Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Mark Knopfler - Privateering (2012)



  

Released September 2012

This was Mark Knopfler's first double album and it is a good one, too. It covers all his bases - folk, Celtic folk, Americana blues, rock and even a few nods to the old Dire Straits days, only a few mind. It is full of Bruce Springsteen, Chris Rea and Van Morrison influences in places as well as going full on with Knopfler's trademark laconic voice and often wry, witty, observational lyrics. It maybe a sprawling album, but it is a good sprawling. There isn't a duff track on the album. In many respects it is his finest creation.

TRACK LISTING

1. Redbud Tree
2. Haul Away
3. Don't Forget Your Hat
4. Privateering
5. Miss You Blues
6. Corned Beef City
7. Go, Love
8. Hot Or What
9. Yon Two Crows
10. Seattle
11. Kingdom Of Gold
12. Got To Have Something
13. Radio City Serenade
14. I Used To Could
15. Gator Blood
16. Bluebird
17. Dream Of The Drowned Submariner
18. Blood And Water
19. Today Is Okay
20. After The Beanstalk

"Redbud Tree" is a delightful, acoustic, folky and gentle opener. "Haul Away" is sad, mournfully Celtic, very much like "Piper To The End" from "Get Lucky". "Don't Forget Your Hat" is full of bluesy slide guitar, a Chris Rea-esque blues full of great harmonica and thumping, addictive beat.
"Privateering" is typical acoustic Knopfler traditional sounding folk looking back to pirate times, but maybe through rose-coloured spectacles. It kicks in to a powerful rock refrain half way through. Lots of atmosphere present here.

"Miss You Blues" is beautifully heartbreaking, very Springsteen-esque in its folky feel. Lovely typical Knopfler guitar at the end as well. "Corned Beef City" is wonderful, trademark Knopfler blues rock, upbeat and featuring truck stop lyrics about bacon, egg and sausage. Great stuff. Great rock guitar on it. I love this one. There is some Dire Straits-ish “Brothers In Arms”-style guitar at the start of the laid-back “Go, Love”. It is a beautiful song full of killer guitar.

“Hot Or What” is a copper-bottomed slice of tongue-in-cheek Knopfler blues. There is a lot of Van Morrison about it, for me. “Yon Two Crows” is Dire Staits-ish but also very traditionally folky in its feel, with a Northumbrian/Celtic feel too. “Seattle” takes us to the bars of the USA on a most evocative, atmospheric narrative song. "Kingdom Of Gold" is a low-key, sombre acoustic folk ballad. It goes on a bit too long maybe. "Got To Have Something" is a rousing, staccato, Dylanesque shuffling blues rocker featuring some great piano. "Radio City Serenade" is a lovely Knopfler ballad packed with emigrĂ© maudlin emotion. Its Celtic feel, sung from someone in the USA, is so moving as is usual from Knopfler on these sort of things.

"I Used To Could" is a sleep but muscular blues and "Gator Blood" is a swampy Americana blues as you may imagine from the title. "Bluebird" is a slow tempo guitar-driven ballad and "Dream Of The Drowned Submariner" is even more sleepy but quirkily fascinating, lyrically. "Blood And Water" is another one harking back to a bit of Dire Straits guitar sound, but only here and there. "Today Is Okay" is a Van Morrison-style blues grinder. "After The Beanstalk" is a country-ish Band-influenced pice of Americana to finish this excellent album. Yes it tapers off a bit toward the end, but that is a minor gripe. No tracks are not worthy of a listen. Probably best to listen to either disc one or disc two in isolation though to avoid that feeling of too much Knopfler in one sitting.

B-

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