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Lucas Cooper
Lucas Cooper

Sting- Love Is Stronger Than Justice- Complete Chicago Sessions ((HOT))



Liner NotesAfter the downbeat tones of 1991's 'The Soul Cages' album, it was typical of Sting to bounce back in 1993 with what many critics considered to be his most light hearted and upbeat album of his career, 'Ten Summoner's Tales'. Speaking to Billboard magazine at the time of its release he said, "I think a lot of ghosts were exorcised on my previous record, which was very personal, confessional, and therapeutic in terms of facing death and loss. But I guess you could say the therapy worked, because now I have a new sense of freedom, a desire to move on and make songs solely intended as entertainments, designed to amuse."There was a clue to the nature of the record in its punning title - Summoner/Sumner - and in interviews Sting was quick to point out that the record was meant to be a fun collection of tales and stories. "You're supposed to have a smile on your face - or I do, anyway - after you hear this record," he said.Sting often compared the record to Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' (in which there is a 'Summoner's Tale'). "The stories in 'The Canterbury Tales' are romantic, bawdy, funny, sad, and the characters tell them in different styles. I think my record is a lot like that. It's a mixed bag of character sketches connected only by the journey it took to complete them, meaning that for the first time in my solo work the songs are simply a record of my labours over a particular period."What was particularly remarkable about 'Ten Summoner's Tales' was the diversity of stories and styles contained across its twelve tracks. From the outstanding opening 'prologue' track of 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You' which was accompanied by a highly memorable video and won a Grammy for 'Best Male Pop Vocal Performance' to the final 'epilogue' of 'Nothing 'Bout Me' in which Sting disses the attempts of those amateur psychologists who analyse him and his work, the album lives up to his own description of being a 'rag-bag' of styles. Funny stories, rude stories, romantic stories, dark stories - the album included the lot.The album included three songs which have been regulars in the live set ever since - the aforementioned 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', 'Seven Days' and the gorgeous 'Fields Of Gold'. All were released as singles as was 'Shape Of My Heart' which Sting co-wrote with Dominic Miller.The album was recorded using Sting's new Steerpike SSL Portable Studio studio, which was set up at Lake House, his 400 years old Wiltshire home. He explained, "I really don't like studios much, I find them prison-like environments where you don't breathe the air or see the sunlight for months on end so I decided I'd make the record at home. So I moved everybody out of the dining room and moved the equipment in, and the band and the instruments, my producer and engineers and we made a record at home in the dining room. The kitchen is right next door so we had the nice smell of food going for most of the day, and we could walk out in the garden and open the windows and just live a real life instead of the fake environment that the studio gives you. The system is as comprehensive and up-to-date as any and there were no technical disadvantages as far as the recording went. Everything was done in the same room as the desk, and although the drums were a little loud, everyone felt very connected, both to the project and to each other. Communicating ideas between musicians and engineers was easy. The whole process was very enjoyable, and this is reflected in the music, which is surprisingly happy. It just made us happier basically."A very interesting companion piece to album is the video of the recording sessions which won a Grammy award in 1994 for "Best Long Form Video Of The Year". This has slightly different versions of the songs to those that appeared on the album, and all the album tracks are featured apart from 'Everybody Laughed But You' (which was omitted from the US release of album). The video is particularly interesting not just for the live nature of the tracks but for the between song clips of Lake House and it's grounds, the band, and arguably the most interesting clip - the band performing 'Something The Boy Said', a terrific song which, sadly, has not been performed on stage.Review from Rolling Stone magazine by Anthony DeCurtisSting's new album 'Ten Summoner's Tales', strikes the tricky balance of being both uncompromised and relaxed. Less serious overall than his previous solo outings (despite its title, Tales contains eleven tracks, which should tell you something), it neither chases trends, attempts to break new ground nor strains for Major Statements. Its ambitions are modest - to entertain you, of all things - and for that reason, its successes are all the more pleasing.Of course, with Sting, humility is a relative thing. The album's title, for example, alludes to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, one of the great monuments of the English literary tradition. There is a twist, however. The prototypical bearers of bad news, summoners were uniformly hated because their job was to "summon" people to court for ecclesiastical or civil crimes, including moral violations like adultery or fornication.Summoners were greatly feared and highly susceptible to bribes - greasing the summoner was a most effective way to avoid trouble. Sumner, Sting's surname, derives from the word. Identifying with the summoner is a deft way for Sting to get some distance from his do-gooder image while sustaining the resonance of his larger social concerns.The summoner is one of the more grotesque portraits in 'The Canterbury Tales', so ugly that "children were afraid when he appeared." Still he's just one among many rascals in Chaucer's human comedy, another pilgrim travelling to Canterbury on a spiritual quest.Like Chaucer's, Gordon Sumner's eleven tales are populated by a too live and all too human crew. The anarchic tendency of sex to rear its lovely head and confound more high-minded or rational motivations is one of Tales' recurring motifs. Seven brothers battle for a single bride in 'Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)', a loopy narrative spun out over an arrangement that might be best described as country jazz. In 'Seven Days' a hesitant David prepares to battle the Goliath his girlfriend identifies as his rival; so worshipfully love addled is this "mighty flea" that Sting croons a verse from 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' as the song fades out. Erotic torment (or is it bliss) grips a man who falls in lust with his best friend's girl in 'Saint Augustine In Hell' - a hell that in a perfect Sting touch proudly numbers music critics among its inhabitants.Produced by Sting and Hugh Padgham, 'Tales' is loose and swinging; the joy in the playing is palpable. Backing Sting, who plays bass is the lean, versatile outfit - Dominic Miller on guitar, David Sancious on keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums - that he took on the road after 'The Soul Cages' came out in 1991. Strings, horns, Northumbrian pipes, harmonicas and other instruments turn up on an as needed basis, and the band ranges gracefully over musical styles. And however light-hearted much of the material may be Sting's compositional flair is much in evidence. Choruses, bridges, instrumental breaks and codas routinely take songs in unexpected directions. Smoky and shaded even in its most direct expressions, Sting's singing is, as always, superb, a virtual study in intelligent rock-vocal technique.Musically varied as 'Tales' is, a number of tracks draw on Sting's established strengths. One of the album's more heartfelt songs, 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' rises to a gorgeous, ringing chorus over a delicate probing guitar figure 'Shape of My Heart' uses a gambling conceit to explore "the sacred geometry of chance" and the elusiveness of emotional self knowledge. And 'It's Probably Me' is a classic Sting ballad: moody brooding, vaguely sinister, troubled and seductive.Never one to miss an opportunity to stick in the shiv, Sting ends 'Ten Summoners Tales' with a taunt. 'Epilogue (Nothing'Bout Me)' chides his critics for trying to freeze him in their notions about his life: "Run my name through your computer/Mention me in passing to your college tutor/Check my records, check my facts/Check if I paid my income tax/Pore over everything in my CV/But you'll still know nothin' 'bout me."'Ten Summoner's Tales' doesn't really tell us nothing about Sting, though. Throughout the album he slips into and out of the various identities - pop pinup, jazzbo, seriouso activist - that he has previously assumed or had thrust upon him, without committing finally to any of them. It's a masterful dance that leaves the crowd dazzled and distracted as the dancing master sneaks away, the artistic slate swept clean, all options open for the future.




Sting- Love is Stronger than Justice- Complete Chicago Sessions



Review from The Buffalo News by Anthony ViolantiSting was drowning in angst on his last album, 'Soul Cages'. It was a musical form of psychotherapy, and about as much fun to listen to as the Oprah Winfrey-Michael Jackson TV interview.But now Sting is back with a fresh, invigorating record filled with a smorgasbord of sounds and rhythms, and bursting with creativity. It reflects his new attitude."I'm feeling good about myself and my work," he said recently. "This is the happiest I've been in a long time." That joyful spirit shows on the new record, which is reminiscent of Sting's work with the Police. In some ways, it is even better."It's a pop record in the truest sense," Sting said in a press statement for the 'Ten Summoner's Tales' album. "I felt it was important that it not be confessional, autobiographical or therapeutic."The opening cut, 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You', resonates with the eccentric funkiness of the Police. The beat builds as Sting sings: "You could say that I lost my faith in science and progress/You could say that I lost my belief in the holy church.../If I ever lose my faith in you/There'd be nothing left for me to do."The second song, 'Love Is Stronger Than Justice', is one of the best of Sting's career. The music starts to an R & B groove as he offers a silky rap, and then he unexpectedly goes into a country twang: "Love is stronger than justice/Love is thicker than blood/Love is stronger than justice/Love is a big fat river in blood."Sting tops that effort with a mournful, stirring love song called 'Fields of Gold'. An organ and a slow drumbeat add to the power of the song and Sting exposes a wounded heart as he sings: "You'll remember me when the west wind moves/Upon the fields of barley/You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky/As we walk in fields of gold."'Ten Summoner's Tales' is filled with remarkable work. The title is based on a character from Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales." Sting said he was attracted to that Chaucer tale because "it was a very rude story about priests.""Summoner" is also close to Sting's real last name, Sumner. Sting is backed by a band that includes former Pretender Dominic Miller on guitar, David Sancious on keyboards (played with Peter Gabriel) and Vinnie Colaiuta (played with Frank Zappa) on drums. They seem comfortable in whatever musical direction Sting takes them. 'Seven Days' is a song with a reggae beat that unexpectedly turns into a Broadway show tune; the melancholy 'It's Probably Me', deals with friendship and solitude.'Heavy Cloud No Rain' is laced with funk, in contrast to the folky 'Something the Boy Said'. 'She's Too Good for Me' ranges from a rock 'n' roll rage to a soft ballad, with Sting's hyperkinetic vocals kicking the song into high gear. Sting takes a turn at dark humor in 'St. Augustine in Hell'. "It's about the tension of wanting to be good and yet being tempted - and just enjoying the temptation," he has explained.At one point, a voice that supposedly is the devil explains that hell is filled "with ...judges, accountants... music critics... they're all here, you're not alone." Sting gets a kick out of such lines, and humor is one of the elements that makes this album so enjoyable."There are lots of musical jokes on this record," Sting said. "I'm learning to relax in my life, but I hope I never lose the tension in my work. Without tension there's no spring."There is plenty of spring - and provocative music - in Sting's new album. 041b061a72


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