Archive for Sultans of Swing

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Dire Straits- Making Movies

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


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

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Great Rock Albums of 1980: Dire Straits- Communique

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


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

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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

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