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Ten Summoner's Tales

155 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 9, 1993
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Product Description

The former jazzman-turned-punk is now more middle-of-the-road than a yellow stripe. But Ten Summoner's Tales is by far the most engaging of his solo records. The singles "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" and "Fields of Gold" prove the man can lighten up long enough to go deep. "She's Too Good For Me" would have been a good Police single if it weren't for the pseudo-classical midsection that takes its joke far too seriously. Still, you wish he would loosen up and enjoy the rock once in a while. --Robert Wilonsky
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 9, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B000005IL1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,902 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jeff on December 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Those who didn't understand Sting's departure from the Police may finally get it when they listen to this album. Ten Summoner's Tales is an amazing compilation of 11 songs that really push boundaries with his musicianship while staying true to his excellent songwriting. The songs included on this album are both immerse and expansive, serious and funny and packed with melodies. While its message isn't as deep as his past albums, it shines in its authenticity, surely the best material he's ever played.
To draw you in the first song is the well-known pop song, "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You." It has an addictive groove and multiple layers of sounds and melodies. In that same vein is the other guaranteed hit, "Fields of Gold." Surely this song, in its somber mood and loving lyrics is more than just a pop song but a recalled memory of love. Something even the music video hit dead-on.
If you were scared of Sting's poly-rhythms in his other albums, you'll be terrified of this album. And too bad, some of Sting's best work is with the following three songs. He uses 7/4 scale before going into cowboy bebop in "Love is Stronger than Justice (The Munificent Seven)." The storytelling here is a simple but amusing story of seven desperados as they rescue a town and fight each other for the girl. 5/2 scale is heard in "Seven Days." The musicianship is worth high praise as mandolin and violins texture this song in its weird rhythm, making the 5 beats sound normal after the first chorus. Saint Augustine in Hell is the last of poly-beats, taking a 7/4 beat again. This song is a bit awkward, but a humorous romp with its tale of one guy's descent to Hell.
Sting's sense of storytelling is exercised in songs like "Love is Stronger...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jack Fitzgerald VINE VOICE on July 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Where "The Soul Cages" was dark and introspective, "Ten Summoner's Tales" shows Sting returning to a lighter mood, with plenty of wry humor and jazz musical touches.
The cover speaks volumes, with Sting juxtaposed toward a horse's you-know-what and the wordplay of "Ten Summoner's Tales" working on multiple levels, a) reminiscent of Chaucer, b) there are actually 11 songs, c) Sting's real name is Gordon Sumners (sp?).
Also, the photos are in bright yellows and golds and taken in an old church, cathedral or abbey, so Sting is in a different spiritual place than "Soul Cages."
"If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" could be spoken to many listeners. It could be faith in God, a lover, a friend, or humanity. It has a steady instrumental groove, nice melodic touch on the guitar, and well-performed vocal.
The musicians here mark a departure from the earlier jazz stars, with more sidemen, including Dominic Miller on guitar. There is a definite move toward the easy listening that has dominated Sting's work since the early 1990s.
"Love is Stronger Than Justice" is a darkly humorous play on "The Magnificent Seven" about seven brothers that save a town for the promise of brides, only to find there is only one bride.
"Fields of Gold" is one of Sting's strongest love ballads, with beautiful imagery, gentle strings and delicate woodwinds.
"Heavy Cloud (No Rain)" and "She's Too Good For Me" are harder-edged tunes with strong instrumental lines.
"Seven Days" is about a person faced with an ultimatum from a lover, and features Sting once again picking his own pocket for lyrics from "Every Little Thing...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The first time I heard a song by Sting was at the end of "The Professional" (Leon in France). When I heard the song, "Shape of My Heart" I knew I had to get the album. Once I popped the CD in my player I was completely overtaken by Sting's musical style. He has a real knack for making clever and innovative music that sets him apart from anyone else. Sting has a strong passion for the music he makes and it shows throughout this album. My favorite tracks are "Shape of My Heart" (of course), "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You", "Fields of Gold", "Heavy Cloud No Rain", "It's Probably Me", and "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)". After listening to 'TEN SUMMONER'S TALES', I can truly see why it was nominated for 6 Grammy Awards.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Penny Thoughtful on May 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ten Summoner's Tales is a companion to Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," in which he writes of a dishonest summoner. "Summoner" is also a play on Sting's real last name, which is Sumner. The album consists of a prologue, an epilogue, and ten tales, all of which are thoroughly enjoyable. (Note: The American version leaves out a song called "Everybody Laughed But You" and drops the "prologue" title from the first track. If possible, buy the European version because "Everybody Laughed But You" is a very pretty song.)
"If I Ever Lose My Faith In You" and "Fields of Gold" are the two big hits on this album. Despite their enormous popularity, both are outstanding songs. Sting reveals his talent for writing a good bridge in both: "I could be lost inside their lies/Without a trace/But every time I close my eyes/I see your face" in the former, and "I never made promises lightly/And there have been some that I've broken/But I swear, in the days still left/We'll walk in fields of gold." Truly amazing.
There is much wit in this album. A sort of country/rap influence is in "Love is Stronger than Justice," which by the way is the first song that ever got me into Sting, where his character insists that "ethical stuff never got in my way." Another good song for wit is "St. Augustine in Hell," where the character paraphrases St. Augustine's famous line by singing "Make me chaste but not just yet."
But the wittiest song on here is "Seven Days," which includes my all-time favorite line in pop music. The character is worried because his girlfriend is being wooed by a man who's "over six feet ten." He sings, "I.Q.
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