Sailing to Philadelphia

Sailing to Philadelphia

by Mark Knopfler


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In the long history of British rockers mimicking the sounds of America's South (Rolling Stones, the Animals, Eric Clapton, etc.), no limeys whistled Dixie as convincingly as Dire Straits, who broke onto the American charts in 1978 singing the line "Way on down south." In that song, "Sultans of Swing," Straits' frontman Mark Knopfler may have been singing about London, but his bluesy honky-tonk inspiration clearly came from an ocean away. On only his second non-soundtrack solo album, Knopfler's muse is firmly planted on American soil -- as evidenced by tracks such as "Do America," "Sands of Nevada," "Prairie Wedding," and "Sailing to Philadelphia." On the title track, Knopfler plays Dixon to guest vocalist James Taylor's Mason, as the two turn the mundane history lesson of "drawing the line" into a poignant ballad. Speaking of guests, the mighty pipes of legendary Americaphile Van Morrison transform the laid-back "The Last Laugh" into an inspired spiritual, and Squeeze's Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook add a little vocal punch to the already punchy "Silvertown Blues." But for Straits' fans, the standout track is likely to be the infectious, "Sultans"-like hoedown rocker "What It Is," on which Knopfler's guitar-pickin' sounds more like fiddle-bowin'. Way on down south indeed.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/26/2000
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
UPC: 0093624775324
catalogNumber: 47753
Rank: 8435

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mark Knopfler   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Richard Bennett   Guitar,Strings
Jim Cox   Piano,Hammond Organ
Chad Cromwell   Drums
Danny Cummings   Percussion
Chris Difford   Vocals
Guy Fletcher   Keyboards,Vocals
Paul Franklin   Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Mike Haynes   Flugelhorn
Jim Hoke   Harmonica,Autoharp
Jim Horn   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Wayne Jackson   Trumpet
Van Morrison   Vocals
Frank Ricotti   Marimbas
Harvey Thompson   Tenor Saxophone
Glenn Tilbrook   Vocals
Chris Willis   Vocals
Glenn Worf   Bass
Aubrey Haynie   Violin
Duawne Starling   Vocals
Gillian Welch   Vocals

Technical Credits

James Taylor   Composer
Mark Knopfler   Composer,Producer
Chuck Ainlay   Producer,Engineer
Andrew Williams   Portrait Photography

Customer Reviews

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Sailing to Philadelphia 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great overall album. Although I don't like every track, the song ''What it is'' more than makes up for it. I hope that Mark Knopfler continues to dish out more albums like this. Good overall album for Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler fans. Reminds me of the good ol' days and mispent youth listening to Dire Straits!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a die-hard DS/MK fan and for some wierd reasons I did not get hold of this CD until after I came out of MK concert in LA. Knopfler has certainly shed a bit of his DS outlook to Music, as evident from the songs in this album. However, there are plenty of subtle guitar work, some running a few minutes at the end, that will keep the tunes ringing in your ear. As for myself, the song 'Prairie Wedding' stands out for the sheer majesty of MK's voice and his booming guitar. Moral - Listen carefully to enjoy a great compilation of soft Rock from a Master performer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is well thought out and executed. It tells a tale, I enjoy it very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There isn't a single track on this album that's going to make you want to hit the skip button. Knopfler hits top gear with the first track 'What it is', and stays there throughout. Van Morrison is as good as he ever was in 'The Last Laugh' and the jamming session at the end of 'Speedway at Nazareth' is what Knopfler should be all about; guitar and nothing but. All in all, as good a selection of songs as was ever assembled by the Dire Straits lead singer, and you would do well to buy a copy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's tough to be an aging rock and roller. At 44, you realize that rock is for kids, and the only rock you like is the tunes from when you were also young and stupid. Well, fifty-ish Mark Knopfler, with help from fellow seniors James Taylor & Van Morrison, has crafted a fine assembly of songs that cover many flavors of American music - blues, rock, jazz - but all with a dreamy and historical perspective that link them seamlessly. The MTV crowd won't get it. Not for cranking up in the car, this CD needs to be contemplated in a serene setting. Don't get me wrong - it's not Mantovani for boomers - but its subtleties merit close attention. There's a lot more beyond rock's bass, drums, & three chords. I never was a huge Knopfler fan, either; I thought too much of his music was written for the appreciation of other guitarists. Of course, either Taylor or Van Morrison could sing the phone book and I'd listen. Too old to rock and roll, too young to die? Then enjoy a rare piece of intelligent new music. (If you need to feel young by listening to hip new stuff, get Pink Pearl from Jill Sobule - fresh, clever, catchy stuff.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointing. I wanted his guitar and got folk songs. I should know better than to buy before listening. My fault.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Mark Knopfler will always be remembered as the front man of Dire Straits, even though his solo career has lasted longer and resulted in more albums. Sailing to Philadelphia may just be his best standalone effort. He gives his guitar freer reign than on some of his other discs and enlists guests that include James Taylor and Van Morrison. The result reminds me of Love Over Gold. The title track, a song about surveyors Mason and Dixon, deserves to sit alongside his classic Straits songs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I´m also a big Knopfler-fan. This album did not struck me directly, but now, after hearing it several times in my car during a long highway-trip, I thought : Yes, he did it again. This is a great album, just like Golden Heart was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After hearing the first track ''What It Is'', I was psyched to hear a Knopfler solo that harkened back to the ringing guitar I fell in love with Dire Straits for. Alas, that's the only track on this release that bears the resemblance. The bulk of the tunes are plodding, moody, and pretensious. Knopfler tries too hard to be the avant-garde musician-poet, and has lost the energy and swing that made him a star. Cameos by James Taylor and Van Morrison on two tracks add some life, but I find myself skipping track after track afterwards. If you're looking for a lot of music reminiscent of ''Follow Me Home'' from Communique there's plenty here, otherwise-zzzzzzzz
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mark Knopfler is a great songwritter, storyteller and great guitarist all combined into one, making him a craftsman of his art. A low key approach makes this album a superb piece of work for lovers of good fundemental music of the rock and folk genre mixture. Refreshing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago