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The Anthology

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Album Review

David Knopfler formed Dire Straits in 1977 with his brother Mark Knopfler and quit the band in 1980, shortly after the band finished recording the album Making Movies and five years before Brothers in Arms became a surprise international smash that made them one of the biggest musical success stories of the decade. It's tempting to say David Knopfler didn't make an especially good career decision by leaving Dire Straits, but a cursory look at his solo work makes it clear he wouldn't have been a good fit for what the band became. David Knopfler's songwriting style is more lushly romantic than that of his big brother, he's more interested in slick pop production, and there's a heart-on-the-sleeve quality to his tunes that's a bit too intimate to play well in big arenas. While David Knopfler released ten solo albums between 1983 and 2006, many were on small labels that either didn't have strong distribution in North America or didn't appear in the United States at all, so The Anthology: 1983-2008 offers a concise but well-chosen overview of his music, including a number of songs that may not be familiar to U.S. fans. Knopfler's voice bears a certain resemblance to his bother's, but he aims for a richer, more soulful tone, and these 16 tracks lean more to contemporary R&B and adult contemporary pop than anything else, and while "Soul Kissing" was a minor hit, it's not hard to imagine that "Lonely Is the Night" and "When We Kiss" could have enjoyed similar success if they'd had greater radio exposure. At the same time, "Southside Tenements" and "St. Swithun's Day" shows he can handle deeper and more personal material with a poet's touch and a sure hand. It's David Knopfler's fate to be a good songwriter and singer related to one with a great deal more acclaim (and better chops as a guitarist), but The Anthology demonstrates that he's an artist who has followed his own path on his own terms, and this is a fine summation of his body of work. [Paris released a 15-track edition.]

Biography

Born: 27 December 1952 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

It's never easy to be the sibling of a star when you're active in the same profession -- ask Joey Travolta or Frank Stallone, and try to find out what happened to John Murray, one of Bill's brothers. Similarly, David Knopfler, younger brother of Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, has often remained in his brother's shadow, unfairly remaining a footnote in the famous British band's history and not always gaining much recognition for his solo work -- provided people know he's remained active in music...
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The Anthology, David Knopfler
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