Showing posts with label Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream. Show all posts

Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream - Review

Album: The Ragpicker´s Dream         -    Mark Knopfler                 2002

Producers: Chuck Ainlay and Mark Knopfler. 

Label: Mercury 

The Players:
Mark Knopfler: Guitars, Vocals
Richard Bennett: Guitars
Jim Cox: Piano,Organ
Guy Fletcher: Keyboards,Backing Vocals
Glenn Worf: Bass
Chad Cromwell: Drums

Guest Stars: 
Glenn Duncan: Violin
Paul Franklin: Pedal Steel
Mike Henderson: Harmonica
Jimmy Nail: Backing Vocals
Tim Heal: Backing Vocals

Songs: Why Aye Man, Devil Baby, Hill Farmer’s Blues, A Place Where We Used To Live, Quality Shoe, Fare Thee Well Northumberland, Marbletown, You Don’t Know You’re Born, Coyote, The Ragpicker´s Dream, Daddy’s Gone To Knoxville, Old Pigweed. 

Best Song:  You Don’t Know You’re Born   

Type of Music: Folk/Rock


The Ragpicker´s Dream definitively marks the beginning of Knopfler´s career as a solo-artist. It’s true that he already made two solo albums but they were still thoroughly influenced by his Dire Straits past. Gone as well are the prominent guests that starred on Sailing To Philadelphia. 

Finally he’s on his own and I guess that’s what he always wanted. He is The Loner that Neil Young wrote about. And he writes for the loners among us, the castaways, the hobos, the homeless and the unemployed. The Ragpicker´s Dream is a real Beggar’s Banquet and Mark is the King of the Road. (Quality Shoe).     

And the King travels. From the North East of England via the pubs in Germany to Marbletown and Knoxville in the USA. His understated use of folk, country and blues makes it all sound very authentic. Not in the least also thanks to the excellent musicians, basically the same crew as on the last album.

The lyrics are quite strong as well and paint a very accurate picture of  those who lost job, love and home. It’s a very moody record most of the time. A bit too moody maybe and it doesn’t hold your attention as easily as Sailing To Philadelphia. Still, not a bad choice for a rainy day!   

The package also contains a Bonus CD that includes an enhanced video of Why Aye Man and an additional four live audio tracks. Why Aye Man and Quality Shoe were recorded at Shepherd Bush Empire, while Sailing To Philadelphia and Brothers In Arms were recorded at the Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. On the first two songs Mark and the band are in great shape and the songs easily match the studio versions. Not so in Toronto though. Mark is either not feeling quite well or is trying to save his voice for other reasons. Fortunately his guitar playing is okay. Still there must be better Live versions of Brothers in Arms around.    

Bonus CD: Why Aye Man, Quality Shoe, Sailing To Philadelphia, Brothers In Arms, Why Aye Man (Enhanced Video). 

Rating:                                                  Maximum Points                          

Average Song Quality5,90*                           10
Production/Sound Quality: 7,50
Do I want to hear it again soon: 6,00

* The songs on the Bonus CD are not included in the rating.  

Who should buy this Record: Mostly for the true Mark Knopfler Fans. However, if you like JJ Cale and/or Chris Isaak you might give this one a try as well.