Private Investigations: The Best Of

Studio Album by released in 2005

Private Investigations: The Best Of review

Private Investigations is a very special collection of songs by Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler

In the last couple of years it's become okay to have guilty pleasures in music. Everybody has a couple of bands who, prior to the success of club nights and CD compilations which glorify the music, they love listening to in private – tapes that they used to have to listen to in the car, or while on holiday. Even though bands as Dire Straits are largely ignored by the popular music press in favor of emergent noiseniks, they can proudly count among their fanbase those who were there from the start, those who were sucked in by the phenomenally successful Brothers In Arms album, a new wave of people who recognize that songs such as Sultans Of Swing stand up musically against some of the best songs in their genre being produced today. Private Investigations is a very special collection of songs recorded by one of the biggest British bands in music history, fronted by one of the world’s leading songwriters and guitarists, Mark Knopfler.

The whole album is overflowing with quality

The album chronicles Knopfle's career with Dire Straits, through the critically acclaimed solo years to the present day, the future even. Closer and sole new track All the Roadrunning is a taster from his forthcoming collaborative venture with C&W legend Emmylou Harris. The whole album is overflowing with quality. Sultans Of Swing is beyond reproach. Ditto Romeo and Juliet is arguably the finest modern reworking of a Shakespeare play. Later offerings such as Money for Nothing are today maligned for their slick production, but at the time they were cutting edge. Money for Nothing also famously features ‘that riff’, but it’s easy to forget that several of Knopfle's treasures are not guitar-driven, such as the piano-led Love over Gold and the euphoric sax-laden Going Home. The latter is the highlight of the second half of the disk, which tidies up the Dire Straits years and presses on with solo efforts. Less inspired or maybe merely less familiar, the second half of the album suffers from the omission of Knopfle's splendid soundtrack to The Princess Bride. Nevertheless, the seven-minute instrumental The Long Road and the folk-tinged Why Aye Man amongst others serve to illustrate that as well as being an under-celebrated guitar virtuoso, he is also a master arranger.

Bona fide classics of the kind that can only be produced by a band of high-calibre

Dire Straits were formed in London by Mark Knopfler (lead vocals and lead guitar) and his brother David (guitar), with roommate John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums). In the late 70s, the band emerged with a refreshing rock sound mixed with blues, jazz and even country. The band's sound was strengthened by the meshing of players and Knopfle's lyrics. Mark Knopfler is and always has been the face and force of Dire Straits. Prior to forming the band, Knopfler worked as a rock critic and taught English. He also involved himself with a rock band named Brewer's Droop in the mid-70s. Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler have sold in excess of 118 million albums worldwide to date. Private Investigations features tracks from each of Dire Straits’ classic albums, e.g. On Every Street, Making Movies, Love over Gold, as well as the 13 times platinum selling Brothers In Arms album, which has clocked up over 29 million sales and achieved #1 status in a whopping 22 countries. It still remains one of the biggest selling albums of all time. This compilation is by no means going to make teenagers throw out all of their Busted records, but it proves that it's easy to forget how good Dire Straits could be. Here you have some bona fide classics of the kind that can only be produced by a band of such high-calibre.