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Mark Knopfler isn't afraid to drop names. The heavyweight Cassius Clay laid low, the man who made burgers and fries into big business, the kings of rock & roll and skiffle are among the motley assortment who pass through Knopfler's fourth solo album. Recorded in Malibu with a tight crew of steadfast Knopfler sidemen,Shangri-La(the title comes from the studio where the entire set was recorded) chronicles the foibles of the acclaimed and the adrift, all delivered with the nonchalant grace that has marked Knopfler's music sinceDire Straitsemerged in the late '70s. Seven of album's 14 originals clock in at between five and seven minutes. That's Knopfler in a nutshell--don't rush things, but don't loose the thread, either. As a songwriter, Knopfler has a storyteller's eye for minutiae, which he delivers with practiced nuance. He overreaches here and there ("Song for Sonny Liston" fails to capture the pathos of the menacing fighter), but also pulls off a few career highlights (the understated crime-drama opener "5.15 a.m.").--Steve Stolder
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Label:  WEA, Reprise
ArtistMark Knopfler
Release Date:  September 28, 2004
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review by . February 12, 2005
posted in Music Matters
Like many of the other reviewers, I admire Mark Knophler as a talented guitar player and songwriter. Over the years, I have learned to appreciate that his vocal style fits in well with his music.    On his recent Shangri La CD, Mark shows hints of his guitar brilliance and writes some interesting lyrics here and there. Also, the atmosphere is quite captivating as it was on previous recordings. However, the songs themselves are way too sluggish with barely a trace of energy. In …
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