This band was 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).
Their debut album "Act One" (1970) 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…
This set features the band’s first four Beggars Banquet-released albums — The Icicle Works (1984), The Small Price of a Bicycle (1985), If You Want to Defeat Your Enemy, Sing His Song (1987) and Blind (1988 )— each expanded with bonus tracks (more than 30 in total), plus a live set recorded in 1986 (minus the two encore songs, since they didn’t fit on the CD).
The National don't do anything radically different on Boxer, but then again, they don't really need to: their literate, quietly anthemic take on indie rock seemed to have arrived fully formed on their 2001 self-titled debut. Boxer just hones in even more precisely and intimately on the heartfelt territory the band covers, with punchy-yet-polished production and orchestration by the Clogs' Padma Newsome giving these songs an intimacy and widescreen expansiveness that rivals the Arcade Fire. The album's first four songs are among the National's finest work yet: "Fake Empire" begins as a dead-of-night ballad that echoes Leonard Cohen, then peppy brass and guitars turn it into something joyous.
The National may sound like a garage band turned down, but there's as much primal energy lurking behind Alligator as in any mop-topped group of city kids with bloodstained Danelectros in a dusty warehouse. While Matt Berninger's lyrics and conversational delivery rely heavily on the kind of literate self-absorption that fuels so much of the indie rock scene today, he never comes off as preachy or unaware that the world would manage just fine without him; rather, he uses metaphor and humor as bullet points for a profound sense of displacement and anger. Out-of-the-blue statements like "f*ck me and make me a drink," from the brooding but lovely "Karen," are effective because the listener is brought into the story slowly, almost amiably, before being led to the plank.
Beggars Opera were a progressive rock band from Glasgow, Scotland, and were formed in Glasgow in 1969 by guitarist Ricky Gardiner. Ricky Gardiner (guitarist) went on to play for David Bowie on the Low album and with Iggy Pop on the Lust for Life album as well as the famed Idiot tour of 1976. He co-wrote The Passenger with Iggy Pop. Alan Park (organist) worked with Sir Cliff Richard for many years as musical director.
Perhaps the stars were right, or perhaps his American company, flush from the unexpected success of Murphy’s former bandmates in Love and Rockets, just decided to give Murphy a well-deserved publicity push. Whatever it was, with Deep Murphy scored an honest to goodness American radio/MTV hit thanks to the tender, lively “Cuts You Up,” a love song with solid energy and an inspired vocal.
Beggars Opera's third album offered up another dramatic change in pace and style from a band that had already demonstrated its musical schizophrenia well enough. Considerably more song-oriented than either of its predecessors, Pathfinder set out its stall with the pounding pop of "Hobo" before delving deep into period preoccupations with a truly visionary assault on "MacArthur Park" – imagine Vanilla Fudge if Brian Auger had created their arrangements. Eight minutes seem too short a time in which to layer all of the group's ideas, but they succeed with room to spare, and deliver what is probably the definitive reading of the song…