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Dire Straits Similarities Ahoy!,
This review is from: Crest Of A Knave (Audio CD)
David Rees in his 1998 biography of Jethro Tull hailed this album as a masterpiece. Quite frankly I couldn't disagree more. Yes it's brilliantly played music and yes there are some good tunes that I still sometimes find myself grudgingly singing to myself some 19 years after the albums release.
However, the album is in my opinion fatally flawed by the similarities in Ian Anderson's vocal style to that of Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Also, as if that isn't enough to set the cat amongst the pigeons there is also the Knopfleresque guitar stylings provided by Martin Barre. What were they thinking of?
Well, it is fairly common knowledge amongst Jethro Tull fans that at the time Ian Anderson had to sing a tone lower so as to compensate for his throat problems that started during the Under Wraps tour of 1984. Problems that sadly have pretty much plagued him ever since. In view of this it is understandable amongst hardcore fans just why the album sounds like it does. For me though it ruins the whole feel of the record. In fact it almost seems as though Ian Anderson was at the time trying to gain some sort of commercial edge by sounding like Dire Straits, who were, as we all know enjoying massive commercial success at the time. This may or may not be true but it certainly puts the dampers on what could have been a far more Jethro Tull sounding album.
One of the worst songs on the album which really sums it all up is Said She Was A Dancer. Ian Anderson's voice sounds awful and the lyrics are just dreadful. It's definitely one to omit when programming in your favourite tracks. Mind you though I did hear a Busker singing it in Worthing the other day and his version did seem to be more acceptable. Also, the fact that a Busker has decided to sing it must I suppose prove that it has some commercial clout.
Anyway, I've nothing against Dire Straits but feel that Jethro Tull really did themselves a wrong in trying to not sound like themselves. I suppose that had Dire Straits never have existed then Crest Of A Knave may well have become a classic Jethro Tull album. Sadly though the Dire Straits musical legacy does exist and as a result Crest Of A Knave has got problems for eternity.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jul 2009 17:07:05 BDT
Probably Tull's best 80s album, and whilst not up there with the first five albums, or with the so called 'folk' trilogy, I really can't think of any Dire Straits record that sounds anything like this. It's a rock album, and much better than 'A' (which was a Tull album in name only) and well worth a listen.
Posted on 9 Jan 2012 19:17:15 GMT
G. Donaldson says:
Interesting review. Said She Was a Dancer does indeed sound like Dire Straits but still remains a fine song IMHO, and easily one of the highlights of Crest of a Knave (the others being, for me, Steel Monkey, Farm on the Freeway, Budapest and Jump Start).
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2012 19:21:54 GMT
G. Donaldson says:
The modern sound (for the time) aside, most of the the actual songs on "A" are not that dissimilar from what might be expected of Tull; while the likes of Uniform, Batteries Not Included and 4WD (Low Ratio) point towards the later Under Wraps album, tracks such as And Further On, Pine Marten's Jig, Black Sunday and Working John, Working Joe could easily have been on earlier Tull albums with only slightly differing arrangements.
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