Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dire Straits - Twisting by the Pool (1983)

Released:  January 10, 1983 (Warner Bros.)
Produced by: Mark Knopfler
Peak on the US Billboard 200: 53

Side One Side Two
Twisting by the Pool
Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts
Two Young Lovers
If I Had You

 Charted single: Rock
 Twisting by the Pool 12

An upbeat collection of retro '50s-type rock'n'roll songs from Mark Knopfler and the gang.  Other than the fantastic song Industrial Disease, I didn't care much for the band's 1982 Love Over Gold album, so I probably wouldn't have purchased this EP if I hadn't heard the single Twisting By The Pool (I probably saw the video on MTV).  In 1983, I wouldn't have been caught listening to poseurs like Stray Cats, but I had no problems championing this EP of rockabilly music.  Go figure.  The best defense I have is the fact that I was a knuckleheaded teenager.  I mostly listen to Side 1, but those two songs are strong enough raise the rating from a C to a B.  Still, if I ever had a poolside dance party, these songs would be on the playlist.

The song Twisting By The Pool has been included in a greatest hits package, but the remaining songs are unavailable digitally (for now, let's hope).

I loved the couple dancing graphic on the front cover of the record sleeve. I must have drawn that image on countless text book covers in 1983.  There's a debate on whether the title of the record is "Twisting By The Pool" or "ExtendeDancEPlay." Neither is listed on the label.  My decision to go with the former is based solely on what appears on the spine of the EP cover:

  • Twisting by the Pool:  a fun, blues-based rocker with great piano contributions from Alan Clark and a nice rockabilly solo from Knopfler.  Two false endings and an extra bridge add to the fun of this one.
  • Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts:  Knopfler does his best Les Paul imitation and completely pulls it off.  More great work from Clark and swingin' drums from Pick Withers.

  • Two Young Lovers:  To me, this sounds like a song that wasn't good enough to make the soundtrack of the movie version of Grease.  Maybe they were going for that sock hop sound, but there's nothing here to really hook you.
  • If I Had You: this cut sounds more like a typical Dire Straits song than the others, maybe because that's because it sounds a lot like Sultans Of Swing.

  1. Twisting by the Pool
  2. Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts
  3. If I Had You
  4. Two Young Lovers


  1. This one was a Summertime "must play" around the back in 1983 and 1984. (And I still drag it out every Spring to soundtrack my seasonal pool maintenance.) Don't recall ever seeing the video so I clicked over for that but it was kind of lame. Since Summer is over here at The Hideaway, I dug out and played Love Over Gold. Which led me to dig out the first album and then Making Movies and finally Brothers In Arms. It looks like I'm having a Dire Straits listening party tonight!

    And what is all this bloody rubbish about Stray Cats being poseurs? (I couldn't tell if you were serious or not.) All I know is when I first saw them on TV, I was ENTHRALLED. It was Friday, October 16, 1981 on ABC's Fridays. (It would almost be another 12 months before Brian and the boys would appear on American Bandstand.) When The Best Of Fridays DVD was released this past August, someone had the sense to put that episode in the mix albeit with one of the three performances ("Runaway Boys") cut. I also remember I didn't have the fundage to purchase the Stray Cats album (which had the three songs they performed) the next week because it was an Import and was twice as expensive as "regular" albums but, within three months, I found a used copy at Al Bum's for $3.99 - the guy behind the counter (Al? Mr. Bum? Pretty sure he was the owner) said something like he was glad to "get that sh*t outta here" and told me to go pick any album from the 99 cent bin as he was throwing it in for free. Score!

    Just pulled up videos on YouTube (search "StrayCats on Fridays" to find 12 minute vid of their four?! songs that night) and there is still some incredible energy there. Now I need to go try to recreate that first album's playlist on Spotify or iTunes.

  2. Here is my own review of this EP over on my blog Martin's View.

    1. I thought you had covered this one, Martin. Good show, old bean. CoryQ's comment ran longer than your review - the man obviously loves him some Knopfler.

      BTW in my post above it should have read:
      This one was a Summertime "must play" around the pool back in 1983 and 1984.