It took me ten years to realize how fantastic Mark’s debut solo album, Golden Heart, truly is.
That’s right: it took me ten years to realize that “Golden Heart” is an amazing solo debut album by Dire Straits’ frontman, Mark Knopfler, whose father left Hungary to escape the Nazis and whose wife, Kitty Aldridge, must be one hell of lady. He’s clearly found true love in her, and it shows. Hearts abound in this album, but so too do Cajun and Arcadian rhythms and musical styles. Plus, a song about a soldier in Napoleon’s grande armee, and one about a rabid German mega-fan named Rüdiger – with umlaut! How cool is that?
Well, most of this totally flew by me for years – and I have a Ph.D. in modern European history. It’s just that Mark is, well, a very intelligent, soulful, deep thinker who also happens to play guitar like a Rock ‘n Roll demigod. I mean, this was his debut solo album after Dire Straits stardom, so you just know he poured his heart and soul into this album. Now, years later, I get that. Perhaps turning 45 helped? Mark – a Leo – was born in 1949, so he was 47 when this album was released, so yes: maybe being older helps appreciate his awesomeness.
It’s not east to love this album. You need to know who Imelda Marcos was, and lots of other details that require brains as well as heart. It’s called “Golden Heart,” that’s true, but without brains as well, this album makes almost no sense.
Plus, Mark lets other musicians shine, not just himself. People who play Cajun, or Irish, or various traditions that normal rock and roll artists don’t pay much attention to. This album was a sign, I now realize, that Mark as a solo artist was going to reinvent the entire rock music genre. He was going to become a musicman of global importance without pretense. He and his darling Kitty were going to go on and make love and music for decades to come, and we as listeners get to savor the beauty. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Kitty. If either of you happen to be reading this Amazon review, please know that you are always welcome to visit with my wife and me in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We will make you a meal of local king salmon, garden tomatoes, heirloom polenta, and local white wine and finish with local single malt whisk(e)y and something sweet and delicious while the fireplace crackles with oak firewood and the rains from the Pacific tumble down on the cottage roof hidden amidst the redwoods. We can play your music, or maybe something else by Tracy Chapman or Mandolin Orange. Or Martha Scanlan – because we are as much Montanans and we are Golden State Bear Republicans. Interested? Check out my Yelp profile and message me, Mark. Or Kitty. Either way, we are sure to have a great time, I guarantee.