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Shangri-la - Mark Knopfler

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Genre: Folk - Scottish Folk / Artist: Mark Knopfler / Audio CD released 2004-09-27 at Mercury

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    2 Reviews
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      05.04.2011 17:44

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      British singer-songwriting at its best

      Since the release of Golden Heart, Mark Knopfler has produced a series of excellent albums under his own name, every one of which has at least three or so stand out tracks, surrounded by other songs of very good quality. As a sustained body of work, and a demonstration of wonderfully nuanced songwriting, it amounts to a bit of a masterclass. Not as revered as the likes of Richard Thompson, Knopfler is an underrated songwriter of a very British variety - benefitting from being born in Scotland, growing up in Northumberland and spending a great deal of time in London - Knopfler can bring flavours of all that to his music. This album has some wonderful songs that not many people are probably that aware of - these wre not hits or singles, but they are emotional and perfectly crafted songs. There is a trio of songs towards the end that is as good as it gets - Postcards from Paraguay, All That Matters and Stand up Guy. Over the course of those three songs, Knoplfer demonstrated a great ability for variety of melody and rhythym, mixed with a storytelling songwriting style. The singing and playing matches the material perfectly. I never tire of Stand up Guy - what a song that is. Anyone who can write like that is a master.

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      04.01.2010 00:24
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      Mark Knopfler on top form

      Since Dire Straits disbanded in the early nineties Mark Knopfler has gone on to write and play some stunning music. And yet, as big as Dire Straits were, he flies under the (commercial) radar these days. Not including soundtracks and collaborations, Shangri-La is Mark Knopfler's 4th solo album. And what a fantastic album it is. The whole album is mellower than previous offerings but the lyrics and songwriting are some of Knopfler's best, and his distinctive guitar playing is still present, toned down from the Dire Straits days maybe, but as tasteful as ever.

      Like most albums, some songs on 'Shangri-La' will grab you instantly, while others take a little longer to appreciate, but they all work well to make this a very cohesive album. Most of the songs feature wealth, greed and corruption as their subjects tying everything together nicely without it sounding like an obvious 'concept album'. There are one or two weaker songs but highlights include the opening '5:15am', with its vivid story of gangsters and corruption coming to a 60's English mining town, the catchy 'Boom Like That' about ruthless businessman Ray Kroc founding a famous chain of fast food restaurants (this song, and the similarly riff-laden 'Song For Sonny Liston' are as rocky as it gets), the very beautiful 'Our Shangri-La', the rather comical 'Postcards From Paraguay' about a man on the run from the law, and the wonderful 'Donegan's Gone', a tribute to the late Lonnie Donegan, the king of skiffle, who was a huge inspiration to Mark Knopfler when he was young.

      There are many people who loved Dire Straits, 'Brothers In Arms' being the biggest selling album of the 80's, and yet relatively few have heard any of Mark Knopfler's solo work. Clear your mind of the huge stadium concerts and catchy commercial numbers like 'Money For Nothing' and 'Walk Of Life', accept Mark Knopfler for what he is now, listen to his storytelling lyrics and superb playing (and that of his band), and you won't be disappointed.

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  • Product Details

    Disc #1 Tracklisting
    1 5:15 am
    2 Boom, Like That
    3 Sucker Row
    4 The Trawlerman's Song
    5 Back To Tupelo
    6 Our Shangri-La
    7 Everybody Pays
    8 Song For Sonny Liston
    9 Whoop De Doo
    10 Postcards From Paraguay
    11 All That Matters
    12 Stand Up Guy
    13 Donegan's Gone
    14 Don't Crash The Ambulance