Tasmin Archer – Sweet Little Truths (The EMI Years 1992-96)

Tasmin Archer – Sweet Little Truths (The EMI Years 1992-96)

In the early nineties there were a number of singer songwriters, a hit or two then disappear, including Tanita Tikaram, and Tasmin Archer. Tasmin managed four years with EMI before fading and having a crisis of confidence, and that’s an awful shame as there is much to love here. Tasmin has a great voice, sings well, and it seems was sorely misrepresented by the EMI PR of the time. I am not sure about some of the seemingly countryfied sounds, but I do like it.

Now, first trick is to deal with the elephant in the room, that being the remix album on disc 3 of this compilation. It’s okay, if you are in the mood then remixes can be entertaining, but other than drawing out the musical rather than vocal elements, it doesn’t offer anything exceptional to me. However, one or two of the tracks do show that beyond singing, Miss Archer is in fact an exceptionally talented guitarist. You only have to look to the present to see that in many cases the music industry is unchanged, preferring, in many cases male as well as female, style over substance. Tasmin had – and I really hope still has – much to offer of both, but sadly her last album appears to have been released in 2006.

Sleeping Satellites was our introductory earworm, reaching number one. It hung in the charts for weeks and still seems fresh now. One of the things that stands out from this compilation is the writing and the range of topics, this is not your 9 to 5, boy-meets-girl, etc. writer, lyrics are considered and thoughtful, quite emotionally charged in that you can hear the ache and pain that a broken heart can have. The source album, Great Expectations, was good then, and remains so now, your extras being mixes and acoustic treatments, with a couple of covers, including Robert Wyatt’s Shipbuilding, probably better remembered for the Elvis Costello version.

The two lead discs of this three-disc set are great, highlighting a lost and neglected talent. The third is, in my opinion, filler. Disc two is taken from Bloom, her second album, from 1996. It shows that her writing continued to flower, although EMI forgot to put it on display. There is some peachy material here too, my favourite being In Your Garden.

Whether it is nostalgia or not, the music is good and the textures used are those of the nineties, but I have loved this voyage of rediscovery. It seems strange that Tasmin was discarded, and Tori Amos nurtured (love Tori, it’s not a direct comparison but an observation of their treatment). Miss Archer deserved to have been treated better. A fantastic voice, great musicianship (Somebody’s Daughter), and I think a missed opportunity. Number 1 in 1992 with Sleeping Satellites, and four years later Number 176! Shocking.

The star was not shooting, and as Billy Bragg put it, and to paraphrase: “I saw two shooting stars last night, I wished on them but they were only satellites,| It’s wrong to wish on space hardware, I wish, I wish, I wish EMI had cared”.

It really isn’t prog, but I think it great and I’m happy to say buy it, if only to stop Tasmin writing music for Eastenders! You never know, it may encourage this talented woman to make album four with a smaller more supportive label. I really hope so.

In the meantime, try not to sing:

“I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the Eagle’s flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry?
Don’t blame this sleeping satellite.”

Disc One: Great Expectations (Expanded Edition)

01. Sleeping Satellite (4:42)
02. Arienne (3:48)
03. Lords of the New Church (4:44)
04. When It Comes Down to It (4:13)
05. Steel Town (3:44)
06. The Higher You Climb (3:59)
07. In Your Care (4:23)
08. Somebody’s Daughter (4:16)
09. Hero (4:39)
10. Ripped Inside (3:28)
11. Halfway to Heaven (4:20)
12. Man at the Window (3:11)
13. Sea of Rest (4:23)
14. Strings of Desire (4:27)
15. Real Oh So Real (2:25)
16. Sleeping Satellite (Acoustic Version) (3:24)
17. In Your Care (U.S. Radio Edit) (3:58)
18. Lords of the New Church (Radio Edit) (3:52)
19. Arienne (Radio Edit) (3:28)
20. Somebody’s Daughter (Radio Edit) (4:01)

Time – 79:25

Disc Two: Bloom (Expanded Edition)
01. Sweet Little Truth (3:18)
02. After Hell (3:05)
03. One More Good Night With the Boys (3:41)
04. Rain Falling (4:29)
05. I Like It So (3:39)
06. Breaking My Back (3:26)
07. I Would Love To Be Right (4:31)
08. You Made A Fool of Me (3:14)
09. Memory (3:08)
10. Give In With Grace (4:14)
11. In Your Garden (3:45)
12. Guilty (4:48)
13. Itchycoo Park (3:11)
14. Tumbling Tumbleweeds (2:42)
15. Obeah Wedding (Live) (4:41)
16. Shipbuilding (4:52)
17. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror (4:02)
18. All Grown Up (4:12)
19. New Amsterdam (3:30)

Time – 73:28

Disc Three: One More…
01. Sleeping Satellite (Extended Version) (6:54)
02. Lords of the New Church (Remix) (8:41)
03. Ripped Inside (12″ Mix) (5:28)
04. The Higher You Climb (Remix) (9:06)
05. When It Comes Down To It (12″ Version) (6:53)
06. Ripped Inside (Ben Chapman Mix) (3:33)
07. Sleeping Satellite (Fitz Mix) (6:16)
08. In Your Care (Live) (4:15)
09. Lords of the New Church (Live) (5:27)
10. Steel Town (Live) (4:54)
11. Man At the Window (Live) (3:14)
12. After Hell (Live) (3:10)
13. Rain Falling (Live) (4:50)
14. Sleeping Satellite (Alternative Rock Version) (4:45)

Time – 77:26

Total Time – 3:50:19

Too many to mention here…

Record Label: Cherry Red Records
Catalogue#: QCRPOPT225
Date of Release: 18th September 2020

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