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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ragpickers Dream
I was not a big fan of his 'Golden Heart' album and certainly preferred 'Sailing to Philadelphia'. However, this is certainly his best solo album yet. In this new album, there is a complete mix of all his styles from the electric blues guitar sounds of later straits tracks to acoustic country sounds. He has produced some wonderful new tracks and, as usual, seems to get...
Published on 3 Oct 2002

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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low key and easy
I lost interest with Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler pretty soon after "Brothers In Arms" but this solo collection was a pleasant surprise. It may not cause your jaw to drop but it's a really easy listen, immaculately played and produced and with enough little nuggets to warrant the investment (I bought the special 2 CD edition cheap here on Amazon which was a real...
Published on 18 Nov 2004 by Andy Clare


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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ragpickers Dream, 3 Oct 2002
By A Customer
I was not a big fan of his 'Golden Heart' album and certainly preferred 'Sailing to Philadelphia'. However, this is certainly his best solo album yet. In this new album, there is a complete mix of all his styles from the electric blues guitar sounds of later straits tracks to acoustic country sounds. He has produced some wonderful new tracks and, as usual, seems to get the instruments talking between themselves, with superb build-ups starting with a quiet acoustic beat to a full blues electric guitar. All this linked together with some particularly good singing.
The only criticism that I would have is that there is not enough of it and the songs end too quickly. I miss some of those long guitar solo play-outs of old (Telegraph Road etc).....these will have to be witnessed live next year.
In conclusion, this is a must for anybody who appreciates true music.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low key and easy, 18 Nov 2004
By 
Andy Clare (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ragpicker's Dream (Audio CD)
I lost interest with Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler pretty soon after "Brothers In Arms" but this solo collection was a pleasant surprise. It may not cause your jaw to drop but it's a really easy listen, immaculately played and produced and with enough little nuggets to warrant the investment (I bought the special 2 CD edition cheap here on Amazon which was a real deal.
Most of the tracks are laid back, rootsy blues and folk tunes with simple but effectrive arrangements that won't challenge but sooth. "You Don't Know You're Born" and "Coyote" are straight out of the J.J.Cale songbook, "Quality Shoe" wouldn't have sounded out-of-place on George Harrison's last album and there's a fair sprinkling of Geordie blue collar songs ("Why Aye Man" the theme from Auf Weidershen Pet is the only really upbeat track on the collection).
The mixture of North East folk and Americana works quite well, but some of the lyrics begin to grate for me after a while. At times it sounds a little like Springsteen -lite ("A Place Where we Used To Live")but overall it's a gentle, undemanding listen and quite refreshing compared to some of the more overblown corporate rock I began to associate with Dire Straits.
The Special Edition CD contains a live version of "Brothers in Arms" which still sends a shiver down my spine and is worth the purchase price alone.
If you like country blues, a bit of ragtime, a lot of J.J.Cale and some tasteful, un-pretentious guitar playing, this is a good buy. Don't expect to be blown away, play it on a Sunday morning reading the papers and you won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knopfler at his essential best, 30 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. M. Armstrong (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ragpicker's Dream (Audio CD)
Knopfler returns to his essential best in this easy to listen to yet mind blowing rendition. I have it in the car for those long journeys. Good music, good lyrics and not too heavy. Excellent.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep on rolling, Geordie boy, 8 Feb 2005
By 
This review is from: The Ragpicker's Dream (Audio CD)
It's no use comparing Knopfler's solowork with Dire Straits. The Straits are history, and they are relevant only to the extent that you can hear where Mark came from. His ever-brilliant playing now suits his songwriting. Less is more, I know.
I am really only interested in discovering where Mark wants to go to, what he is searching for. And ever since his solo debut "Golden heart", his musical horizon (and mine) has only become wider.
From blues, rock, country, folk... his songs have only become richer and Mark's latest work sounds like he's finally managed to do what he always wanted to do: sailing between the roots of American and European music and becoming better as a musician and guitarplayer.
This albums sounds very natural, very acoustic and that is why I think "The Ragpickers..." sounds better than "Sailing to...", which still has some poprock-feel to it, but the songwriting on "Sailing..." (my personal favourite up til now) was stronger.
Still, this is a must have for any Knopfler-fan. Take your time to get into it, you won't be disappointed.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ragpickers will light your Heart, 17 Sep 2002
Knopfler continues to write excellent melodies and will keep long time fans happy with the shades of blues not forgotten in his latest gift, the Ragpickers Dream. Listening to this album will remind you once again what drew millions to the Dire Straits of years ago. He shows us once again his brilliance for lyrics and his maturing sense of style that will tug at your soul. With a tale woven with music, he has captured the feeling of this theme with songs like "Why Aye Man" and "Quality Shoe". "The Ragpickers Dream" will forever be a favorite holiday song for me for years to come and "Coyote" is just a fun jam altogether.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geordie meets the Deep South, 28 Jan 2004
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Here is a man at peace with himself. Nothing to prove, happy to play simple, often quirky (eg. Why Aye Man and Quality Shoe) country-blues songs that appeal to him and blow what anybody else thinks. In fact, while the lyrics sound closer to his Geordie roots than ever, the music sounds deeper into the roots of southern USA than you may have thought possible.
The growling bluesy guitar allied to singing barely above a whisper contrives to make Knopfler sound increasingly like a latter day JJ Cale, while the material sounds fresher than most recent MK albums. Some songs are as beautiful as any the great man ever wrote (try the deceptively lilting A Place Where We Used To Live), but many more explore the outer boundaries of the chosen genre successfully.
This package is good value, particularly when you add the live bonus CD, including an 8-minute version of Brothers in Arms. And let's face it, Knopfler is always a live player, be it in the studio or with an audience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old laid back rock and roll, 3 Nov 2007
This review is from: The Ragpicker's Dream (Audio CD)
You know what you'll get with this:Fine songs,lyrics-often with a twist,some brilliant moments of guitar playing and a slow-
laid back feeling all along.You'll LOVE "Coyote",especially when
you're in your car and feel like putting the pedal to the metal...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey I think I was wrong, 30 Dec 2003
A while ago, I wrote a review of this CD and gave it 3 stars. I said I thought he'd done better - and well, at the time I must have believed that. I know it sounds strange, but I haven't logged into Amazon for a very long time, and reviewed my reviews... I was horrified with what I read, because frankly I didn't believe that I had written it!!
Anyway, this CD is one of my most played, in fact, I have so played one, that I needed a replacement and bought one accordingly.
I retract my original statement and encourage people to buy this CD - it's actually quite inspirational.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New ground covered, 10 Oct 2002
This is a great record from the Dire Straits frontman whom has found a rich vein of creativity in his solo outings.No two tracks are even similar on this -rock,bluegrass,jazz,country -its got the lot!The songwriting is excellent and the licks catchy,he doesnt even sound as if he's trying!
After even the first play you'll find yourself being drawn into the laid-back grooves! These tunes really roll along as smoothly as Knopflers guitar playing.
New and old fans will really enjoy this and I feel the best may be yet to come!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresher Than Ever, 2 Oct 2002
By 
Mr. J. A. Way (York) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the world's greatest guitarists is back with a more mellow album than we have heard before. The Ragpicker's Dream is much more acoustic sounding than the Dire Straits albums and Knopfler's previous two solo efforts and, with the exception perhaps of "Why Aye Man", it seems to have a less rocky approach than the last album. However, it is fair to say that Knopfler is still accomplishing new ground and exploring new territory with this album looking at themes he is developing further from "Sailing to Philadelphia" as well as exploring new ideas. His style has definitely turned more towards country and blues influences but it is still as fresh and cleanly executed as always and the occasional straits sounding strat licks finish the songs off nicely. Particular favourites for me include "Why Aye Man", "Devil Baby", "Quality Shoe" and "You Don't Know Your Born" which features some strat playing at the end with some definite Hank Marvin influence.

Overall, "The Ragpicker's Dream" is well worth listening to. It proves that Knopfler can still cut it and with the bonus live CD too, it proves how well he can still perform live.
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