Posts Tagged ‘Mark Knofler’

Today I thought I would share this song by the British band Dire Straits, “Private Investigations”. The song was released as a single in the summer of 1982, and got to number 2 in the Dinsunited Kingdom singles charts.


The song is from Dire Straits’ 4th album, “Love Over Gold”, and was written by lead guitarist and lead singer Mark Knopfler. I first came across Mark Knopfler’s name when Bob Dylan used him on lead guitar for his 1979 album “Slow Train Coming”, which he recorded just after Dire Straits had released their first single “Sultans of Swing”, a song which illustrates wonderfully Knopfler’s superb guitar playing. Dylan picked up on this, even though the song had not been a hit in the US, and I think it is fair to say that Knopfler is now recognised as one of the great rock guitarists.

As you can see from the lyrics below, there are not many, although the song itself stretched to nearly 6 minutes in the single version, and nearly 7 minutes in the album version. The song features Knopfler playing classic guitar, and is more instrumental in nature than most of their single releases. The song has a moodiness and melancholy feel which does not lend itself naturally to being a hit single, but by 1982 Dire Straits were one of the biggest bands in the Disunited Kingdom.

It’s a mystery to me, the game commences
For the usual fee, plus expenses
Confidential information, it’s a diary
This is my investigation, it’s not a public inquiry

I go checking out the reports, digging up the dirt
You get to meet all sorts in this line of work
Treachery and treason, there’s always an excuse for it
And when I find the reason I still can’t get used to it

And what have you got at the end of the day?
What have you got to take away?
A bottle of whiskey and a new set of lies
Blinds on the window and a pain behind the eyes
Scarred for life, no compensation
Private investigations

Here is the official version from YouTube. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Dire Straits song?

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Precious Angel

This evening I’m going to the Cardiff International Arena to see Bob Dylan in concert.


This will be the 4th time I’ve seen him, twice in the 1980s and the 3rd time only a few months ago in June when he headlined the bill at the Feis Festival of Irish music in London’s Finsbury Park (quite what Bob Dylan has to do with Irish music is still a mystery to me). When I saw him in the 1980s I found his performances to be very disappointing. This was partly because he had the habit of singing alternative versions of well known songs, with most of the lyrics changed.

In June he was superb, as most of the reviews seem to agree.

This evening he’s playing with Mark Knopfler who was, of course, the lead singer and amazing guitarist in the 1980s band Dire Straits. Fewer people know, however, that Knopfler played lead guitar on Dylan’s 1979 album “Slow Train Coming“. This was just as Dire Straits were getting their first chart success in both the United States and the Disunited Kingdom with “Sultans of Swing”.

“Slow Train Coming” was the 1st of a trilogy of Christian albums that the “born again” Dylan released, thĂ© following two being “Saved” in 1980 and “Shot of Love” in 1981. Whilst the 2nd and 3rd albums were slated by the critics and sold poorly, “Slow Train Coming” received generally favourable reviews upon its release, and sold reasonably well.

From the “Slow Train Coming” album Dylan had a hit single with the song “Precious Angel”, which features many of the kind of guitar riffs and licks which would make Knopfler famous 3-4 years later.

It is my favourite song on the album. I wonder if Dylan and Knopfler will play it tonight?

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