Today I was just sitting around and playing bits and pieces of Setting me up from the first Dire Straits album. As the camera and recording gear was still in place from the last video, I spontanously decided to film a short sequence.
It is not really a performance of the song in the sense of playing the right pieces in the proper order but rather some jamming with myself within the groove of the song. In such a situation I usually play a mix of original licks from both the studio version and numerous live versions which I have somewhere in my head, plus some improvisation, so it is not an authentic version of the original. Still there are many riffs you will recognize from the record and might be interested to see how I play them.
The guitar is my 1983 Squier Strat from the first Japanese vintage series. These are really great guitars with a nice sound. Unfortunately they are getting rare, especially the fiesta red ones, and prices have started to rise considerably.
I did not use an amp but played into a portable PCM recorder, and added some basic effects (reverb, compression, dealy… plus some slight phasing) in the recording software. This approach is just for convenience, as I don’t have to mess around this way with the amp settings, mic positions etc.
I think I wrote a blog post about Albert Lee’s cover of Setting me up from the first Dire Straits album before (see here). Today I surfed into this video clip on youtube which I really like a lot. It is a bit on the slow side, much slower than e.g. Albert’s live version that was featured on Eric Clapton’s Just one Night live album. It seems the older you get the slower you play but with more emphasis on the groove and on details. Reminds me on Mark’s recent versions of Telegraph Road which is also much slower these days but so rich of new details and has such a nice flowing feel.
Albert Lee, originally one of THE Telecaster heroes, switched to a Music Man signature model a long time ago. Speaking of Music Man, just like Mark Albert played Music Man amps – often a 4×10 combo – in the late 70ies and early 80ies. On this clip we hear him over a Fender amp, seems to be a Tone Master.
While Mark used to play Setting me up in an open A tuning (some years later he changed to standard tuning) , Albert always played it in standard tuning and in the key of D (the Dire Straits version is A).
Many Mark Knopfler fans like Eric Clapton and are familiar with his work. Especially his live album Just one Night from 1979 was a milestone in his career. It features a live version of Setting my up – a Mark Knopfler song from Dire Straits’ first CD. However, many do not realize that this cover version has not much to do with Eric Clapton. Instead this song was meant to feature Albert Lee who plays the second guitar on this tour. He had just recorded Setting me up in the studio for his solo album Hiding (1979). In a similar way Mark Knopfler played one of his songs – Money for Nothing – when he went on tour with Clapton in the late 80ies.
The album Hiding was not available on CD until a few year ago when it was reissued. It is a well-produced album with about 20 laid-back country-rock songs, something many Mark Knopfler fans will probably like.
Albert Lee is a fantastic guitarist of course. He is one of the ultimate Telecaster players (although today he plays his Music Man signature model a lot). He perfected the pick-plus-two-fingers approach, a bit similar to Richard Thompson‘s picking technique.
Here is a short sample of this studio version of Setting me up by Albert Lee (from my vinyl):
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