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2 stars Two of Focus' biggest hits ( we all know what the other one is ) on one 45 rpm single !

Both the pop oriented A side Sylvia and the folky flute led House of the King ( often mistaken for a Jethro Tull piece ) appeared on the 1972 LP Focus 3. This particular single peaked at #4 on the UK charts and also made it into the top 100 in North America. As an A side, however, House of The King failed to chart when previously issued in 1969 with Black Beauty on the flip side. It was also re- issued as an A side in 1975 with a version of Red Sky at Night on the other which featured Thijs van Leer's wacky vocals but still failed to chart. Both instrumental tracks here ( Sylvia contains wordless vocal harmonies ) which were recorded 2 years apart featured different lineups with flautist/ organist/ vocalist Thijs van Leer and guitarist Jan Akkerman being the constants.

A logical executive decision to include the earlier House of the King on the B side here perhaps to rekindle interest in the first Focus LP In And Out Of which had been recently reissued at the time. Two great tracks from a progressive rock band who enjoyed a brief but glorious run in the mainstream in the early seventies both of which recieved a considerable amount of air time on both FM and AM radio. House of the King was also used as the theme song for a Birtish Science television show, Don't Ask Me, in the early '70s.

A not-so-rare item hat will be of interest to some collectors.

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Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink

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