Angel of Mercy live in early 1979 – Mark Knopfler on slide guitar

Mark Knopfler never played that much bottle-neck guitar on his albums or concerts, nevertheless he occasionally did: except Water of Love from the first Dire Straits album of course, songs like The Man’s too strong (from Brothers in Arms), Do America (from Sailing to Philadelphia), Money for Nothing intro (live version 2001 tour), or Right now (All the roadrunning) come to mind. (I guess there are more, but before thinking about these for too long I will leave it to you to add these with the comment function below this article).

One song that was normally never played with a slide guitar is Angel of Mercy from Dire Straits’ Communiqué album (1979). However, the live version we have on some bootleg recordings from Germany, February 1979 features a slide lead guitar. On this tour Angel of Mercy was played as an encore, see more on this in this forum thread.

Mark Knopfler on slide guitar live in 1979

Before many will ask where they can hear this recording, I thought to write this article to include an audio clip. Enjoy:


Dire Straits, Angel of Mercy, Mannheim, Germany, February 14, 1979

Edit March 27: original text:
By the way, I have no idea which guitar he is playing here. Normally they had a black Fender Telecaster Thinline (from around 1969) tuned to open A on which Mark played Water of Love. So it would make sense that it is also the black Tele, as the Strats were setup for normal playing  with an action probably not suited for bottle-neck. On the other hand, Angel of Mercy does not call for an open tuning. I am afraid we will probably never know for sure 🙁

Update March 27:
If you read the comments to this article, you have probably seen the following picturs (thanks to Brunno):

Click to open enlarged in new tab at Getty Images

The description at Getty Images says that it was taken in Rotterdam, October 19, 1978 (like four other pictures , see also this article), but I think this picture one (and one other) are in fact from early 1979 (similar but not identical clothes, different guitar, Mark is wearing a neck lace, etc.). If so, this picture is the proof for a 12-string (a Burns Baldwin Double Six by the way) played with bottle-neck, and the song can be no other than Angel of Mercy.

6 thoughts on “Angel of Mercy live in early 1979 – Mark Knopfler on slide guitar

  1. Ingo, you’re so great ! 🙂
    Just a few minutes after I’ve asked for and here your are !

    I’m not sure about Do America, I guess it’s rather Paul Franklin on lap steel; as it’s credited on the booklet (UK version).

    About slide on others songs, I’ve thought for a long time that Mark played some on his national on Old Pigweed and In the heartland, but after seeing RB playing his lap-national (can wee spell it this way ?) on All that matters, I guess he did the same on these 2 songs.

    Of course, you’ve ommitted Donegan’s gone. I like very much the 2007 versions during the KTGC promotion tour, where he plays licks from “dark was the night” an old delta blues which inspired Ry Cooder for Paris,Texas.

    Mark should have played more bottle-neck. It fits very well with finger style.

    Slide on Angel of Mercy ! How can I believe it ?!
    What is great with you Ingo, is that by after all these years, I continue to discover new things about my fav band ! thank you so much ! 🙂

  2. Cool picture, thank you very much 🙂

    This picture seems to be from early 1979, the same clothes he had on some other gigs from February 1979 (e.g. Rockpalast)

    So he played slide on the 12-string !! Astonishing!

  3. In the studio version was certainly played with his red Fender Start.

    But what incredible to know that Mark Knopfler had this guitar in early 1979.

    It is interesting that in Rockpalast 79 if he had not played Sultans of Swing again at the end, there might be Angel of Mercy or Southbound Again, this way we would have at least one form of video of these wonderful songs. This is a sin! =/

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