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Beggars Opera - Waters of Change  CD (album) cover


Beggars Opera


Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 183 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Beggars Opera - Waters of Change (1971)

This Scottish symphonic/crossover prog band isn't often mentioned, though Beggars Opera does have something to offer for fans of the symphonic genre. The band recorded under the Vertigo flag and thus had a good recording, way better then that of Geneses and Yes in the same years. The keyboards, drum, bass and guitars sound thick and the vocal sound full and close in the room.

Beggars Opera sounds as if playing prog from after '76, but this is actually a very early album. The band sounds as if most of the material is written by the guitar-player and the keyboardist, showcasing some nice interplay there. The vocals are bright, high-pitched and a bit glamorous, but somehow I can really enjoy them. The material of Beggars Opera never get's too intelligent, but there is extended song-writing with many themes, mainly on side one.

The only problem with this 'Water of Change' release is the inconsistency of the record. I could easily give side one the four star rating. 'Time machine' is just a great opening track with a very classy main theme and great vocals during the couplet. At times the track get's very exciting, but the strength lies in the continuity of the strong rhythms. The other long track of side one 'I've No Idea' also has some very catchy melodic parts and some more strong vocals, but the lyrics are a bit of letdown (love, love, love..). The symphonic land-scape of 'Nibus' is a strong ending of the first side. 'Festival', the opener for side two, is a happy track about a festival that makes everybody happy. It's funny how the Italian PFM would kind of semi-cover this track of Beggars Opera. Their 'E' Festa' has the same form, the same rhythms (just listen to those bass-lines) and an extrovert happy style. The 'Silver Peacock' intro uses the mellotron to recreate the medieval court trumpet style, which is quite a funny take on the instrument. The 'Silver Peacock' track itself lacks the direct sound of the that of other songs before-mentioned. The refrain has however a catchy theme. The final track 'The Fox' fails to amaze me, but it also has some good instrumental passages.

Conclusion. This is a strong early symphonic progressive rock album that should be regarded as such. It's too bad the band couldn't keep up the energy and vibe of side one for the material of side two, which somehow sounds less interesting and direct. Still recommended to fans of the symphonic genre, who will find a well recorded obscurity (which is quite rare in itself). Three and a halve stars.

friso | 3/5 |


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