What type of music would you say Sultans of Swing is?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by 2020jan08, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. aliensporebomb

    aliensporebomb Member

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    Pick Withers (drums) who also was drummer of the british prog band "Spring" (who had three mellotron players!) was a lot better than he appears on this song - his intricate shifting rhythms alongside the propulsive guitar gave the some its elastic feel. I find listening to the drums is as interesting to me as the guitar.
     
  2. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

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  3. 4b454e

    4b454e Member

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    Well, check HIM out!
     
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  4. 4b454e

    4b454e Member

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    I'd call it an earworm, since it goes on repeat in my head for hours each time I open this thread!
     
  5. MBreinin

    MBreinin Supporting Member

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    Disagree, strenuously. I think the version on Alchemy is a mess, whereas the studio production is timeless. What sounds "dated" about it?
     
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  6. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    Went to see them in 84 or 85 and had listened to that album all week before the show. Got to the show and he pretty much played all the extended stuff note for note. Soured me on MK, thought he was a guy who would cut loose live but it was all pre planned.
     
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  7. MBreinin

    MBreinin Supporting Member

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    Also, I hear a lot of people commenting on the path DS took later in their career. Certainly MTV is partially responsible for that, but it was also the exodus of David, Mark's now estranged brother. Apparently he was a straight up rhythm guy and Mark felt he was holding the band back and limiting his vision. Things really started to change around and after Making Movies, when these "constraints" were lifted. Compare Love over Gold to Dire Straits or Communique and it is pretty clear in terms of song structure.
     
  8. davidespinosa

    davidespinosa Supporting Member

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    @2020jan08

    Good question ! I'll read the whole thread later, but:

    * The other songs on the first and second albums provide some context.

    * Hank Marvin is definitely one of MK's biggest influences.

    * Here's what they sounded like live in 1979 (my favorite DS video on YT !):

     
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  9. 2020jan08

    2020jan08 Member

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    Hi David,

    I've been a fan of DS since I was teenager - in my 40s now - so I know their catalog very well. I also mentioned Hank Marvin early on in this thread. Compared with other songs on the two first albums (my favorite DS albums by far; played to death and then some), I feel maybe Sultans is the most difficult to categorize. (By the way, I don't have an OCD need for categorizing. It's just of curiosity and for the sake of making conversation.) Sure, Knopfler has never been a purist, so a lot of his compositions are a fusion of styles. Some songs may have one style that is more prominent or recognizable than others, but with Sultans I'm thinking "what is this?" At any rate, it's good music.
     
  10. Ferg Deluxe

    Ferg Deluxe Gold Supporting Member

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    It ain’t what I’d call rock-n-roll...

    :D
     
  11. markjsmith

    markjsmith Member

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    I call it Rhumba-Rock. The spanish strumming thing is similar to rhumba rhythms played in flamenco music
     
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  12. Dubious

    Dubious Member

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    I've often joked... because its a near POLAR opposite... that you could slide Sultans onto slide B of Television's Marquee Moon and no one would notice.

    rambling poetic lyrics - check
    lean tight rhythm section - check
    minimal gimmick free production - check
    clean less "rock" guitar tones - check
    virtuosic soloing - check
     
  13. Alan Dunn

    Alan Dunn Member

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    I find the studio version boring and dull - something mums and dads would listen to. I've owned the original album for over 40 years and tried to enjoy it - but it's just not for me.
    There's so many better and more influential albums released in 1978 it's pointless even trying to list them all. Blondie, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Van Halen, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Chic, Ramones, Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Nick Lowe, The Cars, WIllie nelson - just some of the other artists who released albums in 1978 I prefer to listen to still in 2020.

    Alchemy and Love over Gold are my favourites by quite a margin as far as Dire Straits go.

    But if you are a fan of Dire Straits first album and Sultans of Swing - that's ok by me - it's not wrong to state a preference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  14. 2020jan08

    2020jan08 Member

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    I used to love the Alchemy version when I was young, and also the live versions from the 1985 tour and 1992 tour, because of the increased energy and high-octane soloing. But the added synths and saxophone sound awfully dated now. Cheesy even. The studio version may have a lot less energy, but it is so incredibly elegant.

    By the way, if you've owned the original album for 40 years, I find it a very odd for you to say "something mums and dads would listen to".
     
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  15. 2020jan08

    2020jan08 Member

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    The Television guys don't look that much different than Dire Straits! A tad more somber.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. finnster

    finnster Member

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    Swing.....obviously:)
     
  17. 2020jan08

    2020jan08 Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    We had a pick up group of guys playing, just trying to get familiar with one another, and things went fairly smoothly until someone mused we should try Sultans of Swing.

    Things got bogged down, right away. It took me a couple weeks to realize, I hadn't played anything like that before.
     
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  19. 2020jan08

    2020jan08 Member

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    At a local blues jam I occasionally go to, some of the guys there have sometimes talked with me about having a go at it. However, it's a song that you just don't have a go at, IMO. Either you play it properly (which means rehearsing it) or you leave it. It would be cool though to rehearse it and perform it well in front of an audience. A nice departure from the endless 12-bar jams :)
     
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  20. aliensporebomb

    aliensporebomb Member

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    But then - check it out after David Knopfler left or was forced (he's on "Making Movies" but not credited for his work on it) out he produced a series of 17 records (including two anthology records) so it's not like he was holding them back, it was two brothers who had completely different artistic bents that were bound to butt heads.

    In a way it's a timeless struggle - two artistically talented brothers, one mainstream, one eclectic find themselves at loggerheads. David was no Mark but in a way Mark was no David.
     

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