DIRE STRAITS c or d

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Dire Straits are better than Steely Dan as a radio act, possibly also as an albums band.

-- The stickman from the hilarious "xkcd" comics, Thursday, 31 July 2008 14:44

Really? Well i need me some edumacation.

I wanted to revive a thread, but there isn't a c or d type thread.

Frogman Henry, Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:51 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

There doesn't seem to be much good Dire Straits talk on ILM, for obvious reasons, so I figured I'd post here rather than revive one of the (slightly) more active threads.

Classic. I love this band. Really I do, though I've been unaware of the depths of my love for some twenty years. They were an early teenage love of mine, but I left them behind during my drug & art-addled college years and never looked back. Today, though, I picked up a copy of Dire Straits after listening to copies of the first 4 albums in the rekkid store (all priced to move at like two buck apiece). Liked em all, but the self-titled debut is the most consistent and most mesmerizing. Maybe tomorrow I'll go back for Communique, Making Movies and Love Over Gold.

There's a strange quality of distance to their music, especially on the debut. It feels as though it's coming at you from a great distance away, through heat-shimmers, all blurred and indistinct -- something they'd make explicit on Communique with Once Upon a Time In the West. At the same time, the guitar playing is incredibly sharp, distinct and emotionally subtle. Knopfler doesn't have an enormous range by any conventional standard, he does one thing and does it very well, but few pop musicians manage to finesse so many communicative shades and variations from such understated playing.

That's part of what appeals to me, but I don't think it's the entire package. At their best, they've got a quality of weary, almost arcane-seeming melancholy, and an attention to the pure beauty of their sound that rivals the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Vangelis (weird comparisons, I know). They're soothing, lovely, sad and strange, but they take a big step back from all these things, presenting them in with a sidelong diffidence that almost entirely obscures just how remarkable and evocative the music is. I like that. I like the smoky reticence and soft-focus grit.

In spite of this, they're awful damn hard to like. They trashed their legacy in the 80s with miserable crap like Money for Nothing, they've at least flirted with homophobia on more than one occasion, they seem to prize comfort as the only meaningful musical virtue, and Knopfler's lyrics are marked by a sometimes annoying conservatism. Even their best records slack off terribly on side two. None of which will endear them to discerning ears, I suppose, but I love them still. Love them like Thin Lizzy, who they sometimes remind me of, in a nappy-time sort of way. Like Thin Lizzy falling asleep in a nice, soft chair.

The first four records are all worth hearing, but I think they're a band that would be best served by a compilation of some sort. Suggestions:

Down to the Waterline
Setting Me Up
Six Blade Knife
Sultans of Swing
Lions
Once Upon a Time In the West
Communique
Lady Writer
Portobello Belle
Tunnel of Love
Romeo and Juliet
Skateway
Romeo and Juliet
Telegraph Road
Private Investigations
Industrial Disease

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 09:36 (eleven years ago) link

an extended family member was a huge fan of DS so i heard most of it when i was a kid.. some of it made a reasonably positive impression. i think brothers in arms onwards is a complete snore but there are some great moments in the early stuff. i only have to see the word industrial for 'industrial disease' to be in my head.. and i don't think i've heard it in over 20 years

indie spare (electricsound), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 09:40 (eleven years ago) link

an extended family member was a huge fan of DS so i heard most of it when i was a kid.. some of it made a reasonably positive impression.

― indie spare (electricsound), Wednesday, November 18, 2009 1:40 AM (1 minute ago) Bookmark

I think maybe that's why they're so often taken for granted. They don't surprise. The capacity to surprise just isn't in them. At best, they coddle. Some wool-clad tobacco-smelling uncle used to listen to them and they were alright. So it's hard to find reason to reconsider them, and easy to assume that you've heard or will hear what you need to - even if it's just Sultans on the radio every once in a while.

Industrial Disease is seriously fucking great though, clunky working-class poetry and all.

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 09:48 (eleven years ago) link

The whole of Love Over Gold is terrific, especially "Telegraph Road". Rarely have I heard so much drama and incident in a rock song.

anagram, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:24 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, Telegraph Road was the song that first won me over when I was a kid. Not just unique in its drama & incident, but also in how those qualities enact and even constitute the narrative. The final five-minute stretch is almost overwhelmingly powerful. Dunno that it's my favorite Dire Straits song, but it's up there.

Wanted to mention yesterday how appropriate the cover art to the 1st LP is. A vague, blurred and nearly monochromatic painting of a woman on a porch of some kind, depicted as a abstract collection of softened planes of light and shadow. It's cool, detached and decidedly modern, but at the same time, it communicates a kind of romantic wistfulness. Describes the music very well, both in its modernist abstraction and minimalism, but also in its understated romance.

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:18 (eleven years ago) link

Love them like Thin Lizzy, who they sometimes remind me of

Actually, Knopfler guests on a song on one of Phil Lynott's solo LPs (and they may have deeper connections beyond that, for all I know. Seems like both bands were somehow on the fringe of the UK's pub rock scene in the mid '70s -- even despite how big Lizzy were -- though maybe that's just my imagination. "Sultans of Swing" was basically about a pub rock band, as far as I can tell.)

xhuxk, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:41 (eleven years ago) link

s/t does seem to be unjustly ignored by nerds on the internet. It's likely to make my top 20 on any given day, even though I can basically take or leave the rest of their catalogue (that I've heard) - particularly after BIA. They were really hitting on something special that first go round.

feed them to the (Linden Ave) lions (will), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:14 (eleven years ago) link

I haven't had their albums for a long time, but I used to think the second one was too similar to the first (which had just charted, in the U.S. anyway, only five months before), though I always liked "Lady Writer" and "Once Upon A Time In The West." Making Movies in 1980 was their big critics' record -- #18 Pazz & Jop; I think Greil Marcus liked it a lot. But somehow Knopfler seemed to get less artistically ambitious and literary after that; maybe he worried he was getting too pretentious? So by '83 they were tossing off sillinesss like "Twistin' By The Pool" (I actually bought the 12-inch EP), and then a who-cares live album (which might actually be good, who knows), and then they exploded. Brothers In Arms was #9 in the U.S. for nine weeks! Really, that has to count as one of the big comebacks in rock history -- a #2 album, then five middling ones, then a huge #1.
I wonder to what extent their early fans considered them sellouts then, when they suddenly became the biggest dumbass sports-bar band around.
And then they never came close to that again; no charting albums for six years after their big one -- did they basically break up then, or what? And were they big in England, at all? They seemed to really go against the grain of the foppiness of '80s UK pop (which they clearly set themselves in opposition to.) I always hated "Walk Of Life," though.

xhuxk, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:37 (eleven years ago) link

Oops,I meant #1 in the U.S. for nine weeks (though #9 for nine weeks might be an even rarer accomplishment, for all I know.)

xhuxk, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:39 (eleven years ago) link

I love that knopfler didn't really let his virtuosity get the best of him in DS (haven't heard any of his post-DS stuff). He could have easily wanked off into the stratosphere and ruined out all those awesome minimal grooves.

guammls (QE II), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:53 (eleven years ago) link

These guys are masters of badass build-up intros

guammls (QE II), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:54 (eleven years ago) link

I used to think the second one was too similar to the first... Making Movies in 1980 was their big critics' record -- #18 Pazz & Jop; I think Greil Marcus liked it a lot. But somehow Knopfler seemed to get less artistically ambitious and literary after that; maybe he worried he was getting too pretentious? So by '83 they were tossing off sillinesss like "Twistin' By The Pool" (I actually bought the 12-inch EP), and then a who-cares live album (which might actually be good, who knows), and then they exploded. Brothers In Arms was #9 in the U.S. for nine weeks!

― xhuxk, Wednesday, November 18, 2009 12:37 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark

Agree that Communique feels rushed and indistinct. You get a several fine songs, but it's basically a less-inspired retread of the debut. Making Movies is at least half great (I mean REALLY great) and does seem to be the critic's favorite, but it looses steam in its second half. And "Les Boys" is just horrid. Agree, too, that the Twistin' EP was their turning point. It seems to reflect a conscious decision to lighten, brighten and streamline their sound - and to take in influences that might broaden it in various ways. So you get explicit pop pastiche stuff like the title track and "Two Young Lovers", as well as a loose, jokey feel overall. They retained this optimism and stylistic openness/economy for Brothers In Arms, though dialing back the humor, and I guess it served them well commercially - perhaps even artistically. But it drained away everything I liked about the group: the mystery, romance and quiet tension - their hypnotic, abstractly beautiful attention to pure sound. Maybe they did it because "Industrial Disease" made a bigger impression than "Telegraph Road", suggesting that the 80s weren't gonna be friendly to epic, ambitious guitar hero stuff. I dunno. I suppose I can't fault them for making one of the most popular albums of its era...

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 23:13 (eleven years ago) link

nice piece up there, contenderizer

Michael B, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 23:28 (eleven years ago) link

LOL all this talk about 'from Brothers In Arms onwards' but I didn't even realize they'd DONE anything after Brothers In Arms.

Man, that was an album tailor made for Musician Magazine to write 8 zillion articles about...

five minutes of iguana time (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 18 November 2009 23:37 (eleven years ago) link

Well, the second half of Brothers in Arms is pretty dark, FWIW: "The Man's Too Big", "Ride Across the River", and the title track.

Years ago I was a huge fan of the Alchemy; at the very least, the live version of "Sultan's of Swing" is fucking great.

Mark, Thursday, 19 November 2009 01:20 (eleven years ago) link

'the man comes around' by johnny cash owes a little something to 'the man's too big' imo. kinda hate that album though and the steely dan assertion at top is wrong (rip big man) but their earlier stuff is pretty tight.

jØrdån (omar little), Thursday, 19 November 2009 01:23 (eleven years ago) link

Probably haven't listened to Brothers in Arms since the 80s but I sure listened to it a lot back then. Should keep an eye out for Love Over Gold on vinyl. I had a poster of the LOG cover on the wall in my college dorm-- no wonder I never had a girlfriend.

Mark, Thursday, 19 November 2009 01:28 (eleven years ago) link

Also love Knopfler's theme to Local Hero.

anagram, Thursday, 19 November 2009 09:10 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, Local Hero soundtrack is great overall, though better in context than as something to listen to on its own. Main theme ("Wild Theme" or whatever) is AMAZING though, and I would listen to it anytime anyplace, basically for free. Saw Real Estate tonite (thread connections) and their excellent "Pool Swimmers" reminds me A LOT of that song. I mean a lot a lot.

Plus appreciate kind words from Michael B xpost, but wish I'd like taken a second to read that that first long ramble before hitting submit. So many awkwardness.

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Thursday, 19 November 2009 09:22 (eleven years ago) link

Shit, I mean "FAKE BLUES"! Again with the read before post thing gddmit! Suggestion to people is to listen to FAKE BLUES and the Local Hero theme.

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Thursday, 19 November 2009 09:24 (eleven years ago) link

helpfully:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EyoXb4DtHA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AePShfa66LU

I dunno, maybe it's just me...

my full five minutes of iguana time (contenderizer), Thursday, 19 November 2009 09:36 (eleven years ago) link

l accidentally started liking "sultans of swing" cause I thought it was dylan

lukevalentine, Friday, 20 November 2009 23:40 (eleven years ago) link

to my ears that real state track sounds blatantly like egyptian reggae without the fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg7WG6tCbrw

alex in mainhattan, Saturday, 21 November 2009 12:26 (eleven years ago) link

These guys are masters of badass build-up intros

― guammls (QE II), Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:54 PM (3 days ago) Bookmark

you need to search out Otterman Empire - Private Land for a dubbed out re-edit of Private Investigations.

it's one long badass build up intro

my opinionation (Hamildan), Saturday, 21 November 2009 17:21 (eleven years ago) link

making movies is one of those albums where i probably played the first side 4,000,000 times and the second side, um, maybe 5 times.

scott seward, Saturday, 21 November 2009 17:35 (eleven years ago) link

am i the only one down with "expresso love"? (yeah it's kind of a re-write of "lady writer)

oh (skeletor), Saturday, 21 November 2009 19:13 (eleven years ago) link

There's a bit in Sultans of Swing where the drummer goes into a double-time jazz beat for about five seconds which is amazing. Great track all round.

Communi-Bear Silo State (chap), Saturday, 21 November 2009 19:15 (eleven years ago) link

xpost nope, not just you. the "she was made in heaven" part's a little wack but the riff is pretty damn muscular imo

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Saturday, 21 November 2009 19:18 (eleven years ago) link

yeah, it's not like the first three songs on side 2 are bad or anything, they just don't quite compare. I used to play Skateaway on my parents' copy all the time when I was 11 or 12.

clotpoll, Sunday, 22 November 2009 20:43 (eleven years ago) link

also Knopfler's solo tune "Vic and Ray" is awesome - it has this great ominous atmosphere and doesn't really sound like anything else he's done.

clotpoll, Sunday, 22 November 2009 20:58 (eleven years ago) link

five months pass...

So I'm thinking that Dire Straits' debut LP is similar to Rickie Lee Jones' debut LP (same label Warner Bros., same year 1979 -- well, Dire Straits technically late '78 I guess, but didn't chart in the U.S. 'til January) in that both tease you by putting their only two non-slow songs with hooks and lyrics you'll actually remember when the songs are over at the beginnings of each side, then they get all drowsy and mumbly for the rest. Which I don't totally hate -- in DS' case, "Down The Waterline" and "Sultans of Swing" are very good and great songs respectively, and Knopfler's guitar has no problem carrying the rest of the LP as background atmosphere -- but it kind of pisses me off, since Knopfler was obviously a real writerly guy and you'd think he might be concerned with putting songs like "In The Gallery" (which might well prove him a homophobic asshole with no use for modern art, whatever) and "Wild West End" over. He probably does better with less arty blues-shuffle stuff like "Setting Me Up" and "Southbound Again," but I'm really not buying the schtick of those; just can't see him as the Delta blues codger he's pretending to be. Even Clapton did that way more convincingly. Still, guitar's great all over. And "Sultans" has to be one of the few songs in rock history (maybe any-music history) to deal expressly with audiences disagreeing about the definition of a musical genre. (As in "They don't give a damn 'bout any trumpet-playing band/It ain't what they call rock'n'roll"; pretty sure Knopfler disagrees, but at least he lets the pub-rocking-hating trendies in their brown baggies and platform soles have their say.) (Fwiw, I think "Wild West End" got some very brief AOR play in Detroit in '79, after "Sultans" and "Waterline" fell off -- like I heard it twice maybe -- but I might be conflating my memory of that with "Once Upon A Time In The West" off the second album, which definitely got airplay.)

xhuxk, Monday, 26 April 2010 16:00 (ten years ago) link

"Down To The Waterline" I meant.

Also kinda neat how "Water Of Love" starts out exactly like something off Roxy Music's Manifesto ("Dance Away" I think), also from '79.

xhuxk, Monday, 26 April 2010 16:03 (ten years ago) link

And "Sultans" has to be one of the few songs in rock history (maybe any-music history) to deal expressly with audiences disagreeing about the definition of a musical genre. (As in "They don't give a damn 'bout any trumpet-playing band/It ain't what they call rock'n'roll"; pretty sure Knopfler disagrees, but at least he lets the pub-rocking-hating trendies in their brown baggies and platform soles have their say.)

But the band is much more jazz than rock'n'roll, isn't it? I thought those lines were just to show that they're at the bar to get drunk, and will ignore anything outside of their chosen genre, even if the music is far superior to whatever they listen to.

itchy rainbolt (clotpoll), Monday, 26 April 2010 17:41 (ten years ago) link

Guess you could read it that way -- They're called the Sultans of Swing, after all, and they obviously have trumpets -- but I've always thought of them as more of an eclectic roots band, if anything. Harry with the daytime job "can play honky-tonk like anything"; "The Sultans played Creole"; the whole verse about George knowing all the chords but just wanting to play rhythm on his old guitar, which is all he can afford. So yeah, it's possible I've always read too much into it -- but it's more interesiting my way, so I'm gonna stick with it.

Didn't Dire Straits come up through the British pub-rock scene, though? Seems to me roots bands are would've played in those places, maybe often in front of glammy trendy drunk kids. But I could be wrong (and just because those bands played those places doesn't mean that's who he's singing about. But Knopfler obviously has a thing -- see "In The Gallery," "Money For Nothing" -- about pitting the salt of the earth against what he seems to see as the artsy hipster phonies of the world. The Harry in "In The Gallery," who crafts bareback riders and coal miners out of clay and stone but can't get into museums where abstract art gets shown, might even be the same Harry who plays in the Sultans!)

xhuxk, Monday, 26 April 2010 18:23 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

So now I've pretty much decided that, even without a song as great as "Sultans Of Swing," and even though it's sort of a rehash in some ways, Communique is a more consistent LP than the debut -- easier to attend to all the way through, thanks to more songs that stick and Knopfler frequently pushing his tasty guitar atmosphere to the forefront. Very sweet solos in "Where Do You Think You're Going?" and "Portobello Belle," and I also like his Latin stuff in "Angel Of Mercy" and country boogie in the otherwise kinda draggy title track and especially the spaghetti western with which he appropriately opens "Once Upon A Time In The West" -- the latter also being one of the two catchiest tracks along with "Lady Writer", which once again are both side openers and the ones that I think got AOR airplay back then. On the second side he seems obsessed with Catholic girls, not that he he seems all that incisive about the issue -- lady on TV talking about Virgin Mary while hair falls down upon her face as he remembers his fall from grace in "Lady Writer," angel who's gonna save his soul in "Angel Of Mercy," Irish girl taking part with a blind guy (bluesman maybe?) in what seems like it might be a halfway decent short story if I listened closer in "Portobello Belle." Also haven't figured out yet whether the sailor in "Single Handed Sailor" has one hand because he's jerking off or he has a hook or what. Mostly like the words of "Once Upon A Time In The West," which I gather is about L.A. rather than the Wild West End, though it seems peevish how Knopfler opens the album whining about people scaring pedestrians by exceeding the speed limit when his music's main problem is that it frequently could afford to go faster. Still, tempos do pick up some in general here, which helps.

xhuxk, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:14 (ten years ago) link

Actually, guess I mean he seems defensive. And come to think of it, it might not be so much that BPMS increase a little ("Sultans of Swing" still feels like their most propulsive song by far) as that, in the non-single/filler tracks, he's enunciating more, and his writing and playing come off less perfunctory than on the first album.

xhuxk, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:21 (ten years ago) link

He probably does better with less arty blues-shuffle stuff like "Setting Me Up" and "Southbound Again," but I'm really not buying the schtick of those; just can't see him as the Delta blues codger he's pretending to be

i always thought he was going for more of a j.j. cale, "tulsa sound" kind of thing...

you hippies can keep yr gay socialist jesus (will), Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:30 (ten years ago) link

Also haven't figured out yet whether the sailor in "Single Handed Sailor" has one hand because he's jerking off or he has a hook or what.

That made me laugh. Don't really know who or what the song is about, but the whole thing is set around this boat, which is in dry dock in Greenwich in London.

Vision Creation Mansun (NickB), Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:32 (ten years ago) link

Agree with yr overall assessment of this album's worth btw.

Vision Creation Mansun (NickB), Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:34 (ten years ago) link

(which i think he does rather brilliantly)

i should re-listen to Communique and Making Movies; i suspect they would stick to my ribs a little better now than they did 12-13 years ago when i was obsessing over s/t

xx-post

you hippies can keep yr gay socialist jesus (will), Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:34 (ten years ago) link

I've got 'Single Handed Sailor' stuck in my head now and I'm thinking that the tune is a lot like Dylan's 'Oh Sister'.

Vision Creation Mansun (NickB), Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:47 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

So okay, what's the deal with the Twisting By The Pool EP, from 1983? (Or, as my copy says on the cover, ExtendedDanc"EP"lay -- not sure what its official name is supposed to be; Joel Whitburn's book lists it as the former.) Contractual obligation, frustrated sellout move, record label pressure to go more "pop," bid for the European market, or what? Title track might be the lightest, most frivolous thing they ever did, and it didn't chart Hot 100 at all in the States (EP went to #53 on the album chart), but I remember it being pretty ubiquitous in Germany when I lived there. (Actually, just checked Wiki -- only #31 Germany, but #14 UK, #1 New Zealand, #2 Australia, #11 Italy; apparently got "rock" airplay in the States, but only reached #105 pop.) And I guess, yeah, a dance song, though who would actually be "twisting" in 1983? Stray Cats fans? Except the lyrics says they're on holiday at the beach, dancing to "the Eurobeat" (first time I ever heard that word, I think, but living in Germany I thought it was a perfect genre name.) Song doesn't sound cynical, but knowing Knopfler, it's gotta be right? Maybe a template for Brothers In Arms (which I haven't listened to in entirety for decades so this could be way off), as in: moving away from uppity literary aspirations toward putting out dumb records the masses will buy. Three other songs on the EP, most substantial being a talked-not-sung five-minute diddy-bebop quasi-jazz (as in Steely Dan maybe) workout called "Badges, Posters, T-Shirts," about fans looking for merch and (I think) claiming they could drum better than the drummer. The B-side songs really do sound like B-sides, pleasant but forgettable, one sax based and maybe very slightly jump-bluesy ("Two Young Lovers"), the other piano based and possibly an attempt at Blonde On Blonde era Dylan. Did anymore care?

xhuxk, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 16:12 (ten years ago) link

"Did anybody care?," I mean. (Actually, I was thinking they were on a career downswing by that point, and just fishing for whatever they could get, but I just noticed in Wiki that Love Over Gold from 1982 -- which I know basically nothing about -- apparently went #1 all over Europe, their first album to do so, but peaked at #19 in the States just like Making Movies before it had. So it's possible that, by this point, they figured the Euromarket was their future.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 16:23 (ten years ago) link

"Two Young Lovers" - haha, that's the yakety sax song right?

Vision Creation Mansun (NickB), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:29 (ten years ago) link

Sax is by Mel Collins of King Crimson btw iirc

Vision Creation Mansun (NickB), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:31 (ten years ago) link

Contractual obligation, frustrated sellout move, record label pressure to go more "pop,"

A little of everything perhaps? The video for the title track was in pretty heavy MTV rotation and I recall that Rolling Stone had a very prominent review (I'm sure paid for). Love Over Gold was a complete non-entity in the US (despite the charts).

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:51 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

i never even knew that word was in the song until i read about that this morning!

got electrolytes (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 14 January 2011 03:26 (nine years ago) link

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/music/faggot-to-be-removed-from-dire-straits-song-20110114-to-be-replaced- with-leftover-nigger-from-huck-finn-19q9m.html

Hideous Lump, Friday, 14 January 2011 03:54 (nine years ago) link

I’m very suspicious of Chris Rae for some reason. I should check him out.

1st DS album is really solid, great production too. I like their sound as a “unit”.
Communique is really good too. Maybe it does depend on how much you like Knopfler’s playing? Again, really great group interplay
I haven’t actually listened to Love Over Gold apart from “industrial disease”, I need to correct that
Making Movies - first two tracks are dope
Brothers In Arms - fascinating from the perspective of taking a band with a pretty distinct sound and feeding them into the corporate pop machine so as to make them almost unrecognizable

brimstead, Sunday, 24 November 2019 22:17 (one year ago) link

I adore the first 5 tracks on Making Movies.

kraudive, Sunday, 24 November 2019 22:40 (one year ago) link

The sax on Your Latest Trick is my Proust Madeleine

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 24 November 2019 23:49 (one year ago) link

I was about 10 when Brothers in Arms came out and it was still huge during my first year of (Australian) high school. Everyone I knew was into it, and the local family who had the first CD player in our neighborhood used to attract kids specifically for the purpose of listening to it at insane volumes in Perfect Sound. They played like 15 nights at the biggest venue in town. It was in the Proper Pop Phenomenon space for us, one of those things that is hard to convey after the event.

Now I can't stand Money For Nothing and Walk of Life but still enjoy the rest very much. Partly nostalgia and partly appreciating the insane production values. It feels like a good vehicle for appreciating the bands latter strengths - creating a sense of atmosphere and crafting a sympathetic platform for Knopfler's guitar playing, which I still find emotionally affecting despite having very little time for guitar solos elsewhere in my life. It feels like it has reasonable continuity with what they were doing on Love Over Gold? A bit more bloodless, sure, but recognisably the same band who did Private Investigations & Industrial Disease. And the extended outtro to Why Worry is a huge peak for me, immaculately played and recorded corporate rock shooting for a weird kind of new age serenity. Love it.

umsworth (emsworth), Monday, 25 November 2019 00:27 (one year ago) link

"Walk Of Life" is funny and dumb

billstevejim, Monday, 25 November 2019 00:51 (one year ago) link

Sorry, I will never not post this:

http://www.wolproject.com

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 25 November 2019 01:48 (one year ago) link

eleven months pass...

Giving On Every Street a listen this morning for the first time ever, it's a very good album.

akm, Monday, 16 November 2020 17:29 (two weeks ago) link

Yet another band that has gone from massive to ... underrated? The Knopfler solo albums I've heard have been really good, too.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 16 November 2020 19:47 (two weeks ago) link

if i was a completist these are 2 groups i would consider as they are what i would consider intelligent rock music!

xzanfar, Monday, 16 November 2020 19:49 (two weeks ago) link

I don't know about underrated as the catalog still sells very well by today's standards. I like them, but there's a lot of stuff that I don't like on all of their albums. Making Movies is probably the most extreme example of this - side one's awesome, but side two quickly goes to hell. I usually just listen to a compilation that boils everything down to their best stuff.

birdistheword, Monday, 16 November 2020 20:15 (two weeks ago) link

I recently realized that the "Telegraph Road" of that lengthy song is the same one I grew up on, in the Detroit area. Never made that connection because people in that region never verbally identify streets with "road", "street", "avenue", etc. 8 Mile instead of 8 Mile Road, like. We just knew/know it as "Telegraph."

henry s, Monday, 16 November 2020 20:31 (two weeks ago) link

Never heard On Every Street. They were my favourite band when I was 9 or 10 then by the time of that last album I'd moved on. There is great stuff on every record, yes and despite Making Movies being their best, it does indeed descend into hell.

kraudive, Monday, 16 November 2020 20:52 (two weeks ago) link

I don't know, side two has "Expresso Love" and "Solid Rock," which are both driven by great riffs and licks. "Hand in Hand" is an OK ballad that sounds a bit like Graham Parker. "Les Boys" is pretty stupid, but it's the last song. But man, side one (three songs!) of that album ...

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 16 November 2020 21:03 (two weeks ago) link

I like Hand In Hand very much.

kraudive, Monday, 16 November 2020 21:09 (two weeks ago) link

it’s not as good as side A but it’s not bad or anything (Les Boys aside)

brimstead, Monday, 16 November 2020 21:09 (two weeks ago) link

"Hand In Hand" is used very well in Everybody Wants Some!!!.

"what are you DOING to fleetwood mac??" (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 16 November 2020 21:19 (two weeks ago) link

I heard the title track of On Every Street on a compilation. It's touching and much more low-key than most of their latter-day stuff, with an actually cathartic guitar coda.

Communique must win a prize for most blatant attempt to carbon copy a successful debut album. Another nominee: King Crimson's In the Wake of Poseidon.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 16 November 2020 23:25 (two weeks ago) link

side one of making movies is indeed peak straits

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Monday, 16 November 2020 23:35 (two weeks ago) link

There's a vinyl copy of Love Over Gold somewhere here. Need to pull it out.

kraudive, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:18 (two weeks ago) link

Love Over Gold is primo Floyd not Floyd.

earlnash, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:37 (two weeks ago) link

I occasionally feel actual human emotions when listening to Knopfler guitar solos

some of the best are on his solo LPs IMO - there's one on a song called I think 'prairie wedding' that actually took my breath away the first time I heard it (YMMV naturally)

I don't know exactly what his trick is - but it really does a number on me

the least famous person you were surprised to discover (emsworth), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:39 (two weeks ago) link

ha totally. it’s an amazing sounding album xp

brimstead, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:40 (two weeks ago) link

back when I was a kid (in the 80s) I viewed Dire Straits as the exact midway point between Floyd and Springsteen

brimstead, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:40 (two weeks ago) link

the solo (solos?) on “brothers in arms” is/are really moving

brimstead, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:41 (two weeks ago) link

no pick!

brimstead, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:41 (two weeks ago) link

Is it me, or is like Knopfler like really popular in Eastern Europe? That is a vibe I get from the videos and comments on Youtube vids about Knopfler and Dire Straits.

earlnash, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:41 (two weeks ago) link

I have no idea why but that makes total sense

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:54 (two weeks ago) link

eastern europe, africa, dire straits is truly global

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 02:11 (two weeks ago) link

no pick!

the tone is amazing for sure! but there's also something about his melodic choices, and (crucially IMO) the way the songs are structured to create a sympathetic bed for the solos

the least famous person you were surprised to discover (emsworth), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 02:17 (two weeks ago) link

I love how lyrical his playing is without getting bogged down in big, bent notes. He sort of skirts along the edges of country and jazz and blues without quite landing on any of them. Possibly in this thread but certainly elsewhere people have compared his playing to Richard Thompson, which never really occurred to me, though when I think about it I can see the occasional resemblances. Imo Thompson is more clearly the untouchable virtuoso, yet while I love every minute of his guitar playing it's just so ... playful and alive ... and eerily perfect, no matter the context. Thompson may write better melancholy, mournful songs, but Knopfler's playing actually captures that vibe better. He often sounds like he's searching for something.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 03:09 (two weeks ago) link

Vocals aside, "Hand in Hand" used to remind me of Springsteen in spots, and sure enough Roy Bittan's on piano (with Iovine producing, fresh off of Darkness on the Edge of Town). It can be pleasant enough, otherwise it would never work the way it did in Everybody Wants Some!! "Solid Rock" always sounded like rote stuff to me, like throwaway lyrics applied to a band warm-up. "Expresso Love" never really goes anywhere, and it's probably the best cut on side B. Every time I put on that side, it felt like I was listening to B-sides or outtakes.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 03:24 (two weeks ago) link

I recently realized that the "Telegraph Road" of that lengthy song is the same one I grew up on, in the Detroit area. Never made that connection because people in that region never verbally identify streets with "road", "street", "avenue", etc. 8 Mile instead of 8 Mile Road, like. We just knew/know it as "Telegraph."

Interesting... can confirm this (I also grew up around there).

it's AG in your faaaace.... (morrisp), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 04:57 (two weeks ago) link

back when I was a kid (in the 80s) I viewed Dire Straits as the exact midway point between Floyd and Springsteen

― brimstead, Tuesday, November 17, 2020 1:40 AM (eight hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Their strength and their weakness IMO....

my opinionation (Hamildan), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 10:14 (two weeks ago) link

xp from one of many links:

The Telegraph Road is a major north-south 70 mile thoroughfare in Michigan. Mark Knopfler was inspired to write this song while riding in the front of the tour bus, which made the journey down Telegraph Road. At the time, Knopfler was reading the novel The Growth Of the Soil by the Nobel Prize winning Norwegian author Knut Hamsun and he was inspired to put the 2 together and write a song about the beginning of the development along Telegraph Road and the changes over the ensuing decades. This was a metaphor for the development of America and the ruining of one man's dreams in the wake of its decline, in particular focusing on unemployment.

Guessing the bus was on its way to Pine Knob, and they took Telegraph to Square Lake to 75.

henry s, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 13:09 (two weeks ago) link

Bittan is all over "Making Movies." His playing on "Tunnel of Love" is as important to the song as the guitar.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 13:28 (two weeks ago) link

Is it me, or is like Knopfler like really popular in Eastern Europe? That is a vibe I get from the videos and comments on Youtube vids about Knopfler and Dire Straits.

His father was Hungarian, maybe that's in there somewhere.

Boring blighters bloaters (Tom D.), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 13:30 (two weeks ago) link

Also I don't think I knew, till recently, that he was born in Glasgow and lived there till he was 7.

Boring blighters bloaters (Tom D.), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 13:31 (two weeks ago) link

I’ll probably end up getting cancelled but I’ve never got why ‘Les Boys’ gets such a bad rap...sure it’s a bit dated and gauche but fundamentally it’s quite sweet and for a pretty huge rock band to write a LGBQT seems fairly progressive...I say fairly

X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 15:12 (two weeks ago) link

Thompson may write better melancholy, mournful songs, but Knopfler's playing actually captures that vibe better. He often sounds like he's searching for something.

I like that way of putting it. His guitar often sounds to me like it's thinking. I think I said this upthread somewhere, but as a kid I used to listen to Knopfler's guitar and feel like I was [this close] to being able to decode what it was saying and put it into words. There's something in his solos that - to me - has the rhythms of human speech, like someone half-articulating a thought, pausing, saying "but on the other hand," and following the thought off through tangents that seem like they're going to resolve but never quite do. Idk if it sounds like that to anyone else.

And he never sounds to me like he's showing off, which is also pretty cool. I mean, impressive as his solos are, they always feel like they're central to the mood of the song and he's not just showboating.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 22:28 (two weeks ago) link

this close was supposed to be in italics, obviously. Grr.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 22:29 (two weeks ago) link

i have not really listened to any dire straits or mark knopfler, i tried that "prairie wedding" song someone mentioned above and that solo is definitely something, i would say it's thoughtful, articulate and searching but definitely low-key about it. kind of sells the song imo.

Amy #Kony Barrett (map), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 22:47 (two weeks ago) link

That whole album is really good, iirc. I'm not sure I've heard any of the albums after it, though, and there have been ... several. But from that album you also get this gem:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxl2YGDJEAM

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 22:59 (two weeks ago) link

(Album features guest backing vox from James Taylor, Van Morrison, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and the guys from Squeeze. Knopfler showing off his rolodex there.)

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 23:01 (two weeks ago) link

Wish he'd just turned up at the Hall Of Fame, played Les Boys solo, then left

PaulTMA, Tuesday, 17 November 2020 23:33 (two weeks ago) link

Checked to see if I posted the live version of Portobello Belle that I really like; looks like I did, about a year ago.

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 01:28 (two weeks ago) link

I’ll probably end up getting cancelled but I’ve never got why ‘Les Boys’ gets such a bad rap...sure it’s a bit dated and gauche but fundamentally it’s quite sweet and for a pretty huge rock band to write a LGBQT seems fairly progressive...I say fairly

― X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy),

Don't get defensive -- there's no point.

I don't find it sweet or dated -- it's a dumb heavy-handed attitude toward a slice of gay culture about which a casual Fassbinder fan would've had some insight. I find Rod Stewart's "The Killing of Georgie" awkward, gauche, and often stupid but way more empathetic.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 November 2020 01:36 (two weeks ago) link

agreed. the melody is nice, lyrics should be about lying in a field eating grapes or something

brimstead, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 01:51 (two weeks ago) link

I think Mark Knopfler's lyrics are often dumb and heavy-handed. I think the guitar is really his native language; he has such lyricism in his guitar solos, and such nuance and lightness of touch, but he's much clumsier with words, imo. His choruses are often good, and sometimes he gets a kind of dark ominous vibe going in the lyrics that works for him, but there's a lot of really clunky try-hard stuff in there too.

I think that's one reason his star has fallen lately; the other, imo, is he's just not weird enough. Telegraph Road is a good song, but if you heard it described on paper, you'd think it was a lot stranger and more atmospheric than it is.

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 02:00 (two weeks ago) link

otm

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 November 2020 02:18 (two weeks ago) link


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