Love Over Gold
Way back in the day of LPs, it was a big deal for me to stump up cash and buy one of these things. It took some saving of pocket money to do it, and you had to be sure you were going to like it. I bought ‘Love Over Gold’ by Dire Straits on the strength of a snippet I heard on radio, which was the nylon string opening section to ‘Private Investigation’. It’s weird but I was sold on just the opening 24bars or so.
It was also the first album I thrashed on my portable cassette player. It’s weird that I don’t remember what was on the other side of the cassette. Maybe it was a D-46 cassette so it only had ‘Love Over Gold’. Anyway, if there’s one album that returns the sense memory of sitting on the grassy slope by the school oval in summer, it would be this album.
Douglas Adams wrote a small passage in one of his Hitchhiker books about Mark Knopfler’s playing, saying how Mark Knopfler would make the Stratocaster sing. It’s odd how that description stuck in my head, because I think I’ve reflected on that description quite a bit, wondering how must one play to let a Stratocaster ‘sing’? In all likelihood, Adams was probably thinking about this album when he wrote that description.
Over the years, I’ve gone back to listen to this album from many different angles. I love the guitar playing, the monumental arrangements, the furious keyboard playing, the dripping-with-digital-reverb production, and the deft lyrics as well as the haunting tonality of the whole darn thing. Amazingly, it still holds up exceptionally well after years of listening abuse. I know this because my iPod dredged it up from its stores this morning and suddenly it was all there. The nostalgia sort of exploded in my car.