Personnel: Chuck Mead, Gary Bennett (vocals, guitar); Hawk Shaw Wilson (vocals, drums); Don Herron (steel guitar, dobro, mandolin, fiddle); Smilin' Jay McDowell (upright bass).
Liner Note Author: Chuck Mead.
Illustrator: Reinhard Kleist.
Photographers: Walter W. Fuchs; Willi Kuper; Jay McDowell.
The performance captured on Bear Family's 2015 album One Long Saturday Night, Plus was given on October 14, 1996, when BR5-49 gave a concert for the German television show Ohne Filter. Three bonus tracks, all recorded at a festival in Kumamoto, Japan, are added at the end, adding to the illusion that this is a nonstop, crowd-pleasing show and, in a way, it is. During 1996, BR5-49 were riding high on their acclaimed eponymous debut for Arista, an unabashed throwback to the high-octane honky tonk of the '50s, spiked with a healthy dose of Western swing and just a hint of Bakersfield rhythms. All these elements leap to life in this concert, a show that was designed to be nothing more than another gig -- albeit one that was televised -- and that's what's special about the album. It hops and swings, the band plowing through originals that feel right at home alongside classics by Hank Williams, Harlan Howard, Ray Price, Bob Wills, and Mel Tillis. At a distance of 20 years, this doesn't seem so much a revival but carrying the torch by a crackerjack band that knew this music inside out. Listening to this performance, it's hard not to think that BR5-49 were designed to play a dancehall and that's why this, in some respects, winds up being more appealing than their acclaimed debut: it's just here for a good time. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine