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BR549

Coast to Coast – 2000 (Arista)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by BR549

The line on BR5-49 has always been that they smolder in the studio, and catch fire on stage. They proved as much on their "Live from Robert's" release a couple of years ago, and bolstered the case every time they've hit the road since then.

On the band's second live album in three years, BR5-49 once again attempts to prove they are the astonishing live band everyone claims them to be. They also pretty effectively show that if a band has the cajones for it, they can get away with recording half of their recorded output to date in front of an audience. Not many could pull it off, but BR5-49 is almost overequipped to deliver on that promise.

The thing that actually distinguishes this is the fact that only one track, "Even If It's Wrong," is available on previous BR5-49 albums, so the live document plays almost like a new record, albeit one stocked with covers. The song selection further strenghtens the package, with the likes of Gram Parsons ("Big Mouth Blues"), Dave Dudley ("Six Days on the Road") and Charlie Daniels (a cleverly contemporized "Uneasy Rider") well represented here.

If there's any complaint, it's that BR5-49 are sometimes a little too polished - "Uneasy Rider" is spiffed up to the point that some of the passion that Daniels' wrote in there has been sanded off. The bonus studio track, "You're a Hum-Dinger," is not essential, but BR5-49 manage to come up with a live set that is.