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Dire Straits - Communiqué

On June 5, 1979 "Dire Straits" released their second album, "Communiqué".



"Communiqué" is notable for being the last album to feature David Knopfler, who left the band during the recording of their following album - "Making Movies" due to creative differences with his brother, Mark Knopfler. This album is also the last to feature the original lineup of the band.


If we have to describe why we love this album so much, it will be its "unique sound and the masterful production quality". This album was a real favorite by Home Audio shops, using this excellent album (and of course "The Dark Side Of The Moon") to demonstrate the capabilities of their advanced stereo systems. Just turn up the volume on your Hi-Fi stereo system to the sound of "Where Do You Think You're Going?" and you will know exactly what we mean.


Well, even though released in 1979, this album has a very impressive sound quality which does not embarrass the advanced productions of our time. It is offering a dynamic listening experience with a perfect recording production that sound so clear, vivid and relevant even today. Produced by Barry Beckett and Jerry Wexler, two legendary figures from "Muscle Shoals Sound Studio", That crafted this beautiful album. "Communiqué" has a polished and refined sound. The production quality is impeccable, capturing the band's performance with each instrument and vocal line captured with clarity and warmth. The album exudes a laid-back vibe, reflecting a more relaxed and confident band compared to their debut.


Following their self-titled debut that featured the iconic track "Sultans of Swing." Mark Knopfler, the band's lead guitarist and vocalist, along with his bandmates, delivers an album that, while not as commercially explosive as their debut, cements their reputation for crafting smooth, intelligent rock.


After concluding the "Dire Straitblends Tour" in Hitchin on November 18, 1978, the band immediately set to work on recording "Communiqué". The recording sessions took place from November 28 to December 12, 1978, at "Compass Point Studios" in Nassau. The album was mixed in January 1979 at "Muscle Shoals Sound Studio" in Alabama. Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett from Muscle Shoals Sound Studio helmed the production. Beckett (credited as B. Bear) also contributed keyboards to some of the album's nine tracks.


Beyond its magnificent sound and perfect production, one of the standout aspects of "Communiqué" is the superb musicianship. Mark Knopfler’s distinctive fingerstyle guitar playing is as captivating as ever, characterized by its clean, melodic lines and intricate solos. The rhythm section, consisting of John Illsley on bass and Pick Withers on drums, provides a steady, understated foundation that allows Knopfler’s guitar work to shine. Additionally, David Knopfler’s rhythm guitar adds depth to the band’s sound.


The album that blends beautifully Rock, Country and Reggae influences, opens up with "Once Upon a Time in the West", which sets a contemplative tone with its moody guitar riff and introspective lyrics and Knopfler's unique and sensitive vocals.



"News" comes right after with its beautiful guitar work by the Knopflers'. Such caressing and beautiful, and we can swear that if you will close your eyes you will feel as if the whole band is there in your room playing just for you.


"Where Do You Think You're Going?" is another standout track, showcasing Knopfler's storytelling ability and the band's dynamic range. The song builds from a gentle, introspective beginning to a powerful, dynamic crescendo. The sound is so clean worm, you can actually hear every slide on the guitar neck and every breath of Knopfler - just A perfect song and production.


The Theme song "Communiqué" comes right after with a honky-tonk vibe, but after the beautiful intro takes another musical direction.


"Lady Writer", the lead single from the album, is one of the more upbeat tracks and features a catchy guitar hook. This song has all the ingredients from the debut album, and could have been an outtake from it. It was inspired by a woman writer Mark Knopfler saw on TV, speculated to be Marina Warner, known for her writings on the Virgin Mary. The song reached number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 51 on the UK Singles Chart.



Another two worth-to-mention tracks from the album are "Portobello Belle" and "Single-Handed Sailor" with the former's folk-influenced sound and the latter's "electrifying" up beat guitar.


The album ends up with the bluesy and "Follow Me Home" that leave us with a taste for more of this hypnotizing music.


"Communiqué" might not have the immediate impact of "Dire Straits'" debut, but it is a strong follow-up that showcases the band's growth and versatility. It rewards repeated listens, revealing more of its nuances and subtleties over time. For fans of "Dire Straits" or anyone who appreciates a great sound, masterful production and well-crafted rock music with a touch of sophistication, "Communiqué" is a must-listen. The album is a testament to "Dire Straits'" ability to create music that is both accessible and artistically satisfying.


For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music


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