ARTIST: Dire Straits
TITLE: Dire Straits
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: #2 US, #5 UK
SINGLES: Sultans of Swing (US #4, UK #8), Water of Love
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You may know Setting Me Up from covers, or if you’re one of the millions that bought the album.
LINEUP: Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsey, Pick Withers
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Fantastic debut album from a band that was considered anachronistic at the time and deserves more acclaim than just a vehicle for a classic rock song.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Everyone and their mother knows Sultans of Swing. It’s long, it’s wordy, and it wasn’t a hit until it was re-issued as a single six months after its initial release. Now, it’s standard Classic Rock radio fare. I hear it all the time around here.
Don’t sleep on the rest of the album. It’s a great mix of folk, country and rock. Mark Knopfler spins his guitar through a mixture of all three styles of music and mixes the idioms together well. The songs are all strongs – many of them are dense lyrically but they also have a swing to them, especially Setting Me Up (which became a favorite of Eric Clapton, Albert Lee AND many country performers.)
It was definitely out of step with new wave, punk and disco when it was released, so much so that it sounded from another time and place.
The only complaint about this album, and why it doesn’t get a perfect grade, is that some of the songs wander on too long. Yes, it’s great to hear Knopfler’s guitar playing, but the songs itself outstay their welcome. That’s a minor quibble. This is a great record.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Dire Straits was chosen because the band really was in trouble financially before recording their demo, which led to a contract.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A: Just a great record from start to end.