Saturday, 8 June 2019

The Notting Hillbillies


1. Railroad Working
2. Bewildered
3. Your Own Sweet Way
4. Run Me Down
5. One Way Gal
6. Blues Stay Away From Me
7. Will You Miss Me
8. Please Baby
9. Weapon Of Prayer
10. That's Where I Belong
11. Feel Like Going Home           

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.