Being a long time Mark Knopfler fan going back to 1979 when `Sultans of Swing' first hit the airwaves, I was very happy to receive this double album opus. In my opinion Knopfler reached a peak with his last album `Get Lucky' and I wasn't sure this album could hold up to that one. But I was wrong. It may not surpass his last album but it certainly reaches the same level of excellence in artistry, creativity and pure musical genius. It is a joy to listen to his music especially when you compare it to the garbage on the radio these days. Most of which makes me gag. It is so sad that many people the world over will never experience music such as this because it just has not been made available to them. Instead they think great music comes from acts like Britney Spears and Justin Bieber because unfortunately those are the ones that get all the airplay and attention. What a sick world we live in.
Knopfler's music is very complex and demands multiple listenings before you can digest it all. I just love the fusion of celtic, country & rock. The lyrics tell you a story or experience and make you think. Some of his songs are from another time and place. But not so remote that you can't relate to them on a human level. His use of the guitar is very original as he allows the instrument to `talk' or evoke emotion - from happiness & joy to sadness & grief. I can't praise this man enough. He seems to be getting better with age. Every time a new release comes around I don't hesitate to buy it with no regrets ever. I feel he has really hit his stride since `Kill to Get Crimson', `Get Lucky' and now `Privateering". I also loved the album `All the Road Running' with Emmylou Harris. It contains some outstanding songs. I only hope there will be many more albums from Mark Knopfler in the future!!! They are all masterpieces.
I do have one deep regret & that is that my mother is not here to enjoy his best albums. She discovered Knopfler when she was in her 70's and developed an awe for the man that I had not seen her have for any other musical artist. And she admired many. She read whatever books she could find on him or Dire Straits, watched & listened to his concert tapes & albums and even attended his concert in 2005. If that isn't a testament to the greatness of this artist I don't know what is. She did not have any musical training or education but she knew what she heard was real music of quality and substance. That's why listening to his newer albums is bittersweet for me as she passed away in 2008.
I will end by saying if you appreciate fine music this album will not disappoint you. There are some really beaufiful songs ( Redbud Tree; Go Love; Kingdom of Gold) with clever lyrics (Corned Beef City) that will enlighten you along with catchy & innovative guitar riffs throughout. Of all the 20 songs there isn't one you could call weak or filler. The title song "Privateering" is just amazing. Great stuff!
Keep in mind that this man has been making great music for almost 35 years and is very underrated IMHO. That's because he doesn't use gimmicks or court the spotlight but is a solid musician and gifted songwriter. Hopefully one day he will gain the recognition he truly deserves.