Thursday, November 5, 2009
When You Got Knopfler,You Sure Get Lucky.
Mark Knopfler is truly like old wine.He gets better with each passing year.
He amazes me.
You see him perform. There are no crazy, possessed-by-the-devil antics on stage .
His voice caresses you.Gruff.Tender.Deep.Intimate.His guitar : intricate, precise and gentle. There’s a certain austerity about him. However, an austerity that doesn’t isolate him from the world, but makes him one with it.He’s a Budhha with a guitar.
Get Lucky bears testimony to all that and so much more.
It’s amazing how this man continues to play what he believes in, instead of radio-friendly pop-ish music.He has a niche audience and he has stayed true to them and himself never compromising with his style and music. Thus you get something as beautiful and true as Get Lucky.
Border Reiver,with its beautiful fusion of the accordion and flute brings out a rustic Irish flavour.Hard Shoulder follows : a wonderful ballad with a definite Motown feel.The vulnerability in his voice cuts through. You Can’t Beat The House has Knopfler betting on the blues.
Before Gas just proves Knopfler’s mastery in the art of story-telling. Simple words strung together to weave such nostalgia and the appeal in his voice resounds through you.”If heaven’s like this/Well, then here’s where I’ll be/On the edge of the world/On the edge of the field/Before gas and TV”
Monteleone is one of my favourite songs in the album.It’s amazing how Knopfler takes something so personal and manages to create an universal appeal without going into details and compromising what his is very own.The string arrangement is beautiful and flows in and out like a wave.
Monteleone,in memory of the guitar-maker who made Knopfler a beautiful guitar is exquisite. " My finger plane’s working; gentle persuasion/I bend to the wood and coax it to sing.” Art for art’s sake .
Cleaning My Gun is classic Knopfler with a heavy dose of Americana. The last verse stands out for me: “You can still get gas in heaven and drink in kingdom come/In the meantime, I’m cleaning my gun.”
“The Car Was The One” inspired by racer Bobby Brown is another masterful execution of Knopfler’s treatment of his personal reflections “Remembrance Day” kind of sums up Knopfler’s search throughout the album for the days gone by and raveling in the memories. “Piper To The End” has the rich Celtic sound of Knopfler.
“So Far From The Clyde” is another of my favourites.Pathos seeps into you. It revolves around the famous shipping industry of Scotland that existed once upon a time.Knopfler said “A breaking yard in India is a long way for beautiful Clyde-built ship to go to die” and he portrays that forced desolation so beautifully in the song that it becomes more universal than specific.A brilliant composition.
And that brings me to the title track,Get Lucky , another master-piece. This song heals you. It is optimistic yet realistic :”And what about happiness for money?/Tell it to the breadline.” It’s not what he says in this song, but what he leaves unsaid :”And I might get lucky now and then, You win some, you might get lucky now and then/You win some.” Knopfler does not feel the need to complete the age-old saying.Being cliched is not his forte.The Psalms teach you about the Philosophy of Supplication. I just think Mark Knopfler did that with this song,in a far simpler way.
Get Lucky is an ethereal amalgamation of poetry, folklore and a heavy dose of nostalgia adorned with Motown blues, acoustic folk, Celtic richness and topped off with the unique component that makes it special : a generous quanta of Knopfler’s soul that pervades throughout the album. He tells his story and he sings it to you. For you.
Jonathan Livingstone,the seagull says “ Heaven is not a place and it is not a time.Heaven is being perfect.” Mark Knopfler I believe is there. And with him,I feel, you might ‘get lucky’ and have a semblance of what heaven is, on earth.