Beggars Opera - Waters of Change. 1971 Scotland

Scotland's Beggars Opera's second effort is one of the more overlooked albums from the rich progressive rock landscape of 1971. The key track here is 'I've No Idea', as in I've no idea why it's taken me 22 years to revisit this album. And I've no idea why I didn't recognize its brilliance until last night. While the band may have toned down their sound from Act One, they raised their game in the songwriting department. Waters of Change represents that wonderful 1971 UK progressive rock sound as also found in bands as diverse as Cressida, Gracious, Nektar, and Uriah Heep. They have quite a large ensemble, including a full time mellotron player, who happens to be female and is strongly involved in the songwriting. This gives a unique slant on the otherwise testosterone driven genre, especially back in those days. Alan Park's organ, though, wins the day, as he did on Act One. Outside of the interludes, including the somewhat silly 'Silver Peacock Intro', all the songs here are quite involved, well thought out, highly melodic, and great for listening over and over.

Personal collection
LP: 1974 Vertigo (Germany)
CD: 1995 Repertoire (Germany)

The LP comes in a fine gatefold. My copy is on the German "spaceship" label, and could almost be considered "common". True original UK Vertigo Swirls still hold value though. The CD comes with unique liner notes written by Chris Welch (who incidentally I saw on the tele last night as one of the participants on a show highlighting the making of Deep Purple's Machine Head).

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