Brand X


Brand X

As I started working in a record store in the summer of 1976, I remember clearly the first time I ever heard of Brand X.  My manager was a big Genesis fan, so naturally, he was following any news he could about Genesis, after the split with Peter Gabriel.

I think I behaved like many Genesis fans – I lost interest when Gabriel left.  I did go see Mr. Gabriel at The Roxy in Los Angeles in 1977 – but his guitarist was Robert Fripp, who I had never seen up close.  Yes, he sat on a stool at the side of the stage and was even introduced as “Dusty Rhodes” (or thereabouts).

If I didn’t care all that much about Genesis after Peter Gabriel left, I really gave up when guitarist Steve Hackett left.  I didn’t even pay attention any longer.  So, when Brand X made an LP – I knew about it, but…didn’t really care.  Phil Collins was initially the drummer for Brand X, hence the big time Genesis connection – well before his solo career.

Well, time has a way of bending / distorting the mirror we submerge in the murky waters of our memories.  I found a few good LP’s / 12” singles by Brand X, and it sounds like pretty good electric British jazz to me.  Now I pick up the CD’s, whenever I can find them inexpensively.

CD DO THEY HURT?                                                        CHARISMA UK  CASCD 1151      1980 7 TRKS

CD LIVESTOCK                                                                  CAROLINE US  CAROL 1388.2   1977 5 TRKS Live

LP LIVESTOCK                                                                  CHARISMA UK  CLASS 5              1977 5 TRKS Live

CD MACROCOSM – INTRODUCING… (Collection)   VIRGIN UK         90978.2               2003 13 TRK Collection

CD MASQUES                                                                     CHARISMA UK  CASCD 1138      1978 7 TRKS

LP MOROCCAN ROLL                                                     CHARISMA UK  CAS 1126            1977 9 TRKS

LP PRODUCT                                                                    CHARISMA UK  CHC 3                  1979 9 TRKS re-issue

12″ SOHO                                                                            CHARISMA UK  CB 340-12          1979 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR                                   CAROLINE US  CAROL 1387.2   1976 7 TRKS

LP UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR                                   CHARISMA UK  CAS 1117            1976 7 TRKS

I have wise, old friends to tell me if there’s any other Brand X titles I should be on the lookout for.  I  confess to having a hard time thinking that Genesis fans would really gravitate towards this kind of music – essentially ‘British electric fusion jazz’ (British modern / late 70’s jazz-rock played on electric instruments).

Because most of these records are new-to-me, I haven’t played them enough to have any clear favorites as yet.  The 12” single “Soho” sounded pretty good, actually.  Looks to me that I should try and find an inexpensive CD for “Moroccan Roll” – that’ll probably be “in stock” at Rhino Claremont, which I will visit when I go to the Claremont swap meet in February.

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2 Responses to Brand X

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    I remember that I bought the debut album by Group 87 just because I wanted to buy an album and it looked interesting. When I took it to the counter, the checkout guy mentioned that it was in the vein of Brand X. That is to say, early 80s rock jazz fusion on electric instruments. I remember Mark Isham [countless OSTs] and Patrick O’Hearn [Zappa\ were the core of the group. It was listenable, but not compelling. Therefore, I never gravitated to Brand X, though I was certainly aware of the Phil Collins connection. Phil is a professional drummer, but not compelling enough to start a cult of personality with me. I have albums with Phil playing [never his own save for the single Genesis title I own] – he’s a tight pro, but would never buy anything because he drummed on it.

    If I want to listen to early 80s rock jazz [funk] fusion played on electric instruments, there are lots of L42 releases in my collection to soothe that jones.

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    Brand X are a bit further into jazz than L42. Not really much ‘funk’ to be had in Brand X. I do not buy or listen because of Phil Collins – in fact, that’s why I didn’t buy / listen for years. Not an automatic guarantee of ‘quality’, IMHO. But in 2011, I can see what Brand X were trying to do with British jazz – at a time when it was not doing well.

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