This band are from Scotland, their name is derived from a novel by the poet John Gray in 1728. The musicians of BEGGARS OPERA were Martin Griffiths (vocals), Rick Gardiner (guitar and vocals), Alan Park (keyboards), Gordon Sellar (bass, acoustic guitar and vocals), Virginia Scott (Mellotron and vocals) and Raymond Wilson (drums and percussion). BEGGARS OPERA made a lot of records but remained acting in the shade of most progressive rock bands.
Their debut-album "Act one" ('70) contains fluent and tasteful organ driven progrock with powerful "Sixties" sounding guitarwork. The long track "Raymond's Road" is a splendid tribute to the "classics" featuring Mozart's A la Turka, Bach's Toaccata in d-fuga en Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite on the Hammond organ. The second album "Waters of Change" ('71) is build around the dual keyboardplay of Alan Park and newcomer Virginia Scott and the distinctive, a bit cynical vocals of Gardiner. The nine tracks are beautiful symphonic landscapes with many organ solos, some swelling and glorious Mellotron waves (like The MOODY BLUES and early KING CRIMSON) and fine electric guitarwork. On the third LP "Pathfinder" BEGGARS OPERA seems to have reached its pinnacle: strong and alternating compositions with lush keyboards (Mellotron, organ, piano and harpsichord), powerful electric guitarplay and many shifting moods (even Scottish folk with bagpipes). The band released three more albums but, in my opinion, they sounded far less captivating: "Get your dog off me" ('73), "Saggittary" ('76) and "Beggar's can't be choosers" ('79).