Dire Straits

Dire Straits

Album Credits

Mark Knopfler: vocals, lead, rhythm guitars
David Knopfler: rhythm guitar
John Illsley: bass
Pick Withers: drums

Songs by Mark Knopfler
Recorded at Basing Street Studios, London, Feb. 1978
Engineered by Rhett Davies
Produced by Muff Winwood
Design & Artwork by Hothouse
Cover painting by Chuck Loyola at Hothouse
Photography Paddy Eckersley
Art Direction by Alan Schmidt

Released: Vertigo/Warner Bros. (1978)

Dire Straits

  • 1. Down To The Waterline
    Sweet surrender on the quayside
    You remember we used to run and hide
    In the shadow of the cargoes I take you one time
    And we’re counting all the numbers down to the waterline

    Near misses on the dogleap stairways
    French kisses in the darkened doorways
    A foghorn blowing out wild and cold
    A policeman shines a light upon my shoulder

    Up comes a coaster fast and silent in the night
    Over my shoulder all you can see are the pilot lights
    No money in our jackets and our jeans are torn
    Your hands are cold but your lips are warm

    She can see him on the jetty where they used to go
    She can feel him in the places where the sailors go
    When she’s walking by the river and the railway line
    She can still hear him whisper
    Let’s go down to the waterline
  • 2. Water Of Love
    High and dry in the long hot day
    Lost and lonely in every way
    Got the flats all around me sky up above
    I need a little water of love

    I’ve been too long lonely and my heart feels pain
    Crying out for some soothing rain
    I believe I have taken enough
    I need a little water of love

    Water of love deep in the ground
    No water here to be found
    Some day baby when the river runs free
    It’ll carry that water of love to me

    There’s a bird up in a tree sitting up high
    Waiting for me to die
    If I don’t get some water soon
    I’ll be dead and gone in the afternoon

    Once I had a woman I could call my own
    Once I had a woman now my woman is gone
    Once there was a river now there’s a stone
    You know it’s evil when you’re living alone
  • 3. Setting Me Up
    You say I’m the greatest bound for glory
    Well the word is out and I learned
    I got the latest side of the story
    You’re pulling out before you get burned

    Well your hands are squeezing me down to the bone
    I never saw you breaking no law
    Stands to reason I’ve got to leave you alone
    What you taking me for

    You’re setting me up to put me down
    You’re making me out to be your clown
    You’re just setting me up to put me down
    You better give it up
    Quit your messing around

    You think I care about your reaction
    You think I don’t understand
    All you wanted was a piece of the action
    Now you talk about another man
  • 4. Six Blade Knife
    Your six blade knife can do anything for you
    Anything you want it to
    One blade for breaking my heart
    One blade for tearing me apart
    Your six blade knife – do anything for you

    You can take away my mind like you take away the top of a tin
    When you come up from behind and lay it down cold on my skin
    Took a stone from my soul when I was lame
    Just so you could make me tame
    You take away my mind like you take away the top of a tin

    I’d like to be free of it now – I don’t want it no more
    I’d like to be free of it now – you know I don’t want it no more

    Everybody got a knife it can be just what they want it to be
    A needle a wife or something that you just can’t see
    You know it keeps you strong
    Yes and it’ll do me wrong
    Your six blade knife – do anything for you
  • 5. Southbound Again
    Southbound again I don’t know if I’m going or leaving home
    Boy got to be moving
    Seems like the boy is bound to roam

    Southbound again got no money I've got no place to go
    That woman's with her lover boy
    Never want to see her face no more

    Every single time I roll across the rolling River Tyne
    I get the same old feeling
    Every time I’m moving down the line

    Southbound again, last night I felt like crying
    Right now I’m sick of living
    But I’m going to keep on trying
  • 6. Sultans Of Swing
    You get a shiver in the dark
    It’s raining in the park but meantime
    South of the river you stop and you hold everything
    A band is blowing Dixie double four time
    You feel all right when you hear that music ring

    You step inside but you don’t see too many faces
    Coming in out of the rain to hear the jazz go down
    Too much competition too many other places
    But not too many horns can make that sound
    Way on downsouth way on downsouth London town

    You check out Guitar George he knows all the chords
    Mind he’s strictly rhythm he doesn’t want to make it cry or sing
    And an old guitar is all he can afford
    When he gets up under the lights to play his thing

    And Harry doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene
    He’s got a daytime job he’s doing alright
    He can play honky tonk just like anything
    Saving it up for Friday night
    With the Sultans with the Sultans of Swing

    And a crowd of young boys they’re fooling around in the corner
    Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles
    They don’t give a damn about any trumpet playing band
    It ain’t what they call rock and roll
    And the Sultans played Creole

    And then the man he steps right up to the microphone
    And says at last just as the time bell rings
    ‘Thank you goodnight now it’s time to go home’
    and he makes it fast with one more thing
    ‘We are the Sultans of Swing’
  • 7. In The Gallery
    Harry made a bareback rider proud and free upon a horse
    And a fine coalminer for the NCB that was
    A fallen angel and Jesus on the cross
    A skating ballerina you should have seen her do the skater’s waltz

    Some people have got to paint and draw
    Harry had to work in clay and stone
    Like the waves coming to the shore
    It was in his blood and in his bones
    Ignored by all the trendy boys in London and in Leeds
    He might as well have been making toys or strings of beads
    He could not be in the gallery

    And then you get an artist says he doesn’t want to paint at all
    He takes an empty canvas and sticks it on the wall
    The birds of a feather all the phonies and all of the fakes
    While the dealers they get together
    And they decide who gets the breaks
    And who’s going to be in the gallery

    No lies he wouldn’t compromise
    No junk no bits of string
    And all the lies we subsidise
    That just don’t mean a thing
    I’ve got to say he passed away in obscurity
    And now all the vultures are coming down from the tree
    So he’s going to be in the gallery
  • 8. Wild West End
    Stepping out to Angellucci’s for my coffee beans
    Checking out the movies and the magazines
    Waitress she watches me crossing from the Barocco Bar
    I’m getting a pickup for my steel guitar
    I saw you walking out Shaftesbury Avenue
    Excuse me talking I wanna marry you
    This is the seventh heaven street to me
    Don’t be so proud
    You’re just another angel in the crowd
    And I’m walking in the wild west end
    Walking with your wild best friend

    And my conductress on the number nineteen
    She was a honey
    Pink toenails and hands all dirty with money
    Greasy hair easy smile
    Made me feel nineteen for a while

    And I went down to Chinatown
    In the backroom it’s a man’s world
    All the money go down
    Duck inside the doorway gotta duck to eat
    Right now feels alright now
    You and me we can’t beat

    And a gogo dancing girl yes I saw her
    The deejay he say here’s Mandy for ya
    I feel alright to see her
    But she’s paid to do that stuff
    She’s dancing high I move on by
    The close ups can get rough
    When you’re walking in the wild west end
  • 9. Lions
    Red sun go down way over dirty town
    Starling are sweeping around crazy shoals
    A girl is there high heeling across the square
    Wind blows around in her hair and the flags upon the poles
    Waiting in the crowd to cross at the light
    She looks around to find a face she can like

    Church bell clinging on trying to get a crowd for Evensong
    Nobody cares to depend upon the chime it plays
    They’re all in the station praying for trains
    Congregation late again
    It’s getting darker all the time these flagpole days
    Drunk old soldier he gives her a fright
    He’s a crazy lion howling for a fight

    Strap hanging gunshot sound
    Doors slamming on the overground
    Starlings are tough but the lions are made of stone
    Her evening paper is horror torn
    But there’s hope later for Capricorns
    Her lucky stars give her just enough to get home
    Then she’s reading about a swing to the right
    But she’s thinking about a stranger in the night
    I’m thinking about the lions tonight
    What happened to the lions