Brian Cline Band Within Without

It came as a surprise when Blue Mountain announced its break-up last year. The barnstorming trio, fronted by Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt (twin sister of Wilco's John Stirratt), seemed on the verge of reaching new audiences with their traditional covers album, Roots, but things began to unravel during the subsequent tour. As a consolation, fans now have this double-live album, recorded at one of their final shows in Chicago, which serves as both a retrospective of the band's four releases and an example of the exciting show they consistently put on. They could deliver a plaintive ballad like "Banks Of The Ponchartrain" then immediately go into a Crazy Horse stomp like "Soul Sister," followed up with a lowdown slide guitar showcase like "Go 'Way Devil." It was never fancy, but it was always a good time, as this album clearly captures. Those interested should probably investigate the rest of Blue Mountain's catalogue, but anyone searching for a dose of real live American music doesn't have to go any further than Tonight It's Now Or Never. (Icourse)