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Brand X - Livestock CD (album) cover


Brand X


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.77 | 84 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars A curiously detached live effort from Brand X.

Most of it sounds as if it were recorded in the VERY early hours, in a darkened cellar. There's no interaction with the audience and very few attempts to enliven the original studio tracks. Only "Euthanasia Waltz" (off UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR) is given an extra dimension, with the help of a truly ecstatic guitar solo by John Goodsall, while "Malaga Virgen" (from MOROCCAN ROLL) benefits from some jaunty playing by Messrs. Dennard and Jones. (I believe the bass is mixed closer to the front than on the band's studio albums, which helps.) Both of these tracks also acquire extra colour through Morris Pert's remarkable playing. Apart from these things, the rest of the album is a low-key affair. As far as I know, the opening tracks, "Nightmare Patrol" and "-Ish", cannot be found anywhere else. They're OK tracks, much in the same spirit as Brand X's early studio work, but they don't exactly set my heart on fire, if you catch my drift.

Between the tracks you will hear the roar of what seems to be an enormous crowd. ("Euthanasia Waltz" simply gets faded out, without applause or explanation.) How strange that such an audience remained completely silent during the actual performances! Perhaps they were all totally serious guys with beards, merely nodding along sagely...

MOROCCAN ROLL remains one of my all-time favourite prog albums, and I'm a bit surprised the band didn't light too many sparks on stage. Devoted fans will need LIVESTOCK, if only for its (literally) unique material, but I can't help thinking this collection was scraped together in a hurry. The obligatory Hipgnosis cover makes the album look even more depressing. Aimless releases like this make you understand why the world once cried out for the likes of Ian Dury, Madness or the Pretenders.

fuxi | 2/5 |


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