Friday, 6 April 2012

Paul's Incomplete Guide To Classic Pop 1975-79 Part 5

'Sultans Of Swing' by Dire Straits (1978)

It's like this: A friend relays a story from the previous weekend about a desperate pair of small time jazzers. He gives the protagonists names like Harry and George. But you know it's actually about him. He peppers the conversation with quasi-hip references to 'the jazz goin' down' and the like. His delivery is cool, detached, inexpressive even. Paradoxically perhaps, this draws you in. All the while he's fiddling around with an old Fender Stratocaster. And he punctuates the story with crisp chords, fills and lines, picks and scrapes, the likes of which you've never really heard before. In fact, after a while you realize that the real star of this little anecdote is the guitar. Whilst telling you the story he's managed to come up with the single purest distillation of the 'Strat' sound that there's ever been. And as the story ends you think, why doesn't this guy quit his teaching job and become a star?