Personnel includes: Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar); Richard Bennett (guitar); Paul Franklin (pedal steel); Glen Duncan (violin); Mike Henderson (harmonica); Jim Cox (piano, Hammond organ); Guy Fletcher (keyboards, background vocals); Glenn Worf (bass); Chad Cromwell (drums); Jimmy Nail, Tim Nealy (background vocals).
The low-key nature of Mark Knopfler's third solo album (discounting soundtracks) won't be a surprise to those who are familiar with its fine predecessor. The biggest change from SAILING TO PHILADELPHIA is the focus on traditional/roots styles. Throughout much of RAGPICKER's dream, Knopfler comes on like a one-man Harry Smith's Anthology, touching on folk, country, and blues. As often as not, however, he brings it closer to home with UK folk flavoring, as on the opening "Why Aye Man." He also displays more of a sense of humor here, on the old-timey "Quality Shoe" and the western swing number "Daddy's Gone to Knoxville."
The title track sounds like it could have come off the first Tom Waits album, and several cuts here wouldn't sound out of place on any given Richard Thompson recording. Though one of Knopfler's consistent faults remains his tendency to drag things on for too long, his husky, intimate singing is effectively understated and he shows a healthy disdain for guitar showmanship that's remarkable considering his prodigious six-string abilities. Slightly more downshifted and rootsy than PHILADELPHIA, RAGPICKER'S DREAM nonetheless serves as its worthy companion piece.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (11/14/02, p.88) - "...A picturesque collection of folksy, mostly acoustic vignettes that works its old-fashioned magic in mysterious ways....Oddly compelling..."
Q (10/02, p.110) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...This is pretty fine...rich arrangements more reminiscent of [his] soundtrack work..."
Mojo (Publisher) (10/02) - "...Nothing egocentric here. And there's always that majestic guitar's redemptive clarity."
- Why Aye Man
- Devil Baby
- Hill Farmer's Blues
- Place Where We Used To Live, A
- Quality Shoe
- Fare Thee Well Northumberland
- You Don't Know You're Born
- Ragpicker's Dream, The
- Daddy's Gone To Knoxville
- Old Pigweed