A-Z of Dead Man Singing: N

A-Z of Dead Man Singing: N

74 days ago

N is for ‘Now That I Am Dead’, an obscure song that I saw Richard Thompson perform back in 1990, and which inspired the entire story of Dead Man Singing, as I’ve already told this blog. Admittedly, it took me 30 years to even get the idea of the book from the song, but I got there in the end. The original version is on a hard-to-get album by French Frith Kaiser Thompson called Invisible Means, but you can find videos of Richard Thompson performing it on YouTube. Richard Thompson crops up intermittently in Dead Man Singing, a reflection of his status as Dave’s favourite guitarist (mine too).

N is also for the Notting Hillbillies, Mark Knopfler’s first foray away from Dire Straits (soundtracks and production work notwithstanding). Jaded from fronting the biggest band in the world, Knopfler hit the pause button and formed a fun country-rock combo with pre-fame guitarist friends Brendan Croker and Steve Phillips, plus Dire Straits keyboard player Guy Fletcher and manager Ed Bicknell on drums. Their album Missing… Presumed Having a Good Time was released in 1990 and plays a pivotal role in derailing Dave’s life in Dead Man Singing. Back in real life, the three guitarists each offer one original composition to the album, with the remainder given over to traditional country songs and covers from the likes of The Louvin Brothers, The Delmore Brothers and Charlie Rich (who may or may not have had a brother, but to the best of my knowledge never performed professionally with him). See my earlier post F is for… for more on one particular track from the Notting Hillbillies which has a profound impact on Dead Man Singing.

What are your favourite musical side-projects?

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