There have been some personnel changes in BR549 recently, but the band's frontman, Lawrence native Chuck Mead, has weathered a lot in his musical life. After all, if he hadn't left the Homestead Grays, there might never have been a BR549. And if Poverty Wanks, the reggae/ska outfit he worked with in the mid-'80s (really -- ask him) hadn't folded, the Grays might never have ... and so on. The new BR549 lineup is getting rave reviews, with Chris Scruggs (Earl's grandson) stepping in on guitar and Jeff Firebaugh taking up the smack-and-tap bass chores. Mead's version of "There You Go" from the Johnny Cash tribute Man in Black, definitely should earn at least one shouted request. Somehow, the band has been around long enough to generate a best-of collection (at least in England), and the magnificently titled It Ain't Bad for Work If You Gotta Have a Job should have the band in the mood for some of the oldies -- if you can't get "Me 'n' Opie" on New Year's Eve, when can you get it?