Ride Across the River ~ Dire Straits

Dire Straits was a British rock band, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently managed by Ed Bicknell. Although the band was formed in an era when punk rock reigned, Dire Straits worked within the conventions of classic rock, albeit with a stripped-down sound that appealed to modern audiences weary of the overproduced stadium rock of the 1970s. In their early days, Mark and David requested that pub owners turn down the amps so that patrons could converse while the band played – indicative of their unassuming demeanor. Despite this oddly self-effacing approach to rock and roll, Dire Straits soon became hugely successful.

Dire Straits chose their name mainly due to the financial conditions the four band members were in at the time.

Ride Across the River

“Ride Across the River”, “The Man’s too Strong” and “Brothers in Arms” are lyrically focused on the guerrilla wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua of the 1980s. The title of the album was inspired by a conversation in which Knopfler’s father remarked, “We shouldn’t be at war with our brothers in arms.” This conversation is said to have taken place at the time of the Falklands War, though Mark Knopfler has denied the two have a direct link.

“Ride Across the River” is built on an off-beat rhythm. The song uses immersive Latin American rain forest imagery, accompanied by pan flute and eerie background noises, to allude to the elements of guerilla warfare.

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I’m a soldier of freedom in the army of man
We are the chosen, we’re the partisan
The cause it is noble and the cause it is just
We are ready to pay with our lives if we must

Gonna ride across the river deep and wide
Ride across the river to the other side

I’m a soldier of fortune, I’m a dog of war
And we don’t give a damn who the killing is for
It’s the same old story with a different name
Death or glory, it’s the killing game

Gonna ride across the river deep and wide
Ride across the river to the other side

Nothing gonna stop them as the day follows the night
Right becomes wrong, the left becomes the right
And they sing as they march with their flags unfurled
Today in the mountains, tomorrow the world

Gonna ride across the river deep and wide
Ride across the river to the other side

  • Audio from the 1985 album, Brothers in Arms:
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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