue Ribbon and jitterbuggin’.”  Punk rockers drinking PBR…how prescient is that?
  6. Crazy Arms –
  7. I Ain’t Never –
  8. Chains Of This Town – A bit of a Hawaiian feel, which doesn’t match the lyrics.  Great.
  9. Are You Gettin’ Tired Of Me –
  10. Hickory Wind – Ballad.  At first seems like this should end the album since it’s just so powerfully down, but then you get used to the killer rocker following and it works.  This could have been last, but I now see how it doesn’t have to be.
  11. One Long Saturday Night – Can’t get mix due to scratchy record sound at end.
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