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Shangri-La
     

Shangri-La

3.6 5
by Mark Knopfler
 

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On his fourth solo outing, Mark Knopfler seems to have gotten something of an energy transfusion, making Shangri-La his most straightforwardly rocking effort since the singer-guitarist split from Dire Straits. Given that Knopfler was virtually single-handedly responsible for creating that band's stealthily smoking sound, it's fair

Overview

On his fourth solo outing, Mark Knopfler seems to have gotten something of an energy transfusion, making Shangri-La his most straightforwardly rocking effort since the singer-guitarist split from Dire Straits. Given that Knopfler was virtually single-handedly responsible for creating that band's stealthily smoking sound, it's fair that he nods to his past -- most notably on the languid honky-tonk musing "Boom Like That" (an homage of sorts to fast food pioneer Ray Kroc) -- while carving out plenty of the sinewy guitar solos fans have come to expect. On "Song for Sonny Liston," that translates into a surprisingly gnarled electric blues vibe; on the darkly humorous "Don't Crash the Ambulance," it means a foray into mariachi territory. Most of the disc, in keeping with Knopfler's usual M.O., is steeped in the sepia tones of Americana past, from the country tinges that adorn "Back to Tupelo" to the Big Easy inflections of "The Trawlerman's Song." Longtime compatriots like pedal steel player Paul Franklin (who ratchets up the party atmosphere of "Whoop De Doo") and organist Richard Bennett contribute to the disc's overriding warm glow, but it's Knopfler himself who flicks the switch that really illuminates these songs.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Shangri-La, Mark Knopfler's fourth solo release and his first since breaking his collarbone, shoulder, and seven ribs in a motorcycle crash in March 2003, finds the eternally laid-back Dire Straits frontman in familiar territory. Instead of constructing a song cycle about his brush with mortality -- the wry "Don't Crash the Ambulance" aside -- he uses his warm baritone and effortless guitar work to ruminate on everything from the plight of the modern fisherman -- the beautiful and rustic "Trawlerman's Song" -- to the entrepreneurial skills of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc ("Boom, Like That"). Knopfler has more or less abandoned the British folk and Celtic-influenced pop that began to surface on his previous two recordings, opting instead for a full-blown yet quiet and considerate collection of country-folk ballads and bluesy, midtempo dirges that revel in their uncharacteristic sparseness -- one of the better examples of the latter is the gutsy, backwoods boxing tale "Song for Sonny Liston." Knopfler spent seven months away from the guitar in physiotherapy, but his melancholic slow-burn tone is as peat-smoked as ever, and his penchant for wrapping Americana-gothic folk around subjects that are uniquely English -- colliers, cockneys, the one-armed bandit man who meets his maker in the atmospheric opener, "5:15 A.M." -- is evident throughout. Dynamically, Shangri-La loses steam about three-quarters of the way through -- the cringe-inducing "Whoop De Doo" and the sweet but dull "All That Matters" bring things to a sleepy halt -- but Knopfler fans and lovers of Chet Atkins, Gordon Lightfoot, and J.J. Cale, as well as late-night poker players and early risers with an acerbic streak, will find much to love here. [A version of Shangri-La containing a bonus DVD/DVA is also available.]
Rolling Stone - David Wild
1/2 Shangri-La shows that Knopfler still knows how to supersize his ambitions.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2004
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624885825
catalogNumber:
48858
Rank:
5735

Tracks

  1. 5:15 am
  2. Boom, Like That
  3. Sucker Row
  4. The Trawlerman's Song
  5. Back to Tupelo
  6. Our Shangri-La
  7. Everybody Pays
  8. Song for Sonny Liston
  9. Whoop De Doo
  10. Postcards from Paraguay
  11. All That Matters
  12. Stand Up Guy
  13. Donegan's Gone
  14. Don't Crash the Ambulance

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mark Knopfler   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,spanish guitar,Bottleneck Guitar,Fender Stratocaster,Fender Telecaster
Richard Bennett   Acoustic Guitar,Steel Guitar,tiple,Fender Stratocaster,Pensa-Suhr Custom
Jim Cox   Organ,Harmonica,Piano,Hammond Organ,Melodica
Chad Cromwell   Percussion,Drums
Guy Fletcher   Organ,Piano,Harmonium,Hammond Organ,Clavinet,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Paul Franklin   Pedal Steel Guitar
Glenn Worf   Bass,Upright Bass

Technical Credits

Guy Fletcher   Engineer
Mark Knopfler   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Chuck Ainlay   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Shangri-La 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shangri-La is a good album for those who are big Knopfler fans. Being a giant Dire Straits fan myself, I wouldn't consider this Knopflers best work, though the album is still very good. If I had to, I would classify this as a sort of Hawaiian Rock which has a unique sound. Over all this is a good album and I would recomend it to any Knopfler fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shangri-La is perhaps the SLOWEST Mark Knopfler album since leaving Dire Straits. Please bear in mind that I'm a HUGE MK fan. I'd pay money to see him clean chalkboards. He wouldn't even have to play guitar. Perhaps that is what he had in mind when sleeping his way through the tracks on this CD? MK has forgotten that he is an extraordinary Lead Guitarist and that is why we've been fans for so long. On Shangri-La, he does little more than MK noodlings-- the kind of thing that could be heard in the slower sections of any other MK CD. While I generally applaud Mark's fascination with American Roots music, he seems to have forgotten that he owns an amplifier and a herd of effects pedals. B&N's reviewer David Sprague says that this album rocks, "his most straightforwardly rocking effort since the singer-guitarist split from Dire Straits". It scares me how close to death the reviewer must have been to perceive that this album rocks. It does not. There is no powerful guitar as found on Sailing to Philadelphia. There is no drama as found on Screen Playing. There is only noodling, that dare I say it, I could probably play with a few hours of practice. Now that we've established that there is no rock here. Let's look at it in its proper place: Adult Easy Listening. This is a mellow CD, suitable for a quiet dinner with the spouse or long-time girlfriend. It is the perfect album to put on as you are trying to unwind from a busy day and don't mind if you pass out in the middle of track 7 and wake up with a puddle of drool on the liner notes. But make sure you have Sailing to Philadelphia in the changer behind this one or you might not wake up in time to go to work in the morning. "What it Is" rocks harder than any 6 songs on this CD combined. This CD rarely rises above the noise level of dinner conversation. All in all, if you are looking for a Slow Motion Mark Knopfler, this is your disc. It will grow on you after 4 or 5 listenings, but if you are longing for even a small taste of the Mark Knopfler you fell in love with in Dire Straits, perhaps you are better off spending your money elsewhere. Forewarned is Fore-Brothers-in-Armed
GHiller More than 1 year ago
Not very inspired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Mark Knopfler's best CD since Dire Straits. While it does lack the electric guitar fueled drive Dire Straits exhibited in "Money for Nothing" or "Heavy Fuel", "Shangri-la" does have a slick, cool blues infused sound reminiscent of Dire Straits' "Fade to Black" or "When It Comes to You." The whole CD is good, but a few tracks stand out such as "Don't Crash the Ambulance" (with probably the slickest sound coupled with Knopfler's sly, sardonic sense of humor), "Song for Sonny Liston","Boom, Like That", "Postcards from Paraguay", and "Everybody Pays."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago