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Mark Knopfler — Sailing to Philadelphia
Album: Sailing to Philadelphia
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1513









Released: 2000
Length: 5:17
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I am Jeremiah Dixon
I am a Geordie boy
A glass of wine with you, sir
And the ladies I'll enjoy
All Durham and Northumberland
Is measured up by my own hand
It was my fate from birth
To make my mark upon the earth...

He calls me Charlie Mason
A stargazer am I
It seems that I was born
To chart the evening sky
They'd cut me out for baking bread
But I had other dreams instead
This baker's boy from the west country
Would join the Royal Society...

We are sailing to Philadelphia
A world away from the coaly Tyne
Sailing to Philadelphia
To draw the line
The Mason-Dixon line

Now you're a good surveyor, Dixon
But I swear you'll make me mad
The West will kill us both
You gullible Geordie lad
You talk of liberty
How can America be free
A Geordie and a baker's boy
In the forest of the Iroquois...

Now hold your head up, Mason
See America lies there
The morning tide has raised
The capes of Delaware
Come up and feel the sun
A new morning is begun
Another day will make it clear
Why your stars should guide us here...

We are sailing to Philadelphia
A world away from the coaly Tyne
Sailing to Philadelphia
To draw the line
The Mason-Dixon line
Comments (293)add comment
 bam23 wrote:
Offhand, I cannot think of a similar modern example of a musical composition based on a complex and entrancing novel. Those with any interest in a novel that combines history, science, and their interplay through various cultural lenses should find the Pynchon novel Mason and Dixon, on which this song is loosely based, interesting. If not compelling. I have read it 3 times and may do it again if time permits. That is not the only reason I find this to be a really good piece of songwriting, but context always adds to the experience.

 
I need to check out that novel. Thanks for the reminder. {#Cheers}
 
This album is as good as anything Mark Knopfler ever did with Dire Straits, IMO.
Offhand, I cannot think of a similar modern example of a musical composition based on a complex and entrancing novel. Those with any interest in a novel that combines history, science, and their interplay through various cultural lenses should find the Pynchon novel Mason and Dixon, on which this song is loosely based, interesting. If not compelling. I have read it 3 times and may do it again if time permits. That is not the only reason I find this to be a really good piece of songwriting, but context always adds to the experience.
"Able assistance from James Taylor," yes, but also able assistance from the elusive Thomas Pynchon.
What?  WHAT!??!  JT juxtaposed against MK?  Now how is it I've missed this particular version?  Nicely done.  Thanks RP. 

Highlow
American Net'Zen
Equally beautiful live version  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTvc-bEP35I
 
 daveesh wrote:
does this count as yacht rock? 

 
I'd be fine with it.  Thanks for the additional mind-candy to apply this song.
does this count as yacht rock? 
 slawjam wrote:
What a treasure Mark Knopfler is.

 
indeed {#Good-vibes}
What a treasure Mark Knopfler is.
Just plain good.
this gives me chills-so beautiful!
Classic song... Required listening for all up and coming songwriters. 


what a great song. Love Knopfler's voice and love James Taylor. <sigh> heaven </sigh>
 MotorSkills wrote:
There seems to be an awful lot of Mark Knopfler on this station. What's up?

 

He's the best and surrounds himself with other greats. This is one of the main reasons I come to RP - consistent quality and surprises.
 MotorSkills wrote:
There seems to be an awful lot of Mark Knopfler on this station. What's up?

 
I don't get tired of hearing Mark and his sweet guitar.  Big bonus with James Taylor on this one.
 MotorSkills wrote:
There seems to be an awful lot of Mark Knopfler on this station. What's up?
 
What's up is that his music is wonderful.
There seems to be an awful lot of Mark Knopfler on this station. What's up?
Love songs that tell a story, one based on a somewhat obscure bit of colonial-era historical trivia no less!
 ingrizek wrote:
second on that. great stories, on a par with The Boss

 
Leaving the Boss lightyears behind!
Wonderful song sung by 2 great guys. 10 out of 10 from me.
second on that. great stories, on a par with The Boss
MK does such great storytelling...

This is a calm, laid back ballad but contains the sense of the excitement one gets on the deck of ship heading to new places.

Nice complementarity between the co-vocalists.


Good Music
That's Charlie work! 

WonderLizard wrote:
I hear it's always sunny in Philedelphia.

In Philly they boo the Easter Bunny.
 

BOR-RING
 boober wrote:
I hear it's always sunny in Philedelphia. 

In Philly they boo the Easter Bunny.
Never particularly been a Knopfler fan but this track pleases me in inexplicable ways. Perhaps it's JT's sweet tone juxtaposed with MK's Geordie burr. Somehow it all works.
"I was a highwayman. Along the coach roads I did ride."
 clydes wrote:

Yes, they have. You were listening to it :-)
 
Thanks clydes I thought it was a duet ... great sound they produce together.


I would give this a big ZERO if I could.   JT on RP?  Yuk!!!!!
 Toke wrote:
As a suggestion would this track not make a gret duet with James Taylor... or have they already cut one ??
 
Yes, they have. You were listening to it :-)
As a suggestion would this track not make a gret duet with James Taylor... or have they already cut one ??
 jwkoda wrote:
JT's vocals on this track make Knopler's voice sound so limited.
 
Anal tentivity is a problem for many.

IMHO Knopfler's conversational voice transcends JT's tonal range.  Pavarotti could sing the MK part and the song would be far worse.  Technical ability is such a small part of an emotional connection.
Always Fantastic.....forever....
JT's vocals on this track make Knopler's voice sound so limited.
Fantastic music and a history lesson for us Old World people - what is there not to like? 10.

Ahh so soothing after that nervous piece of crap by David Byrne and Brian Eno....
 Pieter wrote:
Could be a bit more challenging.
 
About as thrilling as James Taylor. (But don't get me wrong, MK has done some great stuff.)

tipper wrote: I really dont understand this love affair with Mark Knopfler. Yes he can play. Okay, it's a pleasant enough guitar sound for an album maybe, but the song writing is distinctly average.

 
sirdroseph wrote:

You obviously have not listened to the album Brothers in Arms in its entirety.{#No}
 

Or Love over Gold....Telegraph Road is one of my favs
 tipper wrote:
I really dont understand this love affair with Mark Knopfler. Yes he can play. Okay, it's a pleasant enough guitar sound for an album maybe, but the song writing is distinctly average.
 
You obviously have not listened to the album Brothers in Arms in its entirety.{#No}
 fredriley wrote:

Why should a song be "challenging"? He's telling a story, not trying to give the listener grief. If "challenging" were a good thing in music then Stockhausen would be top of the pops.
 

Good riposte!
Sweet tune!{#Yes}
 calypsus_1 wrote:

Mark Knopfler by ~Akeyzerr
Angel Toporchev

Mark Knopfler Live in Sofia,
Kill to Get Crimson Tour.


 
Nice!

I love it when lyrics are used for a different theme than just plain old love songs.  That, combined with the nice laid back feel of this song makes me vote for excellent! {#Yes}

Mark Knopfler by ~Akeyzerr
Angel Toporchev

Mark Knopfler Live in Sofia,
Kill to Get Crimson Tour.




Such a "sweet" method of story telling. Music has always been a media for
history and M.K. does it as well as anyone.

I really dont understand this love affair with Mark Knopfler. Yes he can play. Okay, it's a pleasant enough guitar sound for an album maybe, but the song writing is distinctly average.
Great Thomas Pynchon Novel... Mason & Dixon
He did an encore when he played here. 4 songs, one of which I think was Telegraph Road. I was happy!
 Stingray wrote:

PS
Question: does anybody know why Knopfler never returns to stage for a few extra songs
(sorry, don't know how this is called in English), once the concert is over?
Seems to be quite arrogant! Saw him 3 times - he NEVER did! Not even in Moscow,
where the crowd was soooo hungry for more! RIDICULOUS!


 

You mean an encore i think?

Saw him 4 times (1 in Rotterdam, 3 in Amsterdam), once a "private" concert of about 200 attendants... But every time he gave an encore of 2 and once 3 songs... So that's weird....

He's not arrogant i think, he's just really silent and peaceful... I love his style, though i have to agree, a couple more thank you's wouldn't be too much now and again... {#Yes}

As for this song: 7 —-> 8

 Pieter wrote:
Could be a bit more challenging.
 
Why should a song be "challenging"? He's telling a story, not trying to give the listener grief. If "challenging" were a good thing in music then Stockhausen would be top of the pops.


Right up there with the " Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald" and as I am writing this on it comes........ perfect!
this is an iconic song....like most of Mr Knopler's work - the man's a genius
 boober wrote:
I hear it's always sunny in Philedelphia.
My son was GREEN MAN for Halloween.Hilarious.
 

I live (on) "green" every day...!

 AdyMiles wrote:
boring background music - not too bad for low level in a restaurant
 

What is wrong in Wolverhampton? Since you're no longer in the "PL" your world
seems to be upside down!

Restaurant-music? Boring?

You must be wild!

Certainly an 8 - without question!

PS
Question: does anybody know why Knopfler never returns to stage for a few extra songs
(sorry, don't know how this is called in English), once the concert is over?
Seems to be quite arrogant! Saw him 3 times - he NEVER did! Not even in Moscow,
where the crowd was soooo hungry for more! RIDICULOUS!


I hear it's always sunny in Philedelphia.
My son was GREEN MAN for Halloween.Hilarious.
boring background music - not too bad for low level in a restaurant
This whole album deserves at least an 8..
I am jeremiah dixon
jeremiah dixon
I am a geordie boy
Does anyone listen to the words?
How many popular songs convey this kind of historical story telling?
Man.
hey Bill! What a nice rotation this morning! Sitting in the late summer sun and hear all this incredible tunes! Thank you RP!!
 Jungle_Jim wrote:
That guitar solo was so predictable I knew what note he was going to do next. Punk never happened for old Mark did it.
 
Really, are you a musician/guitar player? If you already had this solo in your mind you should be. I think you are right punk never happened for Mark. I am not disappointed and have enjoyed his post Dire Straits projects

Sailing?  bad choice of cover photo Mark.   Really nice song though.


mr. james taylor vocals, no comment *7*
That guitar solo was so predictable I knew what note he was going to do next. Punk never happened for old Mark did it.
Yes, see his last album. calypsus_1 wrote:


Mark Knopfler Showing his magic on an acoustic guitar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_7feGF9TA8


 


Could be a bit more challenging.
It's got that soothing dentist office sound.
Tremendous Artist and a Top Notch CD from start to finish - wait till the transition to the wreck of the Edmun.......
At times it sounds like Mark and James Taylor together.............. In JT's studio {#Frown}
Has a certain "Kumbaya, my Lord" feel to it...
 matz wrote:
well... my wife always understands "AMAZING DICKS IN LINE..."

;-) Great Song really... 
 
Thanks. No amount of mental floss will remove this image whenever I hear this one now.

I thought this was james taylor. I have my volume on low...I was all "holy crap, is Bill actually playing james taylor? Sweet!"



 bobcat1963 wrote:
gaap

ik val in slaap
 
not a big fan of it either {#Sleep}
Insipid

Good enough.... but needs a minor key change and a tempo shift or bit of arrangment to liven it up.
(Like I've ever written a song....)


well... my wife always understands "AMAZING DICKS IN LINE..."

;-) Great Song really... 
 highwindows wrote:
Oh dear Mark. This is muzak isn't it?
 

Couldn't be further from it......................
gaap

ik val in slaap
I love MK and I love JT, but this, not so much.  "Sailing to Philadelphia," on a Carnival Cruise Line . . .

Either this is playing on a slow speed or Mark and James are on downers.
This is actually a good account of the trials Mason and Dixon faced surveying the PA - MD border wayyyyyyyy back when. Local indigenous problems caused that crazy zig-zag out near what is now the West Virginia border.
This is quite beautiful....
These guys should duo more often. This song is beautiful. {#Meditate}

What a lovely slice of history and storytelling.
one think about Knopfler with dire straits or anybody else he never overplays the guitar uses every note and James is perfect with him great song
The guitar genius and the bard...nice combination.
Love it!  Man, can Mark play guitar - and tell a story.
 copymonkey wrote:


..my attempt at a joke (obviously failed) as previous poster had  mentioned Simon Garfunkel. HAHAHAHAHAHAaaa—-ahem.
 
I got it copymonkey! I've been laughing for the past five minutes and was tempted to add "Hallan Oates?"
 phillips wrote:
oh, man, i love this song. 
 
It's a very pretty song. Always peaceful to me.

 arserocket wrote:
Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon is worth a look
 

That's the book MK credits as the inspiration for this number.

Squirreley wrote:
I thought it was James Taylor and it was. Although I couldn't find that anywhere in the song credits. Really nice combination.
 
Yes!  Great combo!

oh, man, i love this song.  james taylor's voice always calms me down.{#Meditate}

tkosh
Posted: Nov 26, 2008 - 18:14 < Reply >

 Squirreley wrote: I thought it was James Taylor and it was. Although I couldn't find that anywhere in the song credits. Really nice combination.
 

I though it was James Taylor, too.  Are you sure it is? 

It's definitely JT and he is credited in the CD liner notes.
 TimeWaster wrote:

Seals & Crofts?
 

..my attempt at a joke (obviously failed) as previous poster had  mentioned Simon Garfunkel. HAHAHAHAHAHAaaa—-ahem.
tkosh wrote:


I though it was James Taylor, too.  Are you sure it is? 
 

Definitely James Taylor.  Nobody's got a voice as smooth as he does.  Wonderful!

 Papernapkin wrote:
Sappy. Crappy.
 
Snappy.  Happy.

 Papernapkin wrote:
Sappy. Crappy.
 

You really need to consider getting a heart and soul.
 Squirreley wrote:
I thought it was James Taylor and it was. Although I couldn't find that anywhere in the song credits. Really nice combination.
 

I though it was James Taylor, too.  Are you sure it is? 
 copymonkey wrote:


Funny, I thought it was Sealson Crofts.
 
Seals & Crofts?
Time to read some Pynchon for context...
Knopfler is one of my favorite artists - unique and recognizable whatever he does.
This is nice. Very pleasant listening.
A good song that, sadly, does not stand up well to repeated play.

 baltimorelovejoy wrote:
Simon Garfunkel singing in there?
 

Funny, I thought it was Sealson Crofts.
 silverghost57 wrote:

No James Taylor

 
Their voices duet very nicely.

 baltimorelovejoy wrote:
Simon Garfunkel singing in there?
 
"I Garfunkled your mother Trebek"

They are very boring!


sublime
This is a great song from a great album! Excellent guest artists including Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris and James Taylor; of course.
 baltimorelovejoy wrote:
Simon Garfunkel singing in there?
 
No James Taylor

Simon Garfunkel singing in there?
 snowcat wrote:
Screw the general opinion. This is stunning.
 
At 7.8 general opinion ain't so bad. Just a bunch of people bitchin' in the comments. This is incredibly beautiful music.
snowcat wrote:
Screw the general opinion. This is stunning.
Agree, they are fabulous story tellers.
Screw the general opinion. This is stunning.
wow two great artists that are more than capable of doing better
Sappy. Crappy.
philbertr wrote:
Thanks for the request! I love that song and its been years since I've heard it!
Oh criminy... Thanks a LOT! Bill is evil. :grumpy: