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Dire Straits – Dire Straits (1978)

March 11, 2019

[Album 636/1001]

Did you ever write a test/quiz and your mark wasn’t exactly, shall we say, fridge material?

Where you thought you knew your stuff, yet the result was an unmitigated disaster?

Well, not meaning to brag…but evidently, my knowledge of Dire Straits lyrics is severely lacking.

On one of Aphoristical’s wonderful weekly quizzes, the challenge was to fill in the missing lyrics to Sultans of Swing.

Thinking to myself, I’ve got this LP, I’ve heard the tune countless times, easy peasy.

To put a positive spin on my score, I hit double digits?

Alas, although I knew that Guitar George knew all the chords, it appears I knew next to none of the lyrics, racking up a measly 11/70!

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This week, despite actively trying to listen to the words on the Dire Straits debut, I don’t think my lyric quiz scores would improve all that much.

It’s not that the vocal delivery is a deterrent; it’s actually quite a conversational style, I just don’t seem to retain any of the words.220px-DS_Dire_Straits

It’s not that he’s not enunciating, or that the vocals are buried in the mix either.

My issue seems to be that I can’t help but follow Mark Knopfler’s guitar.

His clean & clear tones never scream, “Look at me!,” yet the rest of the band drifts somewhat into the background nonetheless.

He makes the most intricate patterns sound effortless & I struggle to pay much attention to anything else.

In fact, I can’t recall a time when I’ve paid less attention to lyrics or more attention to a single instrument.

And I can’t think of too many guitarists that I’ve been more impressed with either.

…..

Verbalize the Positive

I learned early in my career that my students will inevitably be smarter/more clever/talented/etc. than I am.

One such former student, Brandon, had a duplicate of this LP & kindly sold it to me at a bargain price.

Better yet, years prior, when he was in my accounting class, an answer to a question was 15 (also the name of a Taylor Swift song at the time). I said to the class, “and if you got a Taylor Swift song as your answer, you’re right.”

And with impeccable comic timing, he name-checked another of Ms. Swift’s hit tunes in volunteering an answer: Blank Space!

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From → 1970s

15 Comments
  1. Black Space…that is funny!

  2. Sultans Of Swing is popular with local buskers so I often hear it without Knopfler’s guitar.

    • I’ve never even tried replicating the solo-ing at the end, good for the buskers for giving it a go!

  3. Time for a quick little Q&A session with dEKe!

    Q- Did you ever write a test/quiz and your mark wasn’t exactly, shall we say, fridge material?

    A- My Grade 9 Math Mark! Does Yikes qualify as a mark??

    Q-Where you thought you knew your stuff, yet the result was an unmitigated disaster?

    A-Grade 11 Sociology….That Dang Darwin!!!

    I totally get this post. It’s true the lyrics I know bits of it not all of it so I may have had the same score if not less than you Geoff!
    But everyone knows that riff of Sultans. One of the all time Greats.

    Also I still remember my buddies in High School setting up there gear to play an assembly and when my friend John (who was a very good guitarist ) plugged in his guitar and played a few opening bars of Money For Nothing the empty Gym (before school started) had about 10 people right away stick there heads in the gym!

    The Power of the Riff…..

    Great Post …

    • My thanks Deke – and I like the Q&A!
      I think I knew Weird Al’s “Beverly Hillbillies” before I knew the original Money for nothing, but what a riff either way, I’d peek my head in the gym to hear it being played!

  4. I like this one, though I’m not overly familiar with the lyrics on any of Dire Straits’ albums. Maybe Brothers in Arms, but maybe that’s cause I’m very familiar with that one.

  5. Isn’t there a line about playing rissoles?

    Loved the Brandon anecdote.

    • My thanks Bruce – with the same student and a few others, I was beyond flattered when they modified the lyrics “this bottle, of Stevens” from Weezer’s Say it ain’t So to “math teacher, Geoff Stephen” at a school talent show – I’ve been lucky to teach some fine people!

  6. Harrison permalink

    I watch Dire Straits Alchemy a lot, so I’m pretty good with this one. The only problem is that there’s extra words on live performances that need rooting out for the studio lyric quizzes

    • I can relate – there’s certain Tragically Hip live versions that have such memorable lyric changes, I sometimes forget they didn’t appear on the initial studio versions!

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