Thursday, 13 September 2018

The Notting Hillbillies - Missing..Presumed Having A Good Time (1990)


Released March 1990

This was a country rock diversion for Mark Knopfler (at the time of Dire Straits, just about) and a most pleasant one it is too. It certainly does not function as a vehicle for Knopfler in any way. Indeed, he often takes a backseat to the rest of his bandmates, particularly on vocals. This was the one and only album they did.

"Railroad Working" is a delightful piece of upbeat country blues of a song to start off, with hints of the sort of material Bruce Springsteen did on his "Seeger Sessions" album many years later. "Bewildered" is a nice bit of laid-back jazz-influenced blues, while Knopfler sings and adds some trademark bluesy guitar to "Your Own Sweet Way". It is deliciously low tempo, its sleepiness being its appeal.

"Run Me Down" is a rockabilly-style jaunty number with some great stand up bass and guitar. "One Way Gal" is in the same vein. "Blues Stay Away From Me" is a peaceful, harmonious 1950s-sounding number. It is an old blues cover from that period, I believe. "Will You Miss Me" is quite Dire Straits-ish at the beginning and then it goes a bit Georgie Fame Hammond organ in its style before turning in to a full-blooded country blues rocker with some strong bluesy vocals and a big bass and drum sound. "Please Baby" is another gentle "Nashville Skyline"-style piece of country rock, even down to a Dylan-esque voice (of that period).

"Weapon Of Prayer" is a meaningful, country lament with a gospel appeal in its lyrics. "That's Where I Belong" finishes the album with more "Nashville Skyline" vibes. Indeed, the album has been quite like that one in several ways. It is nothing ground-breaking, but it is a worthwhile half hour or so of a listen.


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