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Brand X

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Brand X Livestock album cover
3.71 | 108 ratings | 13 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Live, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nightmare Patrol (7:50)
2. -Ish (8:20)
3. Euthanasia Waltz (5:30)
4. Isis Mourning (part one) (5:30)
5. Isis Mourning (part two) (4:45)
6. Malaga Virgen (9:35)

Total Time: 41:30

Line-up / Musicians

- John Goodsall / guitar
- Percy Jones / bass
- Robin Lumley / keyboards
- Morris Pert / percussion
- Phil Collins / drums (2, 3 & 6)
- Kenwood Dennard / drums (1,4-5)

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BRAND X Livestock ratings distribution

(108 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BRAND X Livestock reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Generally, live albums are often released to provide the bands some more time before the next studio album's release, but it's not always the case. Releasing a live album is also a cheap way of releasing a record, without too much studio expenses, but it's even worthier if most of the tracks are previously unreleased and such was the case of Livestock. Apparently recorded over (at least) two dates over the 76-77 years, since there is a drummer change, as Collins is missing out on two tracks (holidays are over, time to return to the day job), Ken Dennard filling in. (Ex-Pat Martino). The artwork shows a disgustingly rachitic woman's pair of legs coming out of a door and is no hint for the music.

Livestock is their third album and if it was recorded live, only two tracks were from previous albums. But the rest of the (unreleased) tracks are right on par with the excellence of their first two albums. Nightmare Patrol is, along with Macrocosm and Nuclear Burn, one of my fave tracks of BX. Next up is "?ish" and a personal favorite, slightly Santana-esque and the best of the new tracks. Both Euthanasia and Malaga Virgen (the only two tracks previously known) are rendered better in live than in their original studio versions. The lengthy two-part Isis Mourning is a delicate slow blues starter and is quite accessible.

This is the first album where Mr. Collins is not fully present (well, he did have a day job in a firm called Genesis) and his future coming and going will affects the cohesiveness of Brand X, IMHO. But in the meantime, he remains on the stool for most of this album, and he's brilliant.

Review by The Owl
3 stars Definite proof that Brand-X could deliver the goods in a live setting. This disc was taped at several different shows, thus the drumming split between Phil Collins and Kenwood Dennard. Overall, I like Collins drumming far better on these tracks, where he lays into it with relentless passion yet doesn't overplay, whereas, Kenwood Dennard goes so overboard at times you almost think the songs could blow apart. But despite that, there's still lots of cool stuff happening here, like the ominous "Nightmare Patrol" featuring a great fretless solo from Percy and a melody line that will give you nightmares for days. "Melaga Virgen" gets the thrashing of its life, and "Euthenasia Waltz" grows some fangs as well. There are also two band improvisations, of which "Isis Mourning" is the more successful. With some more work afterwards, this actually could've turned into a very rich composition. "Ish" has its moments but can't seem to find its legs.
Review by Philo
4 stars British fusion acts can have a little more grace and elegance than their American Stateside peers. Many of the American fusion acts attacked their instruments with a fluid forceful energy while the likes of Ian Carr's Nucleus, and indeed Brand X, have a lot more subtle traits in their music. This live album, which came after two studio albums, is a fine and easy flowing album but it is not without a sharp edge and the odd esoteric swing, but thats the thing, the swing. And there is plenty in this live recording. John Goddall is a guitarist with all the chops and talent to give the music a wide scope as he spins off many thoughtful, insightful and engaging solos while being complimented by the bass playing of Percy Jones who flows throughout the session with some neat and tidy fretless bass. Lifestock is a dark horse in the fusion canon, and while Phil Collins was gearing up to leave the band to head back to dullsville (later seventies Genesis) before completely losing the plot (yes, eighties pop wankdom), it is so much more than his side project. His replacement Kenwood Dennard, who plays on two of this album live tracks, certainly adds more colour to the pieces and is a much more progressive drummer in my mind, but then I can't stand Collins in the first place, not as a drummer but as a person-yet I have never met him-pop stars eh?. Like a couple of the Brand X albums, Livestock may have come late in the day of the fusion era and its peak but it is none the less a towering and worthy album with a silent, even hypnotic, ambient as well as being an engaging listen, an album for many occasions and one which is never obtrusive. I don't know why, but I get a distinct night time feel from this album...
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Excellent live album, though only two of the songs are from their studio albums ("Euthanasia Waltz" from 'Unorthodox Behaviour' and "Malaga Virgen" from 'Moroccan Roll') . The rest is new material, but is equally as good as the two tracks i just mentioned. Performances are faultless and sound quality is excellent. The drumming is split between Phil Collins and Kenwood Dennard, and both does a great job on this album. This is a very varied, but still even album and the compositions are all excellent! A burst of energy and fire!

This is high-quality fusion at it's best though not 100% perfect (a couple of parts are slighlty weaker than other parts, but still very good). Overall: 4.75 stars - Should be included in any prog collection that features Jazz-Rock!

Review by daveconn
3 stars The live adventures of the mathematically minded and mellow-eastern Brand X. Livestock is one of the most subdued-sounding live albums I own; percussion percolates, basses bubble, keyboards creep and guitars growl in this arid, exotic landscape. Concert albums that feature new material (as this does) are interesting animals, and a very different animal than The Bruford Tapes. Bruford's live album was raw, raucous and familiar. Livestock is a calculated exploration of old terrain and new lands. It's a little like getting half a new album with some live versions tacked on, as close to an EP as sits on the Brand X shelf. Thus it's the least essential of the first four albums. The timing of its release is also questionable. Was the clamor for another Brand X album so great after six months, or did Charisma see Livestock as a last opportunity for the band to cash in on Collins' cachet? Collins himself is replaced by Kenwood Dennard on two tracks, perhaps because of conflict with the Wind & Wuthering tour, and this does effectively answer the question many people were asking of where Collins' loyalties would lie when push came to shove. Genesis came first, Brand X second, and the third album all but stated that. So Livestock is at the same time a short celebration and a slight hissing of air from the Brand X balloon. After you've purchased everything up to Product, looking in Livestock for something to snack on is the logical next step. Personally, I prefer my fusion more explosive. The music of Livestock, like Soft Machine, consists more of gentle eruptions and complex patterns, typical of music constructed by keyboardists and drummers. The subsequent Masques has more soul and spirit, so feel free to skip ahead and save Livestock for another day.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Phil-ling in time

It is perhaps a little unfair that Brand X are best known, outwith jazz/fusion circles at least, as a side project for Phil Collins. However, whether they would have known the relative success they achieved without his name appearing as one of the band members is highly questionable. I for one do not list this sort of music as being among my favourites, and only investigated the band because of the admittedly tenuous Genesis connection. It has to be remembered of course that Collins is just the drummer here, there are no vocals and his input to the song writing is limited.

Phil is actually absent altogether from the first and last tracks, his place being filled by Kenwood Dennard. These presumably are therefore the tracks recorded in August 1977 at a couple of London venues, the remainder being recorded almost a year earlier at Ronnie Scott's in London.

The music here is jazz fusion, pure and simple. Right from the start we are into lengthy improvisations built around the guitar playing of ex Atomic Rooster member John Goodall and the keyboards of Robin Lumley. The musicianship is uniformly superb, to the extent that much of this live album sounds like it is a studio recording. For me though, the music wanders rather aimlessly at times. All but two of the tracks are new to album, "Euthanasia waltz" and "Malaga Virgen" being the only ones to have been heard previously in studio format.

While "Nightmare patrol" steers towards the rock side of fusion, "-ish" delves into Santana territory, the up-front percussion and jazz piano leaving me completely cold. "Euthanasia waltz" reminds me of some of the drawn out passages of "Focus 3", the track inexplicably fading before it ends.

Side two is split evenly between the two part "Isis Mourning" and Percy Jones's "Malaga virgen". "Isis mourning" is a slow blues piece, the atmospheric noodling being pleasantly undemanding. "Malaga Virgen" is a spirited race through the "Morrocan Roll" number, with a striking mood change midway through.

Brand X were clearly a highly gifted unit who could recreate their sound well in a live environment. I have no issue at all here with the competency of the musicianship on show. Unfortunately, for me this is where talent and tedium meet head on, and there is only one winner.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Great live album. While only the third release from Brand X this hit the live trail relatively quickley and capitalised on the fusion based cult following they had already established. It makes one wonder as to how many LP's/CD's they actually sold from 75-85? Such a vintage sound and not unlike the original material as well as additional new songs.' Nightmare patrol is vintage stuff as is -Ish. Again unusual to have a live album consisting of new material so early on in their album catalogue but viewing this as a standalone work, you can be guaranteed a great listen. Three solid stars.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This was the first Brand X album I owned - or heard for that matter. And when I first heard it, my first reaction, as a bass player, was depression. When Percy Jones' bass licks reached my ears, I knew that there was no way I could ever dream of getting to that level of bass mastery. But soon, my feelings on this matured, and Brand X became one of my favorite fusion bands.

The band it incredibly tight, especially considering that this is al live performance. Guitarist John Goodsall and keyboardist Robin Lumley stay in sync perfectly over some of the best playing drummer Phil Collins has ever done (including his work with Genesis). And of course Percy Jones shows off his impossible bass lines.

Review by fuxi
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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars My favourite BRAND X album right here. I understand this was released between their first two studio albums making these first three recordings essential in my opinion. This is not a live album from one concert as we get Phil Collins playing drums on 3 tracks while Kenwood Dennard plays on the other 3 songs. It sure feels like one show though as the style of music is fairly consistent other than the fiery closer "Malaga Virgen" from "Moroccan Roll". The other strange thing is that besides the song I just mentioned we get "Euthenasia Waltz" from "Unorthodox Behaviour" while all the other songs are not on any of their studio albums. So 4 completely new tracks and all of these songs are flat out amazing to my ears. This is MY kind of music as we get a lot of intricate sounds coming and going and they don't seem to be in a rush for the most part, and of course all of these guys are gun slingers. John Goodsall, Phil Collins, Kenwood Dennard, Percy Jones, Robin Lumley and Morris Pert.

"Nightmare Patrol" is laid back to start then we get a calm a minute in before kicking in to a more powerful sound with guitar, drums and bass. I love how upfront the bass is throughout this album. It settles into a jazzy groove with piano helping out before settling back again before 3 minutes with some atmosphere. It's building then it settles back again like before. Some nice drum work a minute later then the guitar leads the way after 5 1/2 minutes for over a minute. Nice. Great restrained ending as well.

"-Ish" has an excellent bass intro as intricate sounds start to come and go. I really like this style , so much going on but it's restrained. I also like the keys over top around 4 minutes in then the guitar that follows but man it's all good. "Euthanasia" might be my favourite on here. A quiet start with intricate sounds before they all join in. It's still fairly relaxed until the tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. It settles back again and this is so good. Love that guitar before 3 minutes then it settles back again before 5 minutes.

"Isis Morning(Part One)" sounds incredible with the space they allow, room to breathe as it were. A spacey atmosphere joins in as intricate sounds come and go. Percussion is fairly steady though. I like that bass as well. "Isis Morning(Part Two)" has more depth to it I believe, more serious sounding. The guitar, bass and keys take turns soloing over top. Incredible!

"Malaga Virgen" is where the band puts their skills on display as we get tons of energy. I'm such a fan of that electric piano early on then it settles back after 2 minutes briefly kicking back in as the bass solos over top. Soon it's the synths and guitar leading the way 3 1/2 minutes in. So much energy. A calm before 4 1/2 minutes causes the crowd to roar and cheer but this isn't over as we get some atmosphere and guitar and it's building. So good. Intricate sounds follow along with some excellent bass as per usual. It kicks back in late. On fire!

This has been nothing but a pleasure. Sure many fans were disappointed that a live album would only include two songs off of their studio albums and Phil isn't drumming throughout. But it's the amazing music here that blows me away regardless of the complaints. I have no such qualms obviously.

Latest members reviews

4 stars There are many, many people who were never aware that Phil Collins split time between Genesis and Brand X; especially those who only know (ye gods!) of his solo career and ultimately, his unfortunate (for us) sellout. Brand X was a study in hyper-speed and crazy time signatures. Ultimately ... (read more)

Report this review (#61956) | Posted by beebs | Tuesday, December 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The third work released in 1977 "Livestock". It is an eminent live album. There are three works of the uncollection in the studio album in five performed. A mysterious performance of "Nightmare Patroll" of opening is an indeed wonderful fine performance. There is a moment of the ecstasy that l ... (read more)

Report this review (#58982) | Posted by braindamage | Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I first heard of Brand X on a progressive radio station in Atlanta, GA. It was only a commercial for the album Livestock. Needless to say, it knocked my socks off and I ran out and bought it. - ISH is one of those tunes that can't be duplicated. Phil Collins and Percy Jones basically improvise ... (read more)

Report this review (#23081) | Posted by | Sunday, December 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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