Dire Straits SACD
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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.
However you define their sound, though, listening to Dire Straits' self-titled debut album 25 years after its publication, it is still amazing how rounded and accomplished their style was even then.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nearly 40 years since this album was first released, and it remains in my top 5 'all time' favourites. Their first album is a classic. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aspen
A superb collection of quiet pop/ soft rock songs. Much in the same way as Communique (their second album) This debut features Sultans Of Swing, which is a standout track but is... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr Paul Savory
Can't say much about this album other than it's Dire Straits at their best.
Ditch that string of digital dots on CD or MP3 and listen to some real music on vinyl, for that... Read more