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Thread: Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler

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    Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler

    I had their first album on vinyl when it came out. For some reason I never pursued them any farther. In the 80's with the MTV hit Money for Nothing they didn't grab me. I found two cd's by them at a thrift store "Brothers in Arms" and "Making Movies." I was wondering what if anything I've missed over the years with Mark and Dire Straits. Those two cd's aren't bad at all.

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    Proud Member since 2/2002 UnderAGlassMoon's Avatar
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    For me, Love Over Gold is their best, though they all have some great songs. Love Over Gold has the epic Telegraph Road, Private Investigations and the upbeat Industrial Disease. The other two tracks, Love over Gold and It Never Rains also hold up pretty well.

    Like I said though, all of their releases have some good to great tunes, even the more commercial Brothers In Arms and On Every Street. Making Movies has my favorite song by them, Romeo and Juliet.

    Their two live albums, Alchemy: Dire Straits Live and On The Night are pretty damn good as well. I saw them live in New Zealand in '91 and they were fantastic.

    I haven't really heard much of Mark's solo output, but I've heard good things about it.
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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I think Knopfler is a brilliant artist. I saw Dire Straits and Steve Ray Vaughn in the mid-80s. They were both great! I like S/T and Making Movies the most, before they turned commercial (not that that's a bad thing).
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mozo-pg View Post
    I think Knopfler is a brilliant artist. I saw Dire Straits and Steve Ray Vaughn in the mid-80s. They were both great! I like S/T and Making Movies the most, before they turned commercial (not that that's a bad thing).
    I think you have to add Love Over Gold to their pre-commercial era - five tracks with the shortest running at 5 min 50 sec.

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halmyre View Post
    I think you have to add Love Over Gold to their pre-commercial era - five tracks with the shortest running at 5 min 50 sec.
    I actually have not heard that one. Need to remedy that.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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    As Under A Glass Moon mentioned, the live album "Alchemy" is outstanding IMO.

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    I love Knopfler's solo output as much or more than his work with Dire Straits. I would check out "Sailing To Philadelphia", which features duets with James Taylor and Van Morrison, and also "Golden Heart" and "The Ragpicker's Dream". I've caught his live show a couple of times as well and his band is absolutely stellar.
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  8. #8
    Making Movies is probalby my favorite album from them. I remember MTV used to play the Skateaway video a lot in the early days. LOVE Knopflers extended solo on the ride out of that one.

    Then I was watching Night Flight one night, and they did a Take Off show on Dire Straits, and I found there were actually two other videos done for that album, apparently all at the time same, with the same director style, for the songs Romeo & Juliet and Tunnel Of Love. And each was the full album version too, no single edits or whatever.

    Then another 15 yeras after that, I found out there was another video for Tunnel Of Love done, with a totally different style. The shots of the band miming have the full five man lineup that played on that tour, with, I think, Alan Clarke on keyboards and Hal Lindes on rhythm guitar. I can't remember if it's Pick Withers or Terry Williams on drums. Anyway, this one is set mostly in amusement park, where a man and a woman escape from a group of soldiers on the bumper cars, and flee to a riverside. Strange that they did two videos for that song. I wonder why.

    But you probably don't care about videos. I've got all their albums, Making Movies, and Love Over Gold are the two studio records I like best. And Alchemy is awesome. For one, if we believe the claims, there's no overdubs, and it's all taken from one single night, it's not one of those deals where they cobbled together performances from five different shows, on three different tours (paging, Chris Squire, Steve Hillage, and Phil Lynott). And it's also worthy because of all the extended solos on that record. Sultans Of Swing is truly epic on Alchemy.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    My take on Straits:

    Tops:
    Love Overt Gold

    Subtop
    Debut,
    Brothers in Arms (especially for the outstanding flipside, which is worthy of LOG, IMHO)
    Alchemy

    average
    Communiqué
    Making Movie


    Below par
    On every Street
    On the Night.

    Downright sucks:
    Twisting by the Pool EP



    Solo: While I've heard a fait bit of Knofler solo over the last three decades over the radio, I can't pinpoint an album that would be recommendable.
    All I ever owned (BD gift if memory serves) was a compilation of movie soundtracks he made, and I thought that relatively boring and irrelevant to Straits music.
    Last edited by Trane; 03-12-2020 at 05:02 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    Of Dire Straits, I think Making Movies is the most consistant, but Love Over Gold has the hat trick of their greatest (and closest to progressive) tracks, "Telegraph Road", "Private Investigations" and "Love Over Gold" (and unlikely many, I've always liked "Industrial Disease"). And while I'm not the greatest fan of live albums, I agree with others that Alchemy is one of the best rock concert recordings, with some of the tracks from the first two, guitars-only albums performed with much fuller and extended arrangements. And it is an actual live album with no overdubbing. There is even a good live version of "Going Home", the highlight of his Local Hero soundtrack, originally performed solo with a Linn drum. The later live album On the Night isn't bad either, though it's main justification is having superior version of the On Every Street's title track (one of the few decent cuts on that devastatingly bland release) and again a few new arrangements on a couple of tracks.

    Of Knopfler's solo albums, I find the first two indispensable. Golden Heart was a "more mature" take on the Dire Straits style, but it sounded much more melodically inspired and vivid than anything the last Straits album or his Notting Hillybillies things. A bit more Celtic-blues-jazzy stuff to the pop-rock mix. However, he got it absolutely right on Sailing to Philadelphia, one of his best releases. It has catchy rock tunes ("What It Is", "Silvertown Blues"), the aforementioned ballad duets (title track, "The Last Laugh"), atmospheric folkier stuff ("Prairie Wedding", "Sands of Nevada") and one ripping guitar crescendo ("Speedway at Nazareth").

    And then... apparently he decided to go more rootsy and intimate and to strip away the studio shine even more. Some of you may even prefer those later albums. But Ragpicker's Dream was also an incredibly dull in terms of songwriting, and the next couple of albums were only slightly better. It's only with Privateering that he suddenly stepped up and actually had an album's worth of really good songs (though it was a double album, so still an uneven release), starting of with "Redbud Tree". I confess to not having kept up with Knopfler's later releases, as important as his music has been to me over the years. If I hadn't encountered "Brothers in Arms", I probably would not have got into music the way I did and quite probably would not be yammering on about it in a place like this...

    So it's either thank you or fuck your, Mark Knopfler, depending on the perspective.

  11. #11
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Shangri-La is another solid solo album for anyone looking to pick up something more from Knopfler. I actually prefer it to Golden Heart by a hair.

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    Looks like I need Love Over Gold at least. Thanks for the replies.


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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Debut, Making Movies, Love Over Gold, and Brothers are great studio albums. Live Alchemy is sometimes a little too laid back but the performances of Telegraph Road, Private Investigations, Romeo and Juliet, and Going Home - the Local Hero Theme are pretty much transcendent.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    Of Dire Straits, I think Making Movies is the most consistant, but Love Over Gold has the hat trick of their greatest (and closest to progressive) tracks, "Telegraph Road", "Private Investigations" and "Love Over Gold" (and unlikely many, I've always liked "Industrial Disease"). And while I'm not the greatest fan of live albums, I agree with others that Alchemy is one of the best rock concert recordings, with some of the tracks from the first two, guitars-only albums performed with much fuller and extended arrangements. And it is an actual live album with no overdubbing. There is even a good live version of "Going Home", the highlight of his Local Hero soundtrack, originally performed solo with a Linn drum. The later live album On the Night isn't bad either, though it's main justification is having superior version of the On Every Street's title track (one of the few decent cuts on that devastatingly bland release) and again a few new arrangements on a couple of tracks.
    For me, audience noise is too intrusive in places in 'On The Night', even allowing for a live album.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    there is a side of Straits I do not appreciate, though. It's the stuff further out leftfield of Industrial Disease (which was at first a WTF track for me)

    Stuff like Solid Rock, Twisting bt Pool, Walk Of Life and the ilk (not that there is many examples, but they're airwaves favs) has always grated me the wrong way
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    there is a side of Straits I do not appreciate, though. It's the stuff further out leftfield of Industrial Disease (which was at first a WTF track for me)

    Stuff like Solid Rock, Twisting bt Pool, Walk Of Life and the ilk (not that there is many examples, but they're airwaves favs) has always grated me the wrong way
    I never liked Walk of Life and find it the weakest track on Brothers but I’ve come to not hate it at least. It seems to be the light side of the band.


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  17. #17
    Can't listen to Brothers but still give debut and Love over Gold plenty of spins. Making Movies is okay.

    I have gotten into some of his solo work. Privateering is pretty darn good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    I never liked Walk of Life and find it the weakest track on Brothers but I’ve come to not hate it at least. It seems to be the light side of the band.
    I find "Walk of Life" a great little number and one of the band's classic tracks. But yes, it is indeed a part of "lighter" side of Knopfler's writing, which can yield diverse results, and continues in his solo work ("Cannibals" on Golden Heart is good example).

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    Three times in the 70's I recall hearing a song upon it's initial release and KNOWING it was going to be a huge hit! The first was American Pie, I liked the song, but grew tired of it the first 23,742 times I heard it, and have no desire to hear it nowadays. The second was Hotel California, a superbly crafted song, super catchy, but since I don't care for the Eagles, I've lost interest. The third song was Sultans of Swing and even though I've heard it thousands of times and even though I am not much of a Dire Straits fan (I have their first 3 LPs and a couple of CDs), the song is so brilliantly composed and the guitar (doesn't really cry or sing) is awesome and I still VERY MUCH enjoy listening to it.

    My other fav by them is Down to the Waterline...

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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    On Every Street is a lusciously produced album which is why I think I liked it back when it came out. In hindsight however it was their weakest effort. Calling Elvis is skipped regularly. The Bug and Heavy Fuel are clones of Walk of Life and Money For Nothing. The title track, Fade To Black and Planet of New Orleans are gorgeous. The rest is okay if not pedestrian, adult contemporary fare.

    I feel On Every Street was trying to recapture the previous album's success with songs sculpted in BiA's hits' image, even though it failed to capitalize on BiA's momentum coming out 6yrs later . If memory serves me correctly the band was going through a bit of turmoil at the time as well. It's no wonder it was the last album proper by the band. Knopfler hasn't exactly missed them.

  21. #21
    The best thing about Calling Elvis was the video, which was a homage to Gerry Anderson's Supermarianation creations (and possibly also to whichever one of the Thunderbirds movie where The Shadows appeared...like every other British guitarist his age, Mark Knopfler owes a huge debt to Hank Marvin):


  22. #22
    I love Calling Elvis, The Bug and Heavy Fuel, so guess tastes really differ. On the other hand, only My Parties and Fade to Black are the two tracks I would call "pedestrian"

    P.S. Yeah, Calling Elvis videoclip is brilliant stuff!
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    Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler

    I enjoy how common a lot of the opinions here are to mine. Since I am a bit of a folkie and Prog person, I found this song and it’s historical story wonderful. The lyricism on the albums before DS Brothers were a cut above.


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    A little off topic but this probably isn't worth starting its own thread for, so...

    In college I bought Brothers in Arms on LP. Everyone had it; didn't really need my own in my dorm! But anyway liked it quite a lot for about a year and then slowly forgot about it. Not sure I ever really played it until... I recently picked up a CD copy at a library sale for 50 cents. So I popped it in and was enjoying it but I thought "these songs really do go on...". Played it again and thought the same thing. Funny I hadn't remembered how damn long they really were; must've liked them more in the 80s I guess.

    But the third time through I knew there was something different here and sure enough... All the songs on side 1 are between 1 and 3 minutes longer on CD than on LP. Isn't that weird??! I realize this was the dawn of the CD era and bands and producers were trying to figure out what to do with the extra length of CD. But these are pop songs and the extra minutes don't help much, or maybe it is just not what I was used to?

    I don't know of any other LP that did this, except for maybe as a "bonus" track on a remaster (cf., Caravan Golf Girl). Did any other albums do this upon initial release? ever?

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    Waiting for Cousteau (En attendant Cousteau) by Jean-Michel Jarre has the (rather dull) ambient title track that runs 46:55 on CD, but was edited down to 22 minutes for the LP edition.

    As for Brothers in Arms, my first contact with it was on cassette, so I only learned about the shorter LP versions much later. And it wasn't that the songs were extended to fill the CD, but that the intended versions had to be edited to fit the LP. Love Over Gold already had a lot of extended soloing and playouts, so it was the direction that Knopfler had chosen. Whether it works is debatable. Personally, I find the extended playout of "Why Worry" to be really atmospheric and really better than the actual song.

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