To my mind this is the best record Dire Straits ever made. I love the brooding atmosphere. Maybe it is not as fast as some of the others, but I just love the way Mark Knopfler is using his guitar on this album. With seemingly little effort he brings us visions of American city life in the eighties.
Now the Dire Straits is an English band, not American. Yet this brooding feeling always felt to me as distinctly American. Like Philip Marlowe, Knopfler is talking about all the dirt he is discovering. His description of the sprawling city with its roots in the recent past showed me images of East coast cities with traffic problems.
But then I read more:
I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I've got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found
Yes, and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed
We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed
And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the Telegraph Road
That sounds more like a disgruntled factory worker from the dying industries in eighties England.
The album was supposed to have more songs, but there was no place anymore. One of these was Private Dancer. However, Mark K wanted a female singer for the song, so he passed it on to Tina Turner.
I am not convinced about the audio quality of the record by the way. Dire Straits in those days was a fervent supporter of the new cd format. Can it be they had more attention to the mastering the cd? The version I have on my streamer is better, more engaging.