Archive for Dire Straits

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Dire Straits- Brothers in Arms

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

The arrival of “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits in the summer of 1985 brought many different reactions to people. Back then, I couldn’t help but laugh at teens who thought they were the brand new sensation of the 1980s. More than one of these was completely dumbfounded when I told them that Dire Straits had been on the go since 1978 and had four prior albums. Old time followers though, upon hearing this album accused the band of abandoning their original sound and going too new wave. Some even went onto say that Dire Straits had sold out. I never thought that though I realize now that particular label got banded around too much.

“Money for Nothing” was the first big single from “Brothers in Arms” and it seemed to be on every time I switched on MTV. It also got lots of radio airplay and that was one piece of evidence used by hardcore followers to insist the band sold out. Further evidence was the fact that Sting sang accompanying vocals on the song. If you want to know my thoughts, (and you do want to know my thoughts), I never thought this song was a sell out. Furthermore, I thought Sting did a damn good job on the vocals and I have always loved the fuzz guitar throughout the song. Okay, it didn’t dislodge “Sultans of Swing” off my top spot for my favourite Dire Straits songs, it didn’t even make the top three, but it is a good song.

In fact, “Money for Nothing,” isn’t even my favourite song on this album! That honour goes to the next song on the album, “Walk of Life.” Sure, there’s a heavy keyboard sound on it but it wasn’t done in that choppy synth pop style. Got to give full marks to Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher on it, they play it very well. Plus the song just has a vibe that grabs me and has me nodding along to the melody. Maybe also the American sports themed video on MTV might have had some influence on me too.

Unfortunately, after the those two songs and a cool opener, “So Far Away” is a more traditional sounding Dire Straits song for me, the album goes a little downhill on the next couple of songs. While the sax playing of Michael Brecker on “Your Latest Trick” is very good, it doesn’t redeem the song to a point where I can say, “Hey, this is good.” Nor do things improve with the next track, “Why Worry.” Both of these songs could be put on an album called, “Dire Straits Does Elevator Music” for that’s what they remind of.

Fortunately, the album improves to more familiar Dire Straits territory after that. While there are still elements of elevator music on “Ride Across the River,” at least Mark Knopfler let’s his guitar do some singing on it and I do like the jungle rhythms in the background. Then for a complete change, there is a country music sounding acoustic guitar intro on “The Man’s Too Strong” before going into more Dire Straits sounding guitar rock. This track will have you saying, “This is more like it” and my vote for hidden gem on the album. However, it does get some stiff competition for that honour from the next track, “One World.” More of the old Dire Straits here and again, Mr Knopfler isn’t afraid to let loose on the guitar. Those two songs all lead to the end which is carried out very somberly but nicely by the title track.

Track Listing:

  1. So Far Away
  2. Money For Nothing
  3. Walk of Life
  4. Your Latest Trick
  5. Why Worry
  6. Ride Across the River
  7. The Man’s Too Strong
  8. One World
  9. Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead guitar, lead vocals

Alan Clark- keyboards

Omar Hakim- drums

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

Guy Fletcher- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Sting- vocals on “Money for Nothing”

Michael Brecker- saxophone on “Your Latest Trick”

Randy Brecker- trumpet

Malcolm Duncan- saxophone

Jimmy Maelen- percussion

Mike Mainieri- vibraphone, keyboards

David Plews- trumpet

Jack Sonni- guitar synthesizer on “The Man’s Too Strong”

It was on the tour for this album when I finally got to see Dire Straits live. It was a good show but and they played “Sultans of Swing”  as well as several songs from this album. There was a good mix of old and new followers there too. However, my big hang up about that evening was they didn’t play my number two and three DS songs, “Skateaway” and “Industrial Disease.” You can’t have everything I suppose. Still, no matter which side of the fence you sit on for “Brothers in Arms,” I have to say that it’s not a bad album.

Next post: The Power Station

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537988591&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Bob Dylan- Infidels

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

Bob_Dylan_-_Infidels

“Infidels” was Bob Dylan’s first album after his three albums professing his faith as a Born Again Christian. Now I posted about two of those albums, “Slow Train Coming” and “Saved” and like I said at the time, I have no problems with people who want to use music to express their beliefs on anything, within my personal boundaries on decency, which are quite broad. Those two albums were quite good in their own right and I remain convinced that those albums from Bob helped usher in the emerging tide of Christian rock artists that were gaining notoriety in 1983. Anyway, enough about that because it is said that “Infidels” with Dylan’s first secular album since his conversion and in many ways, it is a good album.

The first time I heard the single, “Neighborhood Bully” on the radio, I was duly impressed. To me, that song had a bit of hard rock swagger to it with a very catchy rhythm. In fact, it has taken it’s place as my fourth favourite Bob Dylan song. What also has fascinated me about the song was trying to figure out who was the neighborhood bully he was singing about. My first, thoughts was on account of the political climate at the time, that the bully might have been the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and Ronald Regan’s determination to make war on it. It could have been a Middle Eastern country and it turns out that I was right. After reading about it, (they didn’t have Wikopedia in 1983), I found out that he was singing about Israel and the persecution of the Jewish people as well as the contributions they have made to the world. The fact that this has mystery has finally been cleared up for me after more than thirty years doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still a brilliant rock tune.

It appears that Bob Dylan realized he stumbled onto something when he decided to go electric with his live “Hard Rain” album way back in 1976. For most of “Infidels,” he uses the electric guitar and his songs sound more rock. “License to Kill” and “I & I” are good examples here. You definitely can not call him a folk singer who sings through his nose on this album. However, I did read back then that some called him that old singer who sounds like Dire Straits. Well, there’s truth in that. The first time I heard Dire Straits, I thought it was Bob Dylan singing with Eric Clapton backing him up on guitar. Maybe it could be true owing to the fact that Dire Straits guitarist and lead singer Mark Knoepfler produced the album and he does a grand job in doing so. I think that on “Infidels,” Dylan sounds the best he has in years. But before anyone goes off and says that Dylan had some how changed, let me say that he still tackles relevant social and political topics of the time just like the Bob Dylan of old. He just makes the music behind his messages much more enjoyable.

Track Listing:

  1. Jokerman
  2. Sweetheart Like You
  3. Neighborhood Bully
  4. License to Kill
  5. Man of Peace
  6. Union Sundown
  7. I & I
  8. Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight

bobdylan

Bob Dylan- lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards

Mark Knopfler- guitar

Clydie King- vocals on “Sundown”

Robbie Shakespeare- bass

Mick Taylor- guitar

Sly Dunbar- drums, percussion

It would be silly of me to say that Bob Dylan was back in 1983 because he never went anywhere. He simply changed what he was singing about and went back to more traditional topics. This was still a brave thing to do in the ever increasing conservative mood of 80s Regan America. Still, he did and he proved that he could rock a bit as well.

Next post: Yes- 90125

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Dire Straits- Love Over Gold

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by 80smetalman

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When I visited Dire Straits’ previous album, “Making Movies,” I mentioned that when I saw them live in 1985, how disappointed I was that they did not play my favourite song from that album and my number two Dire Straits song of all time, “Skateaway.” To add to that disappointment and my total perplexity on this, they did not play the biggest single from their 1982 album, “Love Over Gold,” “Industrial Disease” either. What was strange about that was even three years later, that song still got the occasional play on the radio.

“Industrial Disease” isn’t only the best known song on the album but it is the only track less than six minutes in length. The others are nearly seven or more and the opener, “Telegraph Road,” is just over fourteen minutes long. The opener sets the tone for the entire album. Normally, I view songs over ten minutes in length with both optimism and pessimism. Either the song is going to rock out with interludes of great solos and combined musicianship or just be boringly repetitive. Fortunately, “Telegraph Road” follows the former. While, Mark Knopfler’s vocals aren’t too intelligible on the track, he makes up for it with some sound guitar work in different points of the song. It helps that he has assistance from some polished keyboard work, compliments of Alan Clark. If Knopfler’s vocals aren’t intelligible in the opener, they are even less so on the next track, “Private Investigations” but like the first track, it is more than made up for with some fine instrumental work. “Industrial Disease” takes the middle slot of the album and we get more of same quality blend of progressive rock and blues based lead guitar with the title track and a very worthy closer. “Love Over Gold” might only have five tracks stretched out over forty minutes but they are definitely ones to remember.

Track Listing:

1. Telegraph Road

2. Private Investigations

3. Industrial Disease

4. Lover Over Gold

5. It Never Rains

Dire Straits

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead vocals, lead guitar

Hal Lindes- guitar

Alan Clark- keyboards

John Illsley- bass

Pick Withers- drums

After thirty years, I remain dumbfounded as to why Dire Straits never played “Industrial Disease” on their 1985 tour. I can only speculate that maybe they were advised not to play too much of their early stuff on tour because they were pushing their most commercially successful album then. Still, it would be a shame because there are five really good tracks on the “Love Over Gold” album and the longer tracks tend to sound much better live.

Next post: 38 Special- Special Forces

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Dire Straits- Making Movies

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Making_Movies

In spite of the fact that I loved both of Dire Straits’ previous two albums, “Making Movies” kind of passed me by in 1981. What is even stranger is that I know the first three tracks on the album very well. Track three, “Skateaway” is my second favourite Dire Straits song of all time. I still haven’t forgiven them for not playing it when I saw them live in 1985. They did play the other two songs and my number one favourite, “Sultans of Swing”  but that’s little consolation.

Thinking back to that night I saw them live, “Tunnel of Love” was the concert closer and for some reason, I remember it being played slower than what appears on the album. My theory was that they may have been trying to sound more mid 80s. The version on album has all the trademarks of the great music this band was making at the time. Mark Knopfler plays his classic licks throughout and he does the same with the second track, “Romeo and Juliet.” Those two songs build up perfectly to the song whose praises I can’t sing enough, great song but I know I’m biased here. However, three tracks don’t an album make and the great music that is on “Making Movies” continues to go on long after. In fact, it goes on immediately into the next track “Expresso Love.” The opening riffs to the song are rocking and I can’t take anything away from the final three tracks on the album. The first of those three, “Hand in Hand” might be a little slower than the rest but it doesn’t detract from the quality of this album because the last two songs bring it all home very nicely. So, this is yet another album that makes me want to travel back in time and force the me back then to listen to it.

Track Listing:

1. Tunnel of Love

2. Romeo and Juliet

3. Skateaway

4. Expresso Love

5. Hand in Hand

6. Solid Rock

7. Les Boys

Dire Straits

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- guitar, lead vocals

John Illsley- bass, vocals

Pick Withers- drums, vocals

Additional musicians

Roy Bittan- keyboards

Sid McGuiness- guitar

One historical part in “Making Movies” was that David Knopfler left the band during the recording of the album in 1980. I don’t know the reasons behind this but am always open to enlightenment. “Making Movies” is a fantastic album and hearing it makes me slightly sick that I let it go by me for all these years. Still, I’m not yet ready to forgive Dire Straits for not playing “Skateaway.” It could be a reason why I don’t give an account of the concert on “Rock And Roll Children,” just merely a mention.

Next post: The Pretenders II

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1980: Dire Straits- Communique

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2013 by 80smetalman

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I first came by this album back in 1980 in what for me was rather unusual fashion. In December of said year, I was on liberty in Naples, Italy often referred to by American sailors and marines as the grease pit of the Mediterranean. Not to offend any Italians who may be reading this but it’s not the cleanest city I’ve been to and if you want to see your life flash before your eyes, then take a taxi. I only saw one traffic light in the whole of the city. Well, two marine buddies and I were letting our hair down in the city, (it was our first port call after leaving the Persian Gulf) so we went a bit wild. We began partying with this Englishman who had just bought this album and one owner of one of the bars we went to let him play it and I must say that through my drunken haze, I rather liked it.

Thirty three years later and sober, I still like it, probably even more. Mark Knopfler’s guitar work grabs you on the very first track, “Once Upon a Time in the West” and holds you there. The next four tracks bring you more bluesy guitar work and it reminds me a little of the Grateful Dead or Little Feat. All good tracks and just as you think you’re settling in for more of the same, the sixth track, “Angels of Mercy” changes the tempo and gets you back into it again. A very strong track and I’m pretty sure they played it when I saw them live in 1985. Then you get more of that same blues guitar from Knopfler and co in the next to the last song, “Single Handed Sailor” where the guitar work is reminiscent of the classic “Sultans of Swing.” When it’s all over, you end with a feeling that you’ve just heard an album by a very good band.

Track Listing:

1. Once Upon a Time in the West

2. News

3. Where Do You Think You’re Going

4. Comminque

5. Lady Writer

6. Angel of Mercy

7. Portobello Belle

8. Single Handed Sailor

9. Follow Me Home

Dire Straits

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead guitar, vocals

David Knopfler- rhythm guitar, vocals

John Illsley- bass, vocals

Pick Withers- drums

B. Bear- keyboards

“Communique” to me is a very underrated album, which is why I’m slightly surprised to discover that it got to number 11 in the U.S. charts and much higher in others. For hearing blues based guitar, this album is one of the best, a great gem.

Next post: Journey- Departure

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Froogle and Barnes & Noble and at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Dire Straits

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by 80smetalman

The first time I heard the Dire Straits song, “Sultans of Swing” I was in the marines listening to it with a bunch of my marine buddies. One of them stated, “It’s Bob Dylan” and another added, “And he’s got Clapton backing him up on guitar.” While I would have loved to have seen such a calloboration, I am satisfied with knowing that Dire Straits is the closest I will ever get to it. Besides, Mark Knopfler  is a much better vocalist than Dylan and on this album he plays guitar almost as good as Clapton.

In spite of the fact that “Sultans of Swing” reached number four in the US charts, this first album by Dire Straits is definitely not a one song, the rest filler album. There are many great tracks that shows the guitar talents of Knopfler and supported by the rest of the band. Of course, the forementioned song is my favourite Dire Straits song of all time but there are some other good tracks on the album as well. It’s the later tracks that do it for me like “Soutbound Again,” “In the Gallery” and “Wild West End.” However, the entire album is a good soft rock listen with some fantastic blues guitar licks compliments of Mark Knopfler.

Track Listing:

1. Down to the Waterline

2. Water of Love

3. Setting Me Up

4. Six Blade Knife

5. Southbound Again

6. Sultans of Swing

7. In the Gallery

8. Wild West End

9. Lions

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

David Knopfler- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Pick Withers- drums

I didn’t get to hear this album until 1980 and I have always concluded that it was just one of those albums that came out when I was in boot camp in the summer of 79. Furthermore, in 1985, when everyone was raving about “Brothers in Arms,” I automatically thought back to this album and remembered that it was more genuine offering than the more commercially produced one in the mid 80s. This is the album I will always associate most with Dire Straits.

Next post: Cheap Trick- Dream Police

To buy Rock and Roll Children: go to www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London