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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Beggars Opera - 1980 Lifeline
Beggars Opera - 1980 Lifeline

ARTIST: Beggars Opera
ALBUM: Lifeline
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 6435 060
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2009, Repertoire, REPUK 1112


LINEUP: Gordon Sellar - guitars * Linnie Paterson - lead vocals * Alan Park - keyboards * Colin Pattenden - bass * John Hollywood - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lifeline * 02 I Gave You Love * 03 You Never Believe I'm Human * 04 Showman In A Showdown * 05 Yes I Need Someone * 06 Lost In Space * 07 Now You're Gone * 08 Bad Dreams * 09 Four Moons (Lifeline Reprise)


Glasgow, Scotland based Beggars Opera released their first album 'Act One' in 1970 followed by 'Waters Of Change' a year later and the excellent 'Pathfinder' in 1972. All three albums were magnificent and wisely considered stone-cold classics among progressive rock connoisseurs, helped by the fact they appeared on the collectable Vertigo label. Yet despite early accolades, the band never took off in a big way commercially compounded by the fact they changed styles to fit the times, or 'fit in' depending on your point of view, even dabbling in an aborted glam project after supporting the New York Dolls in London. Of course none of this was helpful in the stability department with a revolving door of players coming and going for each release and following 1979's hard rocking 'Beggars Can't Be Choosers' album, the band appeared to be finished if not for guitarist Gordon Sellar who wanted to update the Beggars Opera sound once again, this time with a more modern 'hi-tech' approach.

The Songs
Vocalist Linnie Paterson whose pipes graced the Opera's 1973 album 'Get Your Dog Off Me' and original keyboardist Alan Park were called back for the 'Lifeline' project which included former Manfred Mann's Earth Band bassist Colin Pattenden and a mysterious cat named John Hollywood on drums. The resulting album is a mixture of Manfred Mann, Lake and late period Lucifer's Friend all of which is everything I could want in a record although not all of it works. We're off to the races with the title track featuring a melodic line and pulsating synths reminiscent of Canadian pomp stars Saga. Not so great is the bluesy 'I Gave You Love' although Linnie Paterson sounds so much like Lake's James Hopkins-Harrison, I'll give it a pass. You won't find me treating the weirdly titled 'You Never Believe I'm Human' and 'Showman In A Showdown' as kindly since both are painfully mediocre rockers and a mercifully brief low-point on an otherwise appealing album. Back to the good stuff with 'Yes I Need Someone' and the very Lake influenced 'Lost In Space' which along with the lightweight 'Bad Dreams' are the catchiest tunes here but the best is truly saved for last with the proggy 'Four Moons (Lifeline Reprise)' sounding very much like Manfred Mann's Earth Band in overdrive.

In Summary
This was the last Beggars Opera album until a revitalized line-up released 'The Final Curtain' in 1996. Since then there have been several studio discs but I've never bothered as modern prog has never held much interest. Better to stick with the classics including Beggars Opera's first seven albums. Start here.

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