A&M/UMe celebrates the 30th-anniversary of Sting’s fourth solo album, Ten Summoner’s Tales, with a digital-only Expanded Edition released today. Originally released on March 1, 1993, the album title is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek mashup of the artist’s given surname, Sumner, and a character in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 15th-century literary classic The Canterbury Tales, the summoner.
The 27-track Expanded Edition features the original 12-song Ten Summoner’s Tales album plus 15 bonus tracks consisting of B-sides, remixes, alternate versions, and live performances (complete track listing included below). Eleven of these 15 bonus tracks were previously unavailable for digital download or streaming. Mixed by 4-time Grammy Award winning Robert “Hitmixer” Orton, the album is also available in Dolby Atmos.
Pivoting from the deeply personal sense of loss that permeated Sting’s platinum solo album The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner’s Tales changed course to offer an uplifting and emotional treatise on testing the boundaries of love and making critical choices, both virtuous and suspect. The infectious lead single, the ballad “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You,” became an immediate chart hit and cleverly walked the lyrical tightrope between recounting specific subjects the vocalist had stopped believing in and then countering them with a more encouraging optimistic worldview about whatever the future may hold. Meanwhile, the country-tinged “Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)” could serve as the long-lost theme to an obscure Spaghetti Western that pays equal homage to the singular visions of noted directors Akira Kurosawa and John Sturges. The truly melancholic “Fields Of Gold” remains an ethereal ballad for the ages, featuring haunting Northumbrian small pipes played by Kathryn Tickell and a tasteful harmonica solo by Brendan Power. The deceptively jaunty “Saint Augustine In Hell” boasts a bait-and-switch narrative break courtesy of David Foxxe, while the acoustic-oriented “Shape Of My Heart” beats strong and true with the mystical, logic-seeking ruminations of the inquisitive card player at the center of its storyline.
Produced by Sting and Hugh Padgham, Ten Summoner’s Tales was recorded at Lake House in Wiltshire, England, an Elizabethan country house that added to the recording’s overall atmosphere. It is also the second time the artist’s longtime stage and studio collaborator, the acclaimed guitarist Dominic Miller, appeared on one of Sting’s albums. Other notable topline creative contributors to Ten Summoner’s Tales include returning keyboardist David Sancious, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and pedal-steel guitarist Paul Franklin. For his part, Sting played bass, double bass, harmonica, and saxophone on Ten Summoner’s Tales, creating the arrangements and singing all of the album’s lead vocals.
Sting: Ten Summoner’s Tales – Expanded Edition
1. Prologue (If I Ever Lose My Faith In You)
2. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
3. Fields Of Gold
4. Heavy Cloud No Rain
5. She’s Too Good For Me
6. Seven Days
7. Saint Augustine In Hell
8. It’s Probably Me
9. Everybody Laughed But You
10. Shape of My Heart
11. Something The Boy Said
12. Epilogue (Nothing ’Bout Me)
13. We Work The Black Seam / 1993 Version [Bonus Track]
14. January Stars [Bonus Track]
15. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You / Miracle Of Science Mix [Bonus Track]
16. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You / Hoax Mix [Bonus Track]
17. It’s Probably Me (Feat. Eric Clapton) / Alternate Version [Bonus Track]
18. Nothing ’Bout Me / Remix [Bonus Track]
19. Nothing ’Bout Me / Remix With Horn Intro [Bonus Track]
20. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven) / Edit [Bonus Track]
21. Seven Days / Radio Edit [Bonus Track]
22. Nothing ’Bout Me / Edit With Fade [Bonus Track]
23. Shape of My Heart / Live At Villa Manin, Codroipo, Italy, 1993 [Bonus Track]
24. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven) / Live At Villa Manin, Codroipo,Italy, 1993 [Bonus Track]
25. It’s Probably Me / Live At Villa Manin, Codroipo, Italy, 1993 [Bonus Track]
26. Purple Haze / Live At The Hague, Netherlands, 1991 [Bonus Track]
27. Ain’t No Sunshine / Live At Buddle Arts Center, Newcastle, England, 1991 [Bonus Track]