- Audio CD (3 Jun. 1996)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Original recording remastered
- Label: Virgin EMI
- ASIN: B00000INM1
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,676 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Dire Straits Original recording remastered
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Top Customer Reviews
Though you can discern Knopfler's influences (Dylan, JJ Cale, Chet Atkins-style picking) it's all blended into a distinctive flavour that is hard to fit into normal pop-rock categories. It is also distinctively English, as the detailed storytelling lyrics make clear. Knopfler's singing is Dylanesque without really sounding like Dylan, and his guitar playing is bluesy, elegant and chunkily percussive without really sounding like anyone (unless it's a more bluesy Richard Thompson). Because of the cleaness of the production and Knopfler's guitar tone, you get a palpable sense of his fingers attacking the guitar strings (something many rock guitarists rely on distortion to hide).
Though the songwriting is on one level conventional enough, the various elements of the band's sound combine forcefully to grab the attention. Dire Straits (in this incarnation) are tight, and rhythmically limber, while Knopfler's distinctive vocals and literate writing draw the listener in relentlessly. And unlike many guitar heroes, Knopfler's solos are always there to support the song rather than to be flashy. When the vocals stop, the guitar really does seem to take over the singing and the expressive foce of the song.
Sultans of Swing is of course known to almost everyone. But Down to the Waterline, Six Blade Knife and South Bound Again, respectively urgent, menacing and wirily funky, are also excellent. Anyone who finds Dire Straits' later work bland or overproduced should check out this album. It's as satisfying and sweet as an exquisitely rendered small-scale novel about ordinary people's lives.
I would recommend this album to every music fan. From the opening fast-paced "Down To The Waterline" to the classic "Sultans of Swing" to the beautiful "Wild West End," this truly is a class album. Just sit back and enjoy and appreciate the brilliance of the original Dire Straits before they became overwhelmed by the commercialism and temptation of fame. In my opinion this is one of the greatest albums in rock history, I hope after listening to this album you will share the same opinion.
If (like many people) you are scared off by the over-playing of Money for Nothing, the "Old Men of Rock" tag Dire Straits have got, or the simply awful 'Twisting by the pool', then 'Down to the Waterline' will immediately change your mind, because from this first song on Dire Straits have produced one of the most irreproachably competent and satisfying debuts I have ever heard: David Knopfler - Rhythm guitar perfection, Mark Knopfler - Lead guitar, song-writing and vocals that will leave you in a frenzied search for more of the same.
You will hear J.J. Cale here as well as any other number of Blues influences, but song-writing on tracks like 'six-blade knife', 'Sultans of Swing', 'In the Gallery' and 'Lions' are unmistakeably Knopfler. Through his distinctive growl and laid back guitar riffs Mark Knopfler tells the story of his journey from Newcastle childhood, to the superficiality of the London arts scene, so the narrative honesty is there if you want to hear it.
Have it loud in your car to pump you up, have it quiet in your bedroom to chill you out. Either way, you have to have it.
This album, recorded in early 1978, contains no clues as to where the Straits ended up. The first track, "Down to the Waterline" opens up slowly before launching into an upbeat song, whose lyrical imagery flows right through the album, bound together by Knopfler's taut guitar lines.
Over the course of nine songs Knopfler's journey from Newcastle to London is documented. The pining "Water of Love" displays the national steel that would adorn the cover of THAT album and has some good layered vocals. "Setting Me Up" is a great song about being used with some of the best guitar playing on the album. "Six Blade Knife" shows a moodier side to the band, while "Southbound Again" is a boogie track that takes the story into London. The key song on the album is "Sultans of Swing", which sounds as great now as it did when I first heard it when I was five or six. Again, the imagery is so strong you could almost be in that Greenwich pub hearing an jazz band made up of postmen and teachers going for it. "In The Gallery" has got a bit a funky edge to it and again has some great guitar playing by Mark and his brother David. The steel guitar comes back out for "Wild West End". Again, you feel like you're standing outside Angellucci's coffee house in Soho when you listen to this song. "Lions" rounds off a great album with the merest hint at the rock-orientated direction the band would take, dragging millions of record buyers with them.
Great songs, great playing (Pick Withers is a very underrated drummer!) and a real "triumph over adversity" kind of story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't say much about this alarm other than it's Dire Straits at their best.
Ditch that string of dots on CD or MP3 and listen to some real music on vinyl for that truly 'live'... Read more
had this many years ago on cassette had to get cd....fab old Dire Straits musicPublished 1 month ago by Mrs. Sandra Shankland
I bought this on the strength of hearing it for the first time whilst on holiday in Croatia last October. Read morePublished 2 months ago by philip easthope
A wonderful album and the start of a wonderful future. Superb for the collection.Published 2 months ago by R. D. Mayles
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