Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
on 29 June 2008
By 1970 bands such as Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin to name a few, who had started out on the underground circuit, had moved on to the big city halls and regular album chart successes. Other bands like Rare Bird, Savoy Brown, Steamhammer etc would carry on playing the club and college circuit with occasional support bookings to the big boys, Beggars Opera unfortunately for them came under the latter catagory. For those of you who were not familiar with the music at the time, DON'T be fooled into thinking that their music is in any way sub-standard, in fact more often than not it is as good as or better. My only explanation for the failure of some of these bands to reach the heights revolves around their perceived position on their record company's pecking order, I suppose there must have been a limited amount of funding for promotion etc.
To give you a clue as to the high esteem in which this album was held, five of us worked together as apprentices, and ours was a collective record collection (concerts took priority), this and Tull's Stand up were the only duplications, nuff said.
As debut albums go, this is up there with the best of them. I assume that the band had been together for some time prior to getting a recording contract as their playing is so tight and accomplished. A previous reviewer linked them with E.L.P, however Emerson in his "Nice" days had started off with psychedelic music before introducing classical influences into his music, the Beggars appear to have bit the bullet and started their recording career with a 5 track album, 4 of which are classically inclined. The tracks that open and close the album "Poet and Peasant" and "Light cavalry" are both based on original Suppe compositions with additional arrangements and vocals added by the group. "Raymonds road" is a near on 12 minute medley of well known classical pieces grafted together with self penned bridges. "Passacaglia" and "Memory" were the work of bass player Marshall Erskine and I assume Virginia Scott, while both songs were predominantly of a rock format, the former has very definite classical leanings.
Subsequent albums, while good would never rate quite as high as this little masterpiece.
Bonus tracks "Sarabande" and "Think" were the A and B sides of their first single, and along with "Memory" show the direction which the band were heading.
This was one of the first CD's that I hunted down when I eventually came out of the stoneage and bought a CD player, and it is among my most played discs.