It’s been raining cats and dogs for the past two days and, thankfully, the weather has broken some as of this morning. I have a long swim to still contend with this afternoon before the fam-jam comes over for an impromptu bonfire this evening, so this morning I’m partaking in my favorite weekend activity…house work.
Fortunately, there’s lots of coffee on hand.
So the current vinyl accompaniment for doing laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, recycling, straightening up, etc., is the debut self-titled album by Dire Straits.
Dire Straits’ minimalist interpretation of pub rock had already crystallized by the time they released their eponymous debut. Remember now, that this album is 37 years old, being released in 1980.
HRH recognizes the band as one of her granddad’s favorites.
And rightly so.
Driven by Mark Knopfler’s spare, tasteful guitar lines and his husky warbling, the album is a set of bluesy rockers. And while the bar band mentality of pub-rock is at the core of Dire Straits – even the group’s breakthrough single, ‘Sultans of Swing‘, easily one of favorite songs of all time*, offered a lament for a neglected pub rock band – their music is already beyond the simple boogies and shuffles of their forefathers, occasionally dipping into jazz and country. Knopfler also shows an inclination toward Dylan-esque imagery, which enhances the smoky, low-key atmosphere of the album. Few of the songs ever fall flat, a remarkable accomplishment for a debut, and the Straits had difficulty surpassing it later in their career…until the big ‘Money for Nothing‘ MTV anthem of course.
But this album is so much more than the big ‘Sultans‘ track, oh yes. ‘Down to the Waterline‘, ‘Six Blade Knife‘, and ‘Water of Love‘ are all incredible in their own forthright. I am also very partial to ‘In the Gallery‘ as well. So, yeah, 37 years later and this album still cooks. Not that I ever saw myself ever doing housework to in those past 37 years later but, hey, what’ya gonna do?
*In fact, when I lived in London, U.K. years ago, I even had the extremely good fortune to be wandering around Soho in the rain and ducked into a pub where, unbeknownst to me, Knopfler and the boys were playing to a very small crowd. And, yes, they played this tune. the uber-irony of the lyrics, location and current atmospheric conditions raging outside were not lost on me.
It was certainly one of my favorite concert experiences, like, ever.