Mark Knopfler made a curious move this year, releasing an album of songs recorded in one take that had appeared on his most recent album, “Shangri-La.” The new disc, “One Take Radio Sessions” (Warners), is grittier than its companion disc, heavy on the signature guitar sound of the former Dire Straits leader. It’s that side of these songs Knopfler emphasized at the Greek.
He has an ace band behind to provide a firm footing, though they never are asked to step outside a support role. The show is all Knopfler and his slightly fuzzy, slightly Nashville, always tasty guitar style.
The songs on his solo albums don’t live up to his Dire Straits work; they are often wordy, pensive and laconic and lacking in melodic hooks. He has yet to click commercially as a solo artist.
Yet for all the faults of his material, Knopfler is an inventive and lyrical guitarist, one who can operate without any flashiness and generate excitement with smooth licks played by his thumb and forefinger.
He is very much in the position Carlos Santana found himself in 10 years ago — capable of drawing substantial auds, but not generating much interest for his new recordings.
Beyond the hits — “Sultans of Swing,” “Walk of Life” and other Straits tunes — the songs were strictly platforms for soloing.