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Focus - 3 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 508 ratings

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4 stars I first heard focus in the mid 70s when I borrowed a compilation "Dutch Masters"off a friends elder brother.I was 14 and into all things heavy(hendrix,zep,purple,etc).Focus was a refreshing change and I was hooked.Focus 3 ironically was my third purchase and is still my fave along with Hamburger Concerto all though it is not without its faults.Its very dark sounding album,Jan Akkermans guitar tone in particular,purples Machine Head comes to mind.Its also very live sounding with apparently few overdubs.Opener Round Goes the Gossip is an odd mix up of ideas with a jumpy main theme,echoey vocals repeating the title,a jazz mid section with some stunning musicianship,and a quite section with some nonsensical vocalising from vanLeer(he threatens to go into some yodelling but restrains himself).The gentle Love Rembered is lovely.Beautiful flute from van leer.Next is the hit Sylvia with anthem heroic style guitar from Akkerman.His tone is brighter on this track.Carnival Fugue starts with a jazz feel with van Leers piano runs outstanding(think Keith Emerson).It turns mid way into jokey jumpy section pjayed on piccolo? with Akkermaan answering on guitar.For years I didn't like this part but it has grown on me.Side 2(on vinyl) is Focus 3 and Answer Questions and is really one long track.I can sit down relax with a beer by myself and just drift away this although some of akkermans jamming near the end tends to grate.Side3 and well into Side4 is Anonymous2 a re recording of an earlier version on the first album.Nothing more than a jam in the studio it has its moments particularly the first six minutes where van Leer out flutes the Anderson.I like the propelling drum solo to,but the bass solo is too long and Akkerman gets a bit too spiky and discordant.The return of the main theme at the end is great.Elspeth of Nottingham is a lovely lute solo,very medivial.House of the king was not on the Australian release so ends up here as the last track(also probably to make up for the short time of the side).Despite the faults I love this record and I have worn out 3 copies including a german pressing with a poster which I have never seen elsewhere.I now have it on cd but have copied with the correct running order including House of the king.
thorny | 4/5 |


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