MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

FOCUS

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Focus picture
Focus biography
Of all the groups in the 1970s that combined elements of rock and classical music, FOCUS is, without a doubt, the most notable Dutch group widely known outside the Netherlands. This band has created excitement all over the world during the past few years with their unique sound and musical approach. The two main musicians in the band were flutist/keyboardist/singer Thjis Van LEER and guitarist Jan AKKERMAN. They played a stylishly inventive rock with flutes, keyboards & dazzling guitar, defining the Dutch prog sound. An inspiration to FINCH, TRACE & numerous others. In 1978, the group finally split up, without making too much noise.

Best albums are "Moving Waves" (1972), "3" (1973), "Live at the Rainbow" (1973), and "Hamburger Concerto" (1974). "Waves" and "3" represent the best of the band's earlier intensely progressive period with plenty of sidelong tracks and healthly extended solos. Most will agree that "Live at the Rainbow" and "Hamburger Concerto" (last good album) were their best, moving into a period of more pure classical and jazz influence.

"Focus 8" marks the return of Thjis Van LEER in the true nature of music: tuneful, memorable and a little bit rocky when they want to be. This album contains everything you might want from a FOCUS album ... plenty of flute and keyboards from Thijs, tasty guitar playing from Jan DUMÉE and even some yodeling vocals. Perhaps in summary, the band could have veered a little from the safety of the FOCUS blueprint but "Focus 9" may yet further develop their own voice. No doubt about it, we'll have to count on FOCUS in the new millennium to all of the true Progressive Rock lovers.

Focus official website

FOCUS MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s
No MP3/Stream available for this artist.
Collaborate with Progarchives.com, learn how to submit new MP3s.

FOCUS forum topics / tours, shows & news


FOCUS forum topics Create a topic now
FOCUS tours, shows & news Post an entries now

FOCUS Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all FOCUS videos (4) | Search and add more videos to FOCUS

Buy FOCUS Music


Hocus Pocus BoxHocus Pocus Box
Box set · Import
Red Bullet 2017
Audio CD$41.36
$45.62 (used)
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Import · Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$11.71
$6.19 (used)
Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.74
$4.41 (used)
Live In Rotterdam And Texel 1971Live In Rotterdam And Texel 1971
Import
On The Air
Audio CD$19.80
Live in EuropeLive in Europe
Import
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$10.81
$10.80 (used)
In & Out of FocusIn & Out of Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$10.07
$6.19 (used)
Focus 8Focus 8
Import
MSI:RED BULLET 2006
Audio CD$9.62
$9.71 (used)
Focus 3Focus 3
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.62
$7.00 (used)
Hamburger ConcertoHamburger Concerto
Import
MSI:RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$9.64
$6.97 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Gapproject - Sound In Focus - CD USD $11.86 Buy It Now 37m 15s
Pink Floyd Focus CD USD $10.00 [0 bids]
USD $18.00 Buy It Now
49m 49s
BLUE CHEER:Summertime Blues 3:43-Out Of Focus 3:52-France 7" Philips B304.62 PSL USD $48.98 Buy It Now 1h
Rock 8-Track Sealed! FOCUS Mother Focus FACTORY SEALED USD $15.99 Buy It Now 2h 16m
Lost in Focus by Apiary USD $3.92 Buy It Now 2h 26m
Clueless - Let's Focus On The Good Times, Honey JAPAN CD OBI G-17403 USD $1.99 Buy It Now 2h 29m
STAN GETZ focus EDDIE SAUTER LP Vinyl JAPAN POLYDOR VERVE MV 2071 STEREO USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2h 31m
FOCUS ON VERA LYNN - DOUBLE VINYL LP U.K. PRESSING USD $10.68 Buy It Now 3h 53m
Focus on Jacques Loussier Double Vinyl lp USD $10.93 [0 bids]
4h 33m
SIGNED!! DOUG PARKINSON IN FOCUS 4 Track EP OZ 1970 Very RARE! PSYCH SEGO 70188 USD $23.73 [0 bids]
4h 53m
Focus - At The Rainbow - Polydor - 1973 #743937 USD $19.27 Buy It Now 5h 12m
ASALTO AL PARQUE ZOOLOGICO-SOFT FOCUS-JAPAN CD ttt USD $27.50 Buy It Now 5h 20m
HANSGROHE 04510000 FOCUS ONE HANDLE LAV FAUCET CHROME USD $181.40 Buy It Now 5h 35m
Focus Hamburger Concerto Japan Limited Mini-LP CD VICP-64247 W/Obi USD $13.47 [5 bids]
6h
Todd Curry & Focus : Its All Good CD USD $4.95 Buy It Now 6h 8m
FOCUS IN CONCERT - USD $38.51 [0 bids]
8h 30m
FOCUS 8 TRACK TAPE USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 55m
Max Bygraves : Focus On Max Bygraves : Double Vinyl Album : DECCA : FOS 55/56 USD $12.59 Buy It Now 9h 16m
Focus Moving Waves vinyl LP album record Japanese MP2311 POLYDOR 1973 USD $62.94 Buy It Now 9h 16m
Focus Hamburger Concerto UK vinyl LP album record 2442124 POLYDOR 1974 USD $50.08 Buy It Now 9h 16m
Stan Getz Focus & Mickey One - Stan Ge... 2-LP (Double ) UK USD $18.32 Buy It Now 9h 32m
Pages From An Autograph Book Focus memorabilia UK Autographed AUTOGRAPHS N/A USD $61.65 Buy It Now 9h 40m
Live At The Rainbow Focus USD $12.79 Buy It Now 9h 56m
Focus Hamburger Concerto USA vinyl LP album record SD36-100 ATCO 1974 USD $24.36 Buy It Now 10h 12m
Various-Jazz Focus On Jazz vinyl LP album record UK 6436032 PHILIPS 1975 USD $20.51 Buy It Now 10h 13m
Focus Moving Waves 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Dutch 5N180-52636/37 USD $31.18 Buy It Now 10h 18m
Focus 3 Focus 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) USA 2344-039 POLYDOR 1972 USD $44.04 Buy It Now 10h 22m
Focus - 1st Cynic Dutch vinyl LP album record RR9169-1 ROADRUNNER 1991 USD $230.08 Buy It Now 10h 22m
Focus Harem Scarem UK 7" vinyl single record 2058466 POLYDOR 1974 USD $14.72 Buy It Now 10h 27m
Hamburger Concerto Focus vinyl LP album record Japanese MP2385 POLYDOR 1974 USD $60.37 Buy It Now 10h 42m
Sylvia Focus 7" vinyl single record UK 2001-422 POLYDOR 1972 USD $12.78 Buy It Now 10h 58m
Various-Jazz Focus On Fusion Volumes O... 2-LP (Double ) UK USD $24.75 Buy It Now 10h 58m
Focus On Mantovani Mantovani 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) UK FOS3/4 DECCA USD $15.75 Buy It Now 11h 2m
Focus In And Out Of Focus UK vinyl LP album record 2344003 POLYDOR 1971 USD $24.36 Buy It Now 11h 3m
Focus - EX Focus vinyl LP album record UK 2384070 POLYDOR USD $15.36 Buy It Now 11h 13m
Focus ?- Live At The Rainbow Vinyl LP 1973 VGC USD $8.29 [0 bids]
11h 16m
Focus..Mother Focus 1975 Rock LP ACBR 266 USD $12.79 [0 bids]
11h 16m
Mick Jagger Out Of Focus UK CD single (CD5 / 5") A7332CD ATLANTIC 1993 USD $12.20 Buy It Now 11h 24m
Focus Mother Focus UK vinyl LP album record 2302036 POLYDOR 1973 USD $37.22 Buy It Now 11h 28m
Focus House Of The King vinyl LP album record Dutch 1A028-25130 EMIGOLD 1978 USD $30.79 Buy It Now 11h 29m
Focus On Frank Chacksfield UK 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) FOS23/24 DECCA USD $18.32 Buy It Now 11h 33m
Focus On Will Glahé UK 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) FOS11/12 DECCA 1975 USD $15.75 Buy It Now 11h 37m
Focus 7" vinyl single record Hocus Pocus UK 2001-211 POLYDOR 1971 USD $16.65 Buy It Now 11h 37m
Focus On Werner Müller UK 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) FOS17/18 DECCA 1973 USD $18.32 Buy It Now 11h 42m
Focus At The Rainbow CD album (CDLP) Dutch CDM7489692 EMI 1988 USD $22.49 Buy It Now 11h 59m
Focus Focus 3 CD album (CDLP) Dutch RB66.189 RED BULLET 2001 USD $22.49 Buy It Now 11h 59m
Focus Moving Waves Dutch CD album (CDLP) CDM7488622 EMI 1988 USD $22.49 Buy It Now 11h 59m
In Concert Focus tour programme UK TOUR PROGRAMME 1976 USD $62.29 Buy It Now 11h 59m
Gene Autry Focus On UK 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) FOSU45/46 LONDON 1976 USD $24.75 Buy It Now 12h 8m
Hocus Pocus - The Best Of FOCUS VICP-70056 CD JAPAN 2009 NEW USD $141.61 Buy It Now 12h 9m
Focus vinyl LP album record Hamburger Concerto UK ACB00218 POLYDO USD $43.65 Buy It Now 12h 12m
Focus vinyl LP album record Hamburger Concerto - EX UK 2442124 POLYDOR 1974 USD $24.36 Buy It Now 12h 25m
Focus In And Out Of Focus USA vinyl LP album record SAS-7404 POLYDOR 1973 USD $24.36 Buy It Now 12h 25m
Focus Focus 3 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) USA SAS3901 SIRE 1972 USD $31.18 Buy It Now 12h 25m
NEW Focus Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD) USD $14.20 Buy It Now 12h 41m
The Real Earl Hines Recorded Live! In Concert LP Focus 335 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 12h 41m
Focus Jerry Glenn Ward LP USD $12.19 Buy It Now 12h 55m
Focus : Ship of Memories CD (2001) USD $7.70 Buy It Now 13h 5m
FOCUS moving waves 1970s BLUE HORIZON*POLYDOR STEREO VINYL LP USD $16.70 Buy It Now 13h 11m
BIRDY FOCUS STEREO163 GERMAN PRESS EXCELLENT USD $17.99 Buy It Now 13h 28m
BLUE CHEER psych 45 PHILIPS Summertime Blues, Out Of Focus USD $6.95 Buy It Now 13h 43m
Focus - At The Rainbow ULTRA RARE LIMITED COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 13h 53m
Focus - Focus 3 ULTRA RARE LIMITED COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 13h 55m
EX/EX- !! Focus/3/1972 Polydor Double LP/Three USD $12.84 Buy It Now 13h 55m
Lost in Focus by Apiary Heavy Metal Brand New & Factory Sealed Free USA Shipping USD $6.99 Buy It Now 14h 15m
Marinescu / Nimbus E - Harmonic Fields - Shadows - Focus - Echoes - Sway [New CD USD $14.83 Buy It Now 14h 16m
Focus 6CD Set In And Out Moving Waves III Hamburger Concerto Mother Ship Of Memo USD $56.49 Buy It Now 14h 17m
Marinescu / Nimbus E - Harmonic Fields - Shadows - Focus - Echoes - Sway [New CD USD $14.14 Buy It Now 14h 42m
In Focus (UK 1985) : Howard Riley & Keith Tippett USD $19.29 Buy It Now 14h 59m
Cynic / Focus JAPAN APCY-8144 1ST PRESS!!!!! B USD $59.99 Buy It Now 15h 17m
MANHATTAN FOCUS SAME ELECTRIC BIRD SKS-8007 Japan OBI Japan Jazz Vinyl LP USD $0.99 [0 bids]
15h 17m
ETERNITY FOCUS THE BEST IS YET TO BE BRAND NEW CD FREES&H USD $7.69 Buy It Now 15h 22m
FOCUS [1 DISC] [602498840337] NEW CD USD $16.65 Buy It Now 15h 41m
FOCUS "HAREM SCAREM / BIRTH" 45 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 15h 42m
FOCUS IN AND OUT OF FOCUS PAPER LABELS cassette tape album T674 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 15h 44m
Korea F.cuz (Focus) 2nd Mini Album Gorgeous Taiwan CD w/BOX+40P+Card USD $16.99 Buy It Now 15h 51m
Bryan Carrigan-Focus CD NEW USD $14.13 Buy It Now 15h 58m
SUBLIMINAL CD - INCREASE CONCENTRATION! IMPROVE ATTENTION SKILLS FOCUS Hypnosis USD $9.95 Buy It Now 16h 8m
BABY DRIVER ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK CD - inc. DAMNED - BLUR - FOCUS - T. REX - BECK USD $9.64 [4 bids]
16h 22m
FOCUS - Moving Waves - Germany LP Vinyl Records MN- USD $39.99 Buy It Now 16h 44m
Focus 1976 Tour Programme USD $24.42 Buy It Now 17h 19m
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY BEST OF 2012 12-DISC COLLECTION GOOD SHAPE, SHIPS QUICK! USD $12.99 Buy It Now 17h 26m
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY BEST OF 2013 12-DISC COLLECTION GOOD SHAPE, SHIPS QUICK! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 17h 29m
Absurd Minds - The Focus (CD) USD $4.48 Buy It Now 17h 44m
music for sleeping and deep relaxation // AMBIENT PIANO MUSIC FOR SLEEP FOCUS USD $5.13 Buy It Now 17h 50m
Blue Cheer 45 SUMMERTIME BLUES / OUT OF FOCUS ~ Philips VG+ rock USD $3.28 Buy It Now 17h 55m
STRAN GETZ: Focus USA VERVE GF Orig MONO Jazz VINYL LP Super VG+ USD $18.00 Buy It Now 18h 54m
Stan Getz: Focus CD W/ Eddie Sauter USD $6.95 Buy It Now 19h 16m
Beanie Sigel The Focus CD 2009 Rap Hip Hop USD $9.49 Buy It Now 19h 47m
Focus : In & out of... / At the Rainbow cd USD $15.87 Buy It Now 20h 32m
PHIL ASHER PRESENTS FOCUS Sweet And Sour VIA-0004 CD JAPAN 2002 NEW USD $75.39 Buy It Now 20h 33m
Soft Focus - Ocean Party 602537996025 (CD Used Very Good) USD $17.33 Buy It Now 20h 40m
Ted Heath -Focus On -2Lps- g/foldFree UK Post USD $14.91 Buy It Now 21h 9m
Joe Pugliese - Jazz In Focus LP 4237-RARE DJ Breaks, Beats, Samples Funk Disco USD $324.99 [0 bids]
22h 3m
Rare FOCUS MOVING WAVES Blue 8 Track Tape. TESTED. USD $12.00 Buy It Now 22h 26m
NEW Black Focus (Audio CD) USD $14.20 Buy It Now 22h 34m
FOCUS - MOTHER FOCUS - ATCO LBL - 1975 LP - JAN AKKERMAN USD $12.95 Buy It Now 1 day
FOCUS ON PHASE 4 STEREO 1968 KITSCH EASY LISTENING VINYL COMPILATION LP NM/EX USD $6.43 Buy It Now 1 day
Sub Focus ?- Could This Be Real 12" Vinyl 2010 Ram records RAMM82 45rpm USD $9.99 [0 bids]
USD $14.99 Buy It Now
1 day
Blur, Music That Brings Focus By Blur USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day

More places to buy FOCUS music online Buy FOCUS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
FOCUS has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

FOCUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FOCUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 258 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
1970
4.08 | 616 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.78 | 427 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 901 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.60 | 180 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.07 | 138 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.47 | 81 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.52 | 61 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.70 | 120 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.10 | 86 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.47 | 108 ratings
X
2012
3.48 | 45 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.65 | 26 ratings
Focus and Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016

FOCUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 119 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.32 | 20 ratings
Live at the BBC
1996
3.94 | 16 ratings
Live in America
2003
3.07 | 6 ratings
Live Legends - The Greatest Hits of Focus
2004
2.71 | 15 ratings
Focus The Greatest Hits
2004
4.67 | 6 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.09 | 3 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.50 | 8 ratings
Live In England
2016

FOCUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 22 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.91 | 26 ratings
Live In America
2003
3.98 | 15 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
4.17 | 6 ratings
Live in England
2009

FOCUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Masters of Rock 1971 - 1973
1974
4.34 | 4 ratings
The Story of Focus
1974
4.15 | 4 ratings
Focus - Special Polydor
1975
4.94 | 12 ratings
Dutch Masters 1969 - 1973
1975
4.00 | 2 ratings
Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978
1979
4.33 | 3 ratings
House of the King
1983
2.57 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
1984
3.53 | 59 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
1994

FOCUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 8 ratings
Hocus Pocus / Janis
1971
2.60 | 6 ratings
Sylvia
1972
3.07 | 5 ratings
Harem Scarem
1974
3.14 | 5 ratings
House Of The King / O Avondrood
1976

FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ship Of Memories by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.07 | 138 ratings

BUY
Ship Of Memories
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Like Led Zeppelin Coda, this is not a "real" studio album, but a collection of unreleased tracks from this famous dutch band. After the disaster that was their latest LP (Mother Focus) and the departure of guitarist Jan Akkerman, it was clear the band needed to have something to fulfill contractual obligations until they could get someone to replace him and come up with newer material. So Ship Of memories was the obvious solution: tracks rejected for their previous records put together in one place. Of course the quality of the songs vary wildly and the album has absolutely no coherency or even flow. To be fair, there are a couple of very good songs: the opener PS March is one of them, and Focus V is another: both have fine melodies, tasteful arrangements and great trademark guitar solos by Akkerman. But those are the exception to the rule. Most of the tracks are only average, butthere are also some hideous stuff like the funky Crackers and the jazz rock/disco Glider. The title track is not even a song: it´s just some musical noises put together in less than 2 minutes, a real turd.

Although this is not a total loss, saved partially because of Akkerman´s beautiful guitar licks even on the worst tracks, and this is somewhat better than Mother Focus, Ship Of Memories is typically the case of release to satisfy only the hardcore fans and collectors. Focus doubtless lost their focus (pun intended) around 1975 and was one of the first great prog acts to lost its way during the mid to late 70´s. Unfortunately they would not be alone, but that´s another story. I can recommend this album to the ones that have and love their earlier works up and including Hamburger concerto and want to have it all, even a bunch of previous rejected material.

 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.60 | 180 ratings

BUY
Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars At the time I did not have this album and for a long period I also did not know why the great guitarist Jan Akkerman left the band. Now listening to other Focus I can understand: after the glorious Hamburger Concerto, this was a major blow. Lots of prog bands were stuck in a rut one time or another during their career, but clearly Focus was one of the first. It seems that This Van Leer�´s jazz/rock leanings and Bert Ruiter�´s love for funk music gained the upper hand here over their previous symphonic sound. I understand that the guitarist was losing ground after the departure of Pierre Van Der Linden (who also wanted to remain in the classic symphonic sounds of old) and now it showed. In any case, Mother Focus is proof that the band (or part of it) wanted to try other things. The results were dismal, however: longe jazz, funk and soul tracks, a little jazz/rock fusion too, but everything way below anything they had created before. Only two tracks here justify their former glories: Focus IV and No Hang Ups, both still inspired (but not much) and bearing all Focus trademark sound: beautiful guitar solos, nice organ background, excellent flute interventions.

But there are truly awful tracks too, like I Need A Bathroom (fitting title!) and the pseudo funk My Sweetheart. Overall the feeling remains of a great group who just menage to release a mediocre album to fulfill their contractual obligations, for the LP lacks any real direction, inspiration or energy. A real let down after the fine Hamburger Concerto. And the end of an era for this classic band. Now I truly understand and have to agree that it was better for Akkerman to leave the band then to stay aboard, if that meant another album like this one.

Rating: two good songs to justify a 2 star rating. For collectors, completionists and hardcore fans, only.

 Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
3.53 | 59 ratings

BUY
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

3 stars Unlike some prog fans, I actually like compilations if they are done well. Unfortunately, Hocus Pocus Best of Focus is a bit of a wasted opportunity. For starters it includes too many tracks from their first rather average debut album. "House of the King" is admittedly a great Tull-like instrumental and no compilation would be complete without it. But the inclusion of "Anonymous" which is essentially a jam based on the introduction section of "House of the King" wastes valuable playing time especially when so many more essential tracks have been left off the album.The track "Focus" is actually a pleasant track but at nearly ten minutes again takes up too much time in my opinion. The Moving Waves album is well represented with the full version of "Hocus Pocus","Janis", "Focus2"and "Tommy". Particularly annoying though is the fact that the double Focus3 album is only represented by "Sylvia" and "Focus3".I wish the compilation had included the quirky opening track from that album "Round Goes the Gossip" and maybe even "Elspeth of Nottingham" which showcased the more folky side of the group. The Hamburger Concerto, one of the group's strongest albums is only represented by the exciting opening track "Harem Scarem".This is again annoying especially when the somewhat weaker follow album Mother Focus is over represented with three tracks as is their final album, Ship of Memories.And do we really need another version of "Hocus Pocus"? I am still giving this album a solid three stars because there is a lot of enjoyable music on display here but really it could have been a five star one stop shop if a bit more thought had gone into the track selections.The Polydor Special compilation which is only a modest single vinyl album is a far better representation of the group- maybe that album should be re-released on CD.
 Focus Con Proby by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.47 | 81 ratings

BUY
Focus Con Proby
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars When I first saw the cover of this album back in the seventies I had the feeling that Focus would fall in the same trap as several other acts fo that era: a commercial take of an ex great prog band. I did not listen to it at the time. I had enough disillusion with a number of bands at the period (Triumvirat and Camel just to name two) to add another one. Focus with a british one hit wonder singer? Without Jan Akkermann? That could not be good! So it was over 30 years before I had the patience and curiosity to try it.

Looking back, I found that Focus Con Proby was not nearly as bad as I thought. But I guess I´d be disappointed anyway: it sounds way too different from the Focus I knew and loved. Their sound changed from symphonic prog to a much more jazz rock/fusion direction, thanks largely to Akkermann´s replacement, the belgium guitarist Philp Catherine. Although some songs are really good, the instrumentals (always Focus strong point) are also the average jazz-rock you would expect from almost everyone in the area (Soft Machine with Allan Holdsworth, Jean Luc Ponty and so on). Only Sneezing Bull is somewhat different, probably because of Van Leer´s flute playing.

As for P.J. Proby himself, he has a nice voice and does a good job overall, depending on the quality of the songs he sang: the opener Wingless is very good, while Eddy is a boring, throwaway pop tune. Tokyo Rose is a strange mix: sounds like classic Focus tune with added lyrics. Interesting experiment, I guess, but it did not work. Brother is nice and I remember Focus playing it in my hometown during their brazilian tour in 2002. How long is a mediocre tune. And so it goes.

Conclusion: not a total disaster, but too different and inconsistent to be considered a valid statement from this great band. As anyone else at the time Focus tried to do something to get them out of the rut they´re in but was not successful. If you´re into jazz rock/fusion maybe you´ll enjoy the instrumentals. But the uneven quality of the vocal tracks spoil the overall feeling of the album. This one is definitely for collectors and fans only. And not one for the newbies.

 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 427 ratings

BUY
3
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Most people are introduced to Focus through the Hocus Pocus single, which thanks to its yodelling makes people think of them as, if not an outright novelty group, at least a somewhat comedic lot. The more serious side of Focus, however, gets perhaps its best workout on Focus 3, a double album of instrumental prog with jazzy inflections. Album closer House of the King, borrowed from the debut album to avoid side 4 becoming weirdly short, nicely illustrates how far the band have come from their early days; the piece sounds like an unabashed attempt to riff on the style of early Jethro Tull, whilst the rest of the double album showcases a much more original sound.
 Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 258 ratings

BUY
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars This is the inaugural album by this legendary band, in which we may already feel the multiple compositional souls. Tracks are highly diverse in style and mood. Here you'll find the few sung themes in the Focus career, which are very immature in my view, tasteless, lingering between ambient, pop and prog. In other themes we can also appreciate the seed of what later would be the stylistic trademarks of the band, such as in Anonymous, and the opening and closing eponymous tracks. The legendary instrumental mastery of leaders van Leer and Ackerman is still on the way, but not yet. This album has mostly an historical significance, for fans and collectors; it does not have much musical interest. It does not even anticipate how big these guys would become or what they would be doing a few months later.
 Hamburger Concerto by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 901 ratings

BUY
Hamburger Concerto
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars For those familiar with Focus early production during Thijs van Leer and Ackerman era, this is probably the climax of their musical production. Entirely instrumental as the other albums, it has something that makes this album unique. Although it uses the typical elements of the band, it sounds different to all its predecessors, smoother, more intimate, full of musical subtleties. The band adventures in musical avenues never tried, it is a true compositional work from start to end. The music is cheerful, inspired, evoking, hard to classify, with tunes and motifs that we hadn't heard before, and probably we won't, ever. One of a kind. The smooth air may distract the first time, it has to be played several times to realize that you are enjoying an all-time masterpiece. All tracks are impressive, but you may start by Birth and continue with the Hamburger Concerto. For reviewing, I have listened four times in a row, and I think I'll keep it running the rest of the day. Why wouldn't they keep in the same track, dammit! This is no doubt one of the gems of any genre in the history of music, and one of the reasons why we shouldn't be so generous giving 5s.
 Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.08 | 616 ratings

BUY
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars 4.5 There are hundreds perfect songs in the history of modern Rock music, but if I had to highlight a bunch, I would choose these five: Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, La Grange by ZZ Top, Hotel California by The Eagles, My Sharona by The Knack, and Hocus Pocus by Focus, included in this album. These are immortal titles that will be played once and again as long as the mankind has ears, and beyond. The popularity of Hocus Pocus is such that made Focus to break in the international scene. It also helped pushing up the ratings of this album in PA. It is an excellent one, but not as much accomplished as the Following #3, for instance. Besides the mentioned one, there is another track, this one yes, deserving the Olympo of Prog, called Eruption, a 23 min making the B-side of the album that contains all the elements of the band, amazing musicianship, great melodies, impressive guitar and Hammond riffs, and surprising innovative tunes that pushed ahead the music of their times. There are a few softers not much of my taste in the A- side by which I didn't give 5 stars.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 427 ratings

BUY
3
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars Focus is probably the legendary band more difficult to describe. Instrumental, that one was easy, but their music had many souls. They had a rocker side and a softer melodic ambient weird whatever side. Ackerman and Thijs van Leer are amazing musicians and the rest of the band, Ruiter at the bass and van der Linden at the drums were also incredible, and deploy here some of their more enjoyable pieces. This album contains two of the major hits of the band, and stretching through their schizoid soul, the softy one incarnated by the classic hit Silvia, which begins with some of the best known intro guitar notes in the history of music. The hard prog-rock side comes from the 26 min long Anonymous II, a piece for live concerts including drum and bass solos where the instruments excel. A bunch of Other tracks are also memorable, as Love Remembered, a soft strange blending with flute and Spanish guitar with Mediterranean/Arabian flavors. Carnival Fugue is a smooth delicatessen that begins with 15 seconds to remind, a few piano notes in the front and beautiful guitar motifs interposed as a counterpoint in the background, it then continues mixing baroque and an exquisite instrumental for dancing. Focus III is one of a saga, prelude of their later music for grannies in75's Mother Focus, but still with several interesting melodies and variable tempos. Answers and questions contains a major solo guitar, not to miss, Ackerman is here at his best. This album is a masterpiece of prog, for the musicianship, variety, composition and the memorable tracks.
 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.60 | 180 ratings

BUY
Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars This is one of the first albums in my collection; I bought it as a tape back in 76 or 77, before the CDs were released. At that time I hadn't listened much of the band, just about what was being broadcasted in radios, Hocus Pocus, and Silvia. I first thought someone had made a mistake and swapped labels with another band. But they were the real Focus! But completelly freed of their rocker side. How to describe this. It is as if the grandmothers of the band members had asked to write some music (may be that's where the album title comes from). Others would say this is ambient music for supermarkets or elevators. But if you are familiar with their former production, you know they always had a schizoid musical soul. Anyway, this is probably the best supermarket music ever. Don't need to check it all, you may be disappointed, but it contains a jewel: if you want to wake up in the morning in a good mood, just listen to the theme All Together? Oh That! It is pure joy, you'll feel good at least till you get to your workplace.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives