Dire Straits' self-titled debut album

I first heard this album in late 1978 when I walked into an indie record shop in Hoptown. I don’t remem­ber which song I heard them play­ing but to me, it sound­ed like a new Dylan release. When they told me who it was, I couldn’t believe this was some English band called Dire Straits. This shows how naïve I was back then — con­fus­ing Dire Straits with Dylan! 

I imme­di­ate­ly bought that record, took it home, and start­ed lis­ten­ing. I have nev­er been with­out a copy since. Of course, back then “Sultans of Swing” was the only song you heard on the radio, but the entire album from start to fin­ish is fabulous.

Some of my col­lege bud­dies and I went to Louisville’s Freedom Hall to see Dire Straits in either ’78 or ’79 and the show was fan­tas­tic. They played most of their album and some new­er stuff. They were always an orig­i­nal band, and they demon­strat­ed that here.

The open­ing act for Dire Straits was a band called Tucky Buzzard. Apparently, they were a hard-rock­ing British favorite. I’d nev­er heard of them before nor since. The Dire Straits show was so good I even enjoyed Buzzard enough to go out, find their album, and buy it. But when I final­ly start­ed replac­ing my vinyl with CDs it wasn’t good enough to replace, and it’s long gone with all my oth­er vinyl.

This Dire Straits album is still avail­able on CD, stream­ing, and vinyl for­mats. Pick one up; you won’t be dis­ap­point­ed. Dire Straits’ music is also all over YouTube, includ­ing this full album. 

One oth­er note: Mark Knopfler went on to record at least a cou­ple of albums with Dylan includ­ing Slow Train Coming and Infidels, both pret­ty good albums due in large part to Knopfler’s gui­tar work. Knopfler has con­tin­ued to put out solo albums and a cou­ple of col­lab­o­ra­tions with folks like Chet Atkins and Emmylou Harris. A lot of good gui­tar work is avail­able from Knopfler.

Dire Straits

Album information

  • Mark Knopfler – vocals, lead and rhythm guitars
  • David Knopfler – rhythm gui­tar, back­ing vocals
  • John Illsley – bass gui­tar, back­ing vocals
  • Pick Withers – drums
  • Rhett Davies – engineer
  • Chuck Loyola – cov­er painting
  • Bob Ludwig – remastering
  • Alan Schmidt – art direction

All tracks are writ­ten by Mark Knopfler.

  1. Down to the Waterline
  2. Water of Love
  3. Setting Me Up
  4. Six Blade Knife
  5. Southbound Again
  6. Sultans of Swing
  7. In the Gallery
  8. Wild West End
  9. Lions

Released: October 7, 1978
Recorded: February 13 – March 5, 1978
Studio: Basing Street Studios, London
Label: Vertigo Warner Bros. Mercury
Producer: Muff Winwood (Steve’s brother)

You can lis­ten to Sultans of Swing here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/89Qg_gYqkys
Or you can lis­ten to their whole 1st album here; ignore the com­mer­cials and go for it:

More to come on Dire Straits music; I love ‘em. Say bye to the guys for now.

  • Jeff Brandt

    Jeff has been a music fan since the age of 7 when the album Meet the Beatles hit the streets. He grew up in Hoptown and went to col­lege at UK a cou­ple of times. He retired in 2016 and is cur­rent­ly amass­ing his music col­lec­tion. Jeff says he loves being retired but is tired of quarantining.