BSK 3266 Dire Straits
Produced by Muff Winwood
Released on June 1978
UK CHART POSITION #5 . . . 2x PLATINUM RECORD (UK) . . . US CHART POSITION #2 . . . 2x PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
BSK 3266 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I n the late ‘70s there were a handful of musical artists that broke the gate running at full stride, including Elvis Costello, The Police and Dire Straits. This debut album garnered attention on the strength of the single “Sultans of Swing,” a bit of mythologizing delivered in the guise of the autobiographical that instantly set the Straits apart from the freshman class of future champions. Antithetical to the new wave movement then in vogue, Dire Straits favored a return to the blues-rock poetry of Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac. Mark Knopfler’s Dylanesque delivery and pungent lead guitar licks were throwbacks to the past, an outsider looking in. The lyrics reinforced the blues tag: unlucky in love, unappreciated in art. Mark Knopfler’s imagery was ambitious: languid observations that were occasionally startling. It’s this sort of fitful lucidity, combined with Mark’s gruff reading, that evoked images of Dylan and (to a lesser extent) Lou Reed. Songs like “Sultans of Swing,” “Water of Love,” “Wild West End” and “Down to the Waterline” lent credibility to the band’s bluesy image; it may have been fiction but the depth of sympathy suggested reporting. The rest of the band is predictably (for the blues) solid, anchored by a rhythm section of John Illsley, Pick Withers and brother David Knopfler on rhythm guitar. As with many English blues bands, an almost reverential view of country slips into the arrangements, often evidenced in Mark Knopfler’s leads. Although downbeat compared to their later albums, Dire Straits’ debut is considered by many their best, its vision a pure, unadulterated version of the band. I prefer their later albums, but that this is an auspicious debut is clear.

BSK 3266 back cover BSK 3266 lyric sleeve
BSK 3266 back cover BSK 3266 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. DOWN TO THE WATERLINE    3:55
  2. WATER OF LOVE    5:23
  3. SETTING ME UP    3:18
  4. SIX BLADE KNIFE    4:10
  5. SOUTHBOUND AGAIN    2:58
  6. SULTANS OF SWING    5:47
  7. IN THE GALLERY    6:16
  8. WILD WEST END    4:42
  9. LIONS    5:05

    CD reissue bonus track
  10. EASTBOUND TRAIN (LIVE)

    All selections written by Mark Knopfler

CREDITS

JOHN ILLSLEY -- bass
DAVID KNOPFLER -- rhythm guitar
MARK KNOPFLER -- vocals, lead & rhythm guitars
PICK WITHERS -- drums
Rhett Davies -- engineer
Hothouse -- design & artwork
Chuck Loyola -- cover painting
Paddy Eckersley -- photography
Alan Schmidt -- art direction

return to DIRE STRAITS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1978 Vertigo LP/CS 9101 021/7231 015 lyric sleeve
US 1978 Warner Bros. LP/CS BSK/M5 3266 lyric sleeve
CAN 1978 Mercury LP SRM-1-1197 lyric sleeve
GER/NET 1978 Vertigo LP 6360 162 lyric sleeve
JPN 1978 Vertigo LP RJ-7541  
COL 1979 Vertigo LP 6360 162  
US 1980 Warner Bros. CS 25135 repackaged w. MAKING MOVIES
UK July 5, 1996 Vertigo CD 800 051 digital remaster
US September 19, 2000 Warner Bros. CD 47769 digital remaster
BRA 2002 Universal CD 800 051  

 

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