12 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While they are both distinctive stylists — one only has to hear a few notes to identify either — they are also both chameleon-like in their ability to blend into nearly any situation. Knopfler and Harris have guested on many albums, happily serving as that special ingredient. Together here under equal billing with songs from sessions that span over seven years, Knopfler and Harris seem a natural pair. The supple guitar stirrings Knopfler brought to Dire Straits and his later solo work are in full evidence along with what has always been his limited vocal range (often accurately described as a ‘drawl,’). Harris is a natural sweetener, softening hard moments with a moment’s hesitancy, holding back on notes until all meaning is wrung. The material, primarily supplied by Knopfler, who wrote ten to Harris’ two, is solid if slightly underwhelming. There’s a majestic, traditional beauty to many of the tunes. They sound as if they’ve come through the ages (“Beachcombing,” “Rollin’ On”), but none expend that moment of epiphany. Which says much about what we’ve come to expect from these incredible talents. 99 and a half just won’t do?

EDITORS’ NOTES

While they are both distinctive stylists — one only has to hear a few notes to identify either — they are also both chameleon-like in their ability to blend into nearly any situation. Knopfler and Harris have guested on many albums, happily serving as that special ingredient. Together here under equal billing with songs from sessions that span over seven years, Knopfler and Harris seem a natural pair. The supple guitar stirrings Knopfler brought to Dire Straits and his later solo work are in full evidence along with what has always been his limited vocal range (often accurately described as a ‘drawl,’). Harris is a natural sweetener, softening hard moments with a moment’s hesitancy, holding back on notes until all meaning is wrung. The material, primarily supplied by Knopfler, who wrote ten to Harris’ two, is solid if slightly underwhelming. There’s a majestic, traditional beauty to many of the tunes. They sound as if they’ve come through the ages (“Beachcombing,” “Rollin’ On”), but none expend that moment of epiphany. Which says much about what we’ve come to expect from these incredible talents. 99 and a half just won’t do?

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