Thursday, May 19, 2016

Brand X - 1977 - Livestock

Brand X 

01. Nightmare Patrol (7:50)
02. -Ish (8:20)
03. Euthanasia Waltz (5:30)
04. Isis Mourning (part one) (5:30)
05. Isis Mourning (part two) (4:45)
06. Malaga Virgen (9:35)

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

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.

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