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Communiqu¨¦
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Product Description

Dire Straits seemed to be a band with no popular context when they recorded this sophomore outing. Their previous album's "Sultans of Swing" still hadn't charted and former schoolteacher Mark Knopfler, whose 30th birthday coincided with this album's release, still had little interest in mirroring the post-punk obsessions of late-'70s London. Oblivious to the changes that would soon take place (brother David leaving the band, compact discs resurrecting older rock consumers, and their own ascension to arena-rock status), the band continued to refine its pub-rock aesthetic on this unpretentious set of melancholy rock tunes. Mark's talent for cynical character sketches is further developed on tracks like "Where Do You Think You're Going" and "News," while the presence of Jerry Wexler at the production helm ensures that the rest of the band keeps the rhythms tight. But the laid-back atmosphere of recording in the Bahamas seems to have had just as much influence, from the reggae lope of the opening "Once upon a Time in the West" to those waves crashing against the beach in the hypnotic album closer, "Follow Me Home." All in all, a solid effort from a band that probably had no idea what was just around the corner. --Bill Forman

Customer Reviews:

  • Inessential
    Interesting to see so much love for this; I find it sluggish, derivative of the debut, inessential, a sophomore slump. Still, it sounds pretty good and can be a pleasant listen if one doesn't concentrate too hard. "Once Upon a Time in the West" is a promising start, one of the better tracks, with Knopfler's sardonic writing in force, "Sitting on the fence, that's a dangerous course/ You could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force," but "News" stutters and "Where Do You Think You're Going" gets going only in the last minute. From "Communique", the album mellows a bit, and with a hint of flamenco and a hint of funk and the title track is a nice tune, though far from truly vital. The single, "Lady Writer" is rehashed Sultans of Swing, but a catchy song for all that, and so on...the songs taken on their own are just fine, but the sum is considerably less than its parts....more info
  • Communique on line
    This is a short one from Peru. This album has been made to listen in the nature because its style is so fresh that you can really hear it and enjoy it especially in a vacation. This group made the best out of them those glorious years.

    Franco...more info

  • Dire Straits Showcases a Country-like Feel to their Sound
    Dire Straits is a band that would form in the late 1970s. Throughout their career, Dire Straits, they would do things much differently than many of the other bands during the "British Invasion" that was taking place. In an era where Punk and New Wave were taking center stage, Dire Straits were doing things the old-fashioned way: a combination of Classic Rock, Blues, Folk, and even some Country. In latter years, Dire Straits would migrate toward more complex and progressive arrangements and somewhere along the way they would become pop stars. However, the early days of Dire Straits would demonstrate their roots around Classic Rock, Blues, Folk, and Country. This was demonstrated on their self-titled "Dire Straits" which showed a simpler, more-stripped down sound than what they would eventually become known for. The follow-up album, "Communique" would continue this sound but focus much more around a County and Folk sound. Some consider "Communique" the weak point of the Dire Straits catalog, but I think there is plenty of good music on this album.

    For the most part, Dire Straits is the brainchild of its lead guitarist and vocalist - Mark Knopfler. Throughout his career, Knopfler would assemble a group of musicians that would comprise Dire Straits. Like on their debut album, "Communique" consisted of Mark Knopfler on vocals and lead guitars, his brother David - also on guitars, John Illsley (who would be the only constant throughout the life of Dire Straits besides Mark Knopfler) on bass, and Pick Withers on drums. On latter albums, Dire Straits would demonstrate more use of the keyboards (for example Roy Bittan would add a new dimension by playing keyboards on the "Making Movies" album), but as on the self-titled "Dire Straits" album, "Communique" would continue to focus around a guitar-oriented sound. "Communique" is not a hard-Rocking collection and will have more of a soft feel, yet this still is a very good collection.

    As for the lyrics, Mark Knopfler does some of his best songwriting on this collection. I like how he makes use of metaphors and storytelling.

    Here is a track by track review of this collection:

    "Once Upon a Time in the West" This song demonstrates two themes on this album....the "Once Upon a Time" demonstrates the storytelling capabilities while "West" demonstrates the Country-Western feel. The guitar work is going to be the signature of this song - highlighted by the "twanging" sound that is heard throughout this collection.

    "News": Similar feel to this song as "Once Upon a Time in the West". This song combines storytelling with the Country-Western feel of the guitar. I particularly liked the instrumental ending to this song - which is highlighted by some haunting drums by Pick Withers.

    "Where Do You Think You're Going?": This is one of the stronger songs of the collection. Instead of sung as a story, this one is song from Mark Knopfler's point of view. The guitar strings sound three dimensional as they provide another Country-like feel. The ending of the song has a great guitar jam.

    "Communique": This song starts with a strong Country-like feel to it. This song took a few listens for me to get into, but after a few listens, it definitely is worthy of a title track. I particularly like how the vocals "slow down" right at the end of each chorus with "Communique".

    "Lady Writer": This song picks up the tempo and is one of the earliest of examples of Dire Straits pulling off a faster tempo song. The result is the album's strongest track and one that stands up with the best of Dire Straits' tracks. Still the Country-like guitar feel is prevalent throughout this track. There are some also nice background vocals on this track.

    "Angel of Mercy": Here is another track that highlights the Country-Western like guitars by Dire Straits. Here is another track that took a few listens before I got into it. Once again, this song is highlighted by some good background vocals by the band.

    "Portobello Belle": Same story here....more guitar-laden instrumentals with a Country like feel to the melody. This song also has a storytelling feel, but this time from Knopfler's point of view. The chorus is subtle, but very effective. This is one song where Dire Straits highlights the use of keyboards.

    "Single Handed Sailor": This song maintains the Country feel to it, however this song is going to contain some outstanding guitar riffs. The end result will not only be a very catchy melody, but a very good song. I particularly liked the instrumental about 2/3 into the track that will wind things up. The song also follows a storytelling pattern. I've heard many call this one of Dire Straits' most underrated songs - I couldn't agree more.

    "Follow Me Home": This song opens with the sounds of ocean waves. These waves segue into some very gentle guitar sounds (with the Country-like "twang" that is found on so many of these tracks). The vocals don't start until about just a little under two minutes into this track. I actually found this the collection's weakest track, but it still isn't a bad track.

    The liner notes contain all of the lyrics to it. Overall, this album demonstrates the songwriting, vocal, and guitar talents of Mark Knopfler. It also demonstrates the musicianship for the rest of the band. This album does a nice job in expanding on the foundation that was established on the self-titled "Dire Straits" album. On this album, you can understand why it wasn't so unusual for Mark Knopfler to record with EmmyLou Harris. .Yes, Dire Straits have recorded stronger albums, but this album still does a very good job at holding their own. Highly recommended....more info
  • Superb and stands the test of time
    Wonderful writing and beautiful playing--this album has it all, and still sounds great after all this time. There are many great moments in the songs: the tempo changes in "Once Upon a Time in the West", the deceptive simplicity of the love song "Portobello Belle", the rousing guitarwork at the conclusion of "Angel of Mercy" and the upbeat title cut. I still remember how unfairly this album was savaged by critics when it first came out. Whether it's your first listen to "Communique" or your hundredth, the pleasure these songs provide says all that needs to be said....more info
  • Great Dire Straits album!
    I am a huge fan of Mark Knopfler, but even so I was not expecting this Dire Straits album to be this good. Communique combines the best of both worlds, with it combo of soulful blues and esoteric Knopfler riffs and lyrics. Just a pleasure to listen to....more info
  • Classic Dire Straits
    Whilst this is not my favourite album of this classic band it is still better than probably ninety percent of the other albums by other groups on the market in my opinion. This remastering of the original album has been done with skill and consideration of the feel of this album. The tracks "Lady Writer" and "Portobello Belle" are my favourite tracks on this album. Worth a serious listen....more info
  • Interesting followup
    Not as good as their Debut LP though. Although Angel ofMercy and Portobello Belle are as good as anything on the first one....more info
  • Communique
    Regarding Communique.....


    I had just discovered Mark Knopfler at a late age (78) and wanted to hear his earlier works......his music just goes on and on.,........mj wilson...more info
  • A good communique to the world...Gives good vibrations.
    I like this album the whole album , the picture on the outside pocket, is a smart communique idea. M.K is a genius to fix the look on the album, pictures and like that. Every song here is good. All have, as usually, good lyrics whith brilliant messages, ideas. The instruments, especially guitars, are terrific too. M.K, has a perfect timing in this. "once upon a time in the west" and "where do you think your're going" is the best on the record. But the others is superfine too. and J.Illsley, pick whiters, david knopfler, are very very good too-- (Don't forget these guys).They are playing in nice teamwork whith Mark knopfler. Also one of the best albums ever. well not so fast rockmusic and little bluesy, like the first "dire straits" debut album. But communique, have this too afterall . In any way a record to buy . from a fan....more info
  • Excellent remastered recording.
    This whole album rocks. I think it contains some of Knopfler's best songwriting, specifically songs such as "News," Portobello Belle," and "Where Do You Think You're Going?," the latter of which is my favorite song on the album. Real dark and mysterious sounding--the lyrics are too great. Only Knopfler could write a lyric like "if you ain't with me girl, you're gonna be without me." There's some very solid material on this album and it should be a part of any fan's collection. And now that it's remastered, it's better than ever!...more info
  • Melancholic and realistic at the same time
    This album takes a step forward from the Sultans of Swing album. Their previous effort, but this one is closer to the heart and the soul of its creator: M.Knoffler. From "Once upon a time in the West" to the more mellow:"News" and "Where you think you're going". This gay really delivers us a great combination of poetry and virtuosity on the guitar; besides, considering the kind of musical junk that we had most of the time back on 1979, its amazing that he came out we something like this, although I've got to tell you: He even did better on his master piece album:"Love over gold". Anyway, "Comunique" is a really nice star....more info
  • Beautiful
    Communique is a very "blue" album(not only considering the cover), the songs are melancholy and often a depiction of cynical personas. The album got a beautiful sound and a sense of contiunity in the melodies, it is in my view a very harmonic album. Mark Knopflers moody vocal and crispy guitar make a perfect balance. Even though the album does not contain any classics like Dire Straits did, I would, as a whole consider it a better album. Right from the "fresh" start of Once Upon a Time in the West and to the slow closing track Follow Me Home it is a perfect and harmonic album, released before they became a "stadium event"....more info
  • Communique is a true classic!
    Communique was Dire Straits' answer to their first hit album Dire Straits, and what a follow up it was. The album carries a sensible mix of themes to cover every mood I'm in. Hits such as Once Upon A Time In The West, Where Do You Think You're Going, and Lady Writer take this album to its peak. I guarantee it will do the same for you!...more info
  • Let me communicate - this is a great album
    Though unlike their debut album it doesn't contain a classic hit like "Sultans of Swing", as an album "Communique" is nearly as good. Leader Mark Knopfler shows no evidence of a sophomore slump in either his songwriting or his superb guitar playing. The best tracks are the threatening "Where Do You Think You're Going?" the superb "Once Upon a Time in the West," and the playful songs "Lady Writer" and "Angel of Mercy." There is not a bad tune on the whole album and that makes it well worth owning....more info
  • Inessential
    Interesting to see so much love for this; I find it sluggish, derivative of the debut, inessential, a sophomore slump. Still, it sounds pretty good and can be a pleasant listen if one doesn't concentrate too hard. "Once Upon a Time in the West" is a promising start, one of the better tracks, with Knopfler's sardonic writing in force, "Sitting on the fence, that's a dangerous course/ You could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force," but "News" stutters and "Where Do You Think You're Going" gets going only in the last minute. From "Communique", the album mellows a bit, and with a hint of flamenco and a hint of funk and the title track is a nice tune, though far from truly vital. The single, "Lady Writer" is rehashed Sultans of Swing, but a catchy song for all that, and so on...the songs taken on their own are just fine, but the sum is considerably less than its parts....more info
  • Dire Straits' second album still sounds excellent 30 years on
    Dire Straits' second album entitled Communique was released in June of 1979 on Vertigo/Phonogram in Europe and on Warner Bros here in the United States.
    By the time Dire Straits recorded Communique in the Bahamas in late 1978 with Warner Bros A&R man Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett producing this go around, their self-titled debut which had a great blend of rock, blues, folk, jazz and even some Country to great effect caught on in many countries (with their native England being the last to catch on to what Holland, Germany, Australia and the US saw as rock's great new band).
    Like its predecessor, Dire Straits consisted of lead singer/lead guitarist/songwriter Mark Knopfler, his rhythm guitarist brother David (who would leave in 1980), bass player John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers plus session keyboard player B Bear. Those who put this sophomore effort were in for a treat (as I found out one day when I finally acquired the album in January of 1998 (although was familiar with "Lady Writer" as US radio played it alot).
    We begin the album with the epic "Once Upon a Time In the West" which starts with Mark's stellar guitar work which gives way into a great mid-tempo rocking number. "News" is next and another great mid-tempo track with excellent electric guitar work. Next is "Where Do You Think You're Going" which is a great number with some piano work and starts out in a slow tempo before it ends in a faster tempo with some fiery guitar work. The first side ended with the album's title cut which was a great mid-tempo rocker with a catchy chorus and a great riff.
    The album's second side started with the hit single "Lady Writer" which is a great rocker. This was the put Dire Straits on the map and made the band huge here in the US. Next is the shuffling "Angel of Mercy" which was another great song with a great riff and superb chorus. We follow with "Portobello Belle" which was another great song. "Single Handed Sailor" follows and is another great number. We close the album with another five plus minute piece called "Follow Me Home" which was another phenomenal track.
    Communique peaked at #11 on the Billboard chart and went Gold here in the US with 500,000 copies sold upon its release. Sales aside, Communique proved Dire Straits were to be no one-hit wonder.
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! ...more info
  • A Terrific Early Dire Straits Album!
    I was lucky enough to be living in England just outside London in a little town called West Ruislip just down the cobbled streets from the "T" station near the famous "Orchards" pub when Dire Straits released their "Love Over Gold" album in 1982, and the young English couple living in the flat upstairs played it over and over, introducing me both to their good taste in music and the terrific group called "Dire Straits" in the process. Of course, as I think back upon it, I was familiar with their hit "Sultans Of Swing", but never really paid much attention until hearing this terrific album and Mark Knopfler's unbelievably stirring, crisp and innovative guitar solos. Soon I was down at the music shoppe buying their other albums, including "Communique'. By that time I was familiar with their unique and unforgettable sound and also their very introspective lyrics. I came to love this album as much as "Love Over Gold", and several of the cuts are my favorites.

    Starting with the first cut, "Once Upon A Time In The West", Knopfler's distinctive twanging guitar sound echoed in my flat to all hours of the morning, along with "Where Do you Think You Are Going?", "Communique", and "Lady Writer". My own personal favorites here are "Angel Of Mercy" and "Portobello Bella". In the short two years I lived in Britain, Knopfler became a kind of institutionalized artistic force everywhere one looked, writing soundtrack music for (among other films) "Local Hero" and "Cal", performing both alone and with Dire Straits, and collaborating with other artists, as well. The music here is very and innovative progressive rock, and the electric guitar work literally sings by itself. When I listen to the album now, it is a source of continuing amazement to me that Knopfler could make the sounds that emanated out of that instrument so uniquely animated as it is. The whole band is terrific, and it is sad that they made so few albums before internal frictions broke them apart. Enjoy this and their other wonderful albums. Here in "Communique" they make an indelible stamp on modern rock that I am sure you will find entertaining and entrancing. Enjoy!...more info

  • Rediscovering Dire Straits
    What a great band in their prime! Warner Bros. have remastered the Dire Straits catalog (too bad they didn't add bonus cuts) and they sound better than ever. Communique is a great album.There is not a dud on the album. Not one. The guitar work is jazzy,melodic,and crisp. Mark Knopfler is a great musician. This came out originally in 1979 but it's sound is timeless. Smooth, masterful soundscape with great story/lyrics. "Angel of mercy,angel delight, give me my reward in heaven tonight." You will be rewarded when listening to this masterpiece.

    Even though I have most of their catalog on tape/album, I have begun to purchase the remasters one by one. Next up is Brother's in Arms (Even though I can not stand the song Money for Nothing, it is the non-radio songs on it that shine for me). Fans of the first album "Dire Straits" may be interested in hearing those songs on the disc "live at the BBC"....more info

  • Brilliant sophmore effort.
    This album never got the attention or the acclaim this bands remarkable debut effort received. It is every bit it's equal. Once Upon The Time In The West, Where Do You Think You're Going?, News, and Single Handed Sailor are four of the best numbers Mark Knopfler has ever written. The guitar playing is outstanding. Great rhythm's and lead lines, reminiscent of an enthusiastic J.J. Cale. Pick Withers' playing on drums is terrific. These first two albums by Dire Straits are, by far, their finest. Highly Recommended...Simon...more info
  • Wonderful blend of rock, blues with a little jazz thrown in.
    Mark Knopfler's guitar work is outstanding! As a song writer he has grown much over the years, and his abilities in arranging are getting better all the time. Of all the D.S. albums I have heard, this is my favorite....more info
  • This is Dire Straits at their best!
    I have owned this album almost since the day is has been released, and it still sends chills down my spine today. This is an album that will be with me all my life...how about yours!...more info
  • Western Sadness
    Mark Knopfler is genius with the guitar. You would never guess he is British because he makes sounds that are more reminiscent of the American West than any American music. The sadness of each song is like he is a character from Sergio Leone spaghetti western fighting the world all alone in a Nevada town. Most Americans are just familiar with the mega-hit Money For Nothing, which was straight-ahead rock n roll. But this album is more artistic and pure for those who can't get enough of the Western sound. An absolute gem for old or new fans....more info
  • Worst Reviews - Best Album
    There's little doubt Communique has received the poorest reviews of any of the six albums, but I like it the best. This and the group's first album portray the heart and soul of Dire Straits. They tell stories running the gamut of life experiences and tell them in a variety of styles . . . ballads, rock, country, R&B. They are not "catchy tune" jingles that immediately grab your attention and then lose your interest after listening to them a few times. Instead, they are substantive songs that you may not even like at first, but grow on you the more you listen to them. What do the critics know?

    Tuneful Once Upon a Time in the West has some wicked guitar playing, while Lady Writer adds zest to a mainly melancholic collection. News is an unheralded jewel of a song with mesmerizing lyrics and melody. Portobello Belle and Single-Handed Sailor are beautiful ballads. Angel of Mercy shows that DS can do Nashville and do it well. Although offbeat Communique and mysterious Follow Me Home take some getting used to, your patience will be rewarded. The haunting Where Do You Think You're Going is my all-time favorite DS song, but to gain a full appreciation of the song you should check out the live performances on YouTube, which include a passionate and extended outro. It's frustrating that the recorded version, while excellent, does not include the extended outro, nor does the song appear on any of their live albums.

    Some complain that Communique is a re-hash of the first album. I think the songs are unique, although there do appear to be parallels (a sort of kinship)between songs of the two albums which I've listed below(just for fun):

    Dire Straits album tracks and Communique album "sister songs"

    Down to the Waterline and Single-Handed Sailor (nautical theme)
    Water of Love and Communique (choppy tempo)
    Setting Me Up and Angel of Mercy (country flavor)
    Six Blade Knife and Where Do You Think You're Going (grim, threatening)
    Southbound Again and Follow Me Home (heading my way)
    Sultans of Swing and Lady Writer (lively, fast-paced)
    Wild West End and Portobello Belle (streets of London)
    In the Gallery and Once Upon a Time in the West (life's not fair)
    Lions and News (angst)

    Communique is the most unappreciated album of the most unappreciated band, but both will stand the test of time.

    Notes: 1. Lady Writer was released as a single with Where Do You Think You're Going on the flip side. 2. The Money For Nothing "best-of" album includes a very good live rendition of Portobello Belle. The album also has Lady Writer and Where Do You Think You're Going, but for some unfathomable reason uses a different studio version of the latter that is good, but not as good as the Communique version. 3. Lady Writer sounds a lot like What's the Matter Baby, a real rocker co-authored by Mark and David Knopfler that only appears on the Live at the BBC album. 4. At a concert in Germany in 1980 MK dedicated News to the memory of John Lennon.
    ...more info
  • Communique is a true classic!
    Communique was Dire Straits' answer to their first hit album Dire Straits, and what a follow up it was. The album carries a sensible mix of themes to cover every mood I'm in. Hits such as Once Upon A Time In The West, Where Do You Think You're Going, and Lady Writer take this album to its peak. I guarantee it will do the same for you!...more info
  • Wonderful conclusion to Dire Straits first and best period
    A very similar set of songs and the same sound as for the first album, but that is just fine with me. Sometimes I think I even prefer this to "Dire Straits". Marvelous melancholy tracks too - and superb guitar - "Angel of Mercy" comes immediate mind here as does "Where do you think you're going?". Then there is the kind of bluesy shuffle of "Once upon a time in the West" and "Communique". The single "Lady Writer" is excellent too although, like many, I was taken back by hearing Knopfler's same repetitive lick from "The Sultans of Swing" reappearing in the solo to this track. Another great record and one I never get tired of hearing. Once again the original recording was absolutely first class so I am not convinced this new mastering will be any improvement - it might even be worse....more info