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FOCUS

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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Focus picture
Focus biography
Founded in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1969 - Disbanded in 1978 - Reunited 1985, 1990, 1999 - Reformed in 2002

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.

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Buy FOCUS Music


Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$9.25
$10.32 (used)
Focus Family AlbumFocus Family Album
Cherry Red 2017
$12.99
$19.56 (used)
Live at the RainbowLive at the Rainbow
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$9.49
$7.01 (used)
Live In EnglandLive In England
Cherry Red 2016
$13.28
$28.51 (used)
Hocus Pocus BoxHocus Pocus Box
Box set
Red Bullet 2017
$39.12
$34.99 (used)
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
$9.78
$10.37 (used)
Hamburger ConcertoHamburger Concerto
Reissued
MSI:RED BULLET 2001
$9.60
$10.19 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Focus con P J Proby 1978 press advert poster USD $6.63 Buy It Now
22 Electrifying Hits LP Blue Mink, Nazareth, Lindisfarne, Focus, Geordie - VG+ USD $10.62 Buy It Now
FOCUS -HAMBURGER CONCERTO - VINYL LP USD $6.63 [0 bids]
FOCUS - MOVING WAVES , BLUE HORIZON 1971 , VG/VG- ,LP USD $6.63 [0 bids]
Focus ?- Live At The Rainbow Vinyl LP 1973 VGC USD $8.57 [0 bids]
Focus (2) - Sylvia (Vinyl) USD $15.93 Buy It Now
NEW Focus Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD) USD $15.63 Buy It Now 14m 13s
The Real Earl Hines Recorded Live! In Concert LP Focus 335 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 14m 20s
Rhythmic Tides of Relaxation (1996) CD for Living Well, Focus & Mindfulness USD $13.29 Buy It Now 26m 21s
Focus-Sylvia C/W Hocus Pocus 7" Picture Sleeve Vinyl Single Reissued In 1985 EMI USD $7.65 [0 bids]
50m 13s
FOCUS Hocus Pocus 7" VINYL Dutch Imperial 1971 B/W Janis (5C00624415) Pic USD $28.28 Buy It Now 1h 5m
Neil Diamond-Focus on.double lp USD $10.63 Buy It Now 1h 13m
FOCUS Sylvia 7" VINYL US Sire 1972 Re-Issue B/W Love Remembered (Saa708) USD $5.64 Buy It Now 1h 16m
Focus - At The Rainbow ULTRA RARE LIMITED COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 1h 26m
Focus - Focus 3 ULTRA RARE LIMITED COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 1h 27m
FOCUS HOCUS POCUS 7" 45 VINYL NEW RSD LOW #00O039 RECORD STORE DAY 2016 LIMITED USD $55.99 Buy It Now 1h 30m
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Audio Book Sale: Miscellaneous (2) - Pick what you want to save USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 45m
Audio Book Sale: Miscellaneous (5) - Pick what you want to save USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1h 46m
Audio Book Sale: Miscellaneous (13) - Pick what you want to save USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 47m
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Max Bygraves : Focus On Max Bygraves : Double Vinyl Album : DECCA : FOS 55/56 USD $13.01 Buy It Now 2h 24m
Roy Orbison ?- Focus On Roy Orbison 2x Vinyl LP London Records ?- FOS-U 15/16 USD $14.60 Buy It Now 2h 27m
In Focus (UK 1985) : Howard Riley & Keith Tippett USD $19.93 Buy It Now 2h 31m
Tune Your Brain With Mozart: Focus, Mozart, W.a., Very Good USD $2.75 Buy It Now 2h 47m
ETERNITY FOCUS THE BEST IS YET TO BE BRAND NEW CD FREES&H USD $10.99 Buy It Now 2h 54m
Lost in Focus by Apiary Heavy Metal Brand New & Factory Sealed Free USA Shipping USD $5.59 Buy It Now 3h 9m
FOCUS [1 DISC] [602498840337] NEW CD USD $12.37 Buy It Now 3h 14m
FOCUS "HAREM SCAREM / BIRTH" 45 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3h 14m
FOCUS IN AND OUT OF FOCUS PAPER LABELS cassette tape album T674 USD $9.29 Buy It Now 3h 17m
FOCUS (THIJS VAN LEER/JAN AKKERMAN) moving waves LP NM/EX SAS 7401 usa sire USD $4.99 [0 bids]
3h 39m
FOCUS MOVING WAVES excellent+ 1971 UK VINYL LP USD $10.63 [0 bids]
3h 40m
Throbbing Gristle ?Assume Power Focus Hollows Hill Industrial Electronic COIL CD USD $10.00 Buy It Now 4h 16m
FOCUS - Moving Waves - Germany LP Vinyl Records MN USD $29.99 Buy It Now 4h 17m
Focus On Ronnie Aldrich, 1975 Vinyl LP Record. USD $1.58 [0 bids]
4h 26m
JAN AKKERMAN & Claus Ogerman ARANJUEZ Vinyl LP Orig 1st Pressing UK 1978 FOCUS USD $13.22 Buy It Now 4h 53m
JAN AKKERMAN Live VINYL LP Original UK 1978 Atlantic FOCUS USD $8.62 Buy It Now 4h 53m
JAN AKKERMAN & KAZ LUZ 'Eli' VINYL LP 1976 UK First Press Atlantic INSERT Focus USD $8.62 Buy It Now 4h 53m
FOCUS Mother Focus VINYL LP Original 1975 USA Atco Label Issue USD $8.62 Buy It Now 4h 54m
CYRIL HAVERMANS 'CYRIL' Vinyl LP Original UK 1973 MGM LP Gatefold FOCUS Bassist USD $8.62 Buy It Now 4h 54m
FOCUS In And Out of Focus VINYL LP Original 1971 UK Polydor LP Gatefold Slv USD $15.94 Buy It Now 4h 54m
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY BEST OF 2012 12-DISC COLLECTION GOOD SHAPE, SHIPS QUICK! USD $12.99 Buy It Now 4h 59m
Absurd Minds - The Focus (CD) USD $4.98 Buy It Now 5h 17m
JESSICA WILLIAMS - Vol. 1-best Of Jessica Williams On Jazz Focus - CD - Mint USD $13.75 Buy It Now 5h 20m
Planet ?- Dog - (Focus Records) USD $11.95 [0 bids]
6h 23m
STRAN GETZ: Focus USA VERVE GF Orig MONO Jazz VINYL LP Super VG+ USD $18.00 Buy It Now 6h 27m
Hits Of The Rocking 70s LP Slade, Bee Gees, Focus, Jimmy Ruffin - CN 2011 - VG USD $9.29 Buy It Now 6h 41m
Faith in Focus Audio CD  (CD, Jan-2015, Bluewave Studios) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 6h 46m
Stan Getz: Focus CD W/ Eddie Sauter USD $6.95 Buy It Now 6h 49m
Apiary - Lost In Focus (2006) PROMO ALBUM USD $2.64 Buy It Now 6h 59m
Modern Industry Focus Music Library FCD180 UK CD Album USD $15.80 [0 bids]
7h
Music CD "FOCUS ON HOLLYWOOD" / Miami Vice / Top Gun / Rambo / +++ USD $4.99 Buy It Now 7h 6m
FOCUS "HAREM SCREAM" ON THE POLYDOR LABEL 1974FOCUS USD $3.99 [0 bids]
7h 9m
Clueless - Let's Focus On The Good Times, Honey JAPAN CD OBI G-17403 USD $5.97 Buy It Now 7h 27m
Focus - Moving Waves 1988 EMI X 2-13060 [1972 PROG] PROGRESSIVE ROCK CLASSIC USD $9.00 Buy It Now 7h 29m
Fixed Focus [Slipcase] by Saint Pé (CD, Apr-2017, Ernest Jenning) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
7h 44m
BLUE CHEER "SUMMERTIME BLUES" / "OUT OF FOCUS" 7" 45 MINT- USD $7.99 Buy It Now 7h 53m
JAN AKKERMAN Tabernakel VINYL LP Original UK 1973 1ST PRESS Gatefold FOCUS NM USD $10.62 Buy It Now 7h 56m
BILLY MITCHELL - IN FOCUS OPTIMISM INCORPORATED-CD USD $0.99 [0 bids]
8h 23m
FOCUS: Focus 3 USA '72 Sire Prog Symphonic Rock Masterepiece 2x LP NM- Wax USD $20.00 Buy It Now 9h 26m
Focus Jazz, Various Artists, Good USD $15.13 Buy It Now 9h 48m
Rare FOCUS MOVING WAVES Blue 8 Track Tape. TESTED. USD $12.00 Buy It Now 9h 59m
Focus - Focus 3 NL 2LP 1972 FOC /4* USD $14.30 Buy It Now 10h 7m
Focus on Hollywood Miami Vice Flashdance Dallas Dynasty Top Gun ET FREE US SHIPP USD $8.98 Buy It Now 11h 17m
FOCUS - MOTHER FOCUS - ATCO LBL - 1975 LP - JAN AKKERMAN USD $12.95 Buy It Now 11h 35m
Focus on The Family--Teaching Truth in A Modern Day Culture 2CD 2006 USD $1.65 Buy It Now 11h 50m
Focus - Moving Waves GER LP 1972 /3* USD $16.62 Buy It Now 11h 56m
Focus on the Family 40th Anniversary CD Collection USD $9.99 Buy It Now 12h 28m
FOCUS - X. - CD Album Damaged Case USD $8.58 Buy It Now 12h 35m
Roy Orbison - Focus On Roy Orbison UK 2LP 1976 FOC /3* USD $13.18 Buy It Now 13h 6m
Faust Od Serca Do Duszy Vinyl LP NEW Can Guru Guru Focus Kaftwerk Kraut Rock USD $44.99 Buy It Now 13h 21m
FOCUS At The Rainbow JAPAN CD CP28-1049 w/OBI+INSERT 1988 2800 GREENLINE issue USD $39.99 [0 bids]
13h 43m
FOCUS 3 - SELF TITLED - SIRE RECORDS DOUBLE LP USD $14.50 Buy It Now 14h 8m
JAN AKKERMAN & KAZ LUX eli JAPAN mini lp CD Focus SEALED BRAND NEW ONLY COPY USD $29.99 Buy It Now 14h 15m
Faith Comes By Hearing-Faith in Focus CD NEW USD $12.36 Buy It Now 14h 15m
Focus ?- Sylvia / House Of The King 7'' Vinyl 1972 Polydor ?- 2001-422 USD $3.32 Buy It Now 14h 47m
Lost in Focus by Apiary (CD, May-2006, Metal Blade) USD $8.50 [0 bids]
14h 49m
Barbara Parker-A Little out of Focus CD NEW USD $13.73 Buy It Now 15h 41m
Focus - Ship Of Memories US LP 1977 /4* USD $14.40 Buy It Now 15h 50m
QUEEN-MARILLION-FOCUS-JETHRO TULL-BABE RUTH MINT 2xLP Greece only USD $25.00 Buy It Now 16h 18m
FOCUS - X / LTD.180G BLUE VINYL NEW CD USD $28.82 Buy It Now 16h 23m
Focus Con Proby Rare Israeli LP Prog USD $20.00 Buy It Now 16h 50m
Focus Moving Waves Rare Israeli LP Prog Progressive USD $20.00 Buy It Now 16h 50m
FOCUS - SYLVIA / HOUSE OF THE KING - POLYDOR 1972 - ORIGINAL 70s PROG ROCK USD $2.59 Buy It Now 16h 56m
Nat.sing-Re:Focus CD NEW USD $9.71 Buy It Now 16h 58m
FOCUS3+III+Hocus+Sylvia+POSTER+AD+RARE ORIGINAL 1972+FRAMED+EXPRESS GLOBAL SHIP USD $119.52 Buy It Now 17h 6m
FOCUS HAMBERGER CONCERTO CASSETTE USD $9.29 Buy It Now 17h 25m
FOCUS Ship of Memories 1976 OZ EMI VG+/VG++ USD $8.95 Buy It Now 17h 32m
DOUG PARKINSON No Regrets DEBUT Solo LP Oz SOUL/ROCK 1973 RARE!! La De Das FOCUS USD $99.99 Buy It Now 17h 38m
FOCUS - HOCUS POCUS / HOCUS POCUS II - 7" VINYL - U.S. PRESSING USD $1.28 [0 bids]
18h 12m
DARTS -COME BACK MY LOVE 7"+ELTON JOHN+ROXY MUSIC+DURAN DURAN+alex harvey+focus USD $1.32 [0 bids]
18h 47m
FOCUS 'Hocus Pocus 2' 1972 German 7"/45 rpm vinyl single USD $13.27 Buy It Now 19h 5m
FOCUS 'Sylvia / Love Remembered' 1973 Yugoslavian 7"/45 rpm vinyl single USD $14.60 Buy It Now 19h 41m
Focus - Moving Waves FRA LP 1971 /3* USD $18.83 Buy It Now 19h 49m
HANS KNUDSEN JUMPBAND / JUMP IN FOCUS... USD $14.15 Buy It Now 20h 2m
KONRAD WISZNIEWSKI/EUAN STEVENSON (PIANO) - NEW FOCUS USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $11.44 Buy It Now 20h 11m
Golden Oldies Focus Vinyl Record USD $33.15 Buy It Now 20h 12m

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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)

3.48 | 273 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
1970
4.09 | 640 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.78 | 446 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 947 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.69 | 188 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.14 | 150 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.49 | 91 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.48 | 69 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.67 | 131 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.09 | 94 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.46 | 116 ratings
X
2012
3.46 | 48 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.66 | 35 ratings
Focus and Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016

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

3.45 | 122 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.32 | 24 ratings
Live at the BBC
1996
3.94 | 18 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
4.63 | 8 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.13 | 5 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.83 | 10 ratings
Live In England
2016

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

4.04 | 23 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.91 | 28 ratings
Live In America
2003
3.98 | 16 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
4.14 | 7 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
3.52 | 61 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
1994
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Focus Family Album
2017

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
House of the King
1970
3.28 | 10 ratings
Hocus Pocus / Janis
1971
2.75 | 7 ratings
Sylvia
1972
2.10 | 2 ratings
Tommy / Focus II
1972
2.14 | 2 ratings
Hocus Pocus 2
1972
3.13 | 6 ratings
Harem Scarem
1974
3.14 | 5 ratings
House Of The King / O Avondrood
1976

FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hocus Pocus 2 by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
2.14 | 2 ratings

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Hocus Pocus 2
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars The Punk version

Hocus Pocus 2 is a different version of Hocus Pocus. This version was never included on any album, but was released as a single in some territories with House of the King on the B-side. In America, Hocus Pocus 2 was released as the B-side to Hocus Pocus (the single edit of the "normal" version).

The "sequel" starts out quite differently with just drums and bass, before the familiar guitar riff enters. It is played faster than the original version, and comes off a bit rawer; Punkish almost.

A bit of a curiosity, this rare version may be interesting for hard core fans and collectors. But the novelty wears off quickly, and it certainly does not stand up to comparisons with the original Hocus Pocus.

 Tommy / Focus II by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
2.10 | 2 ratings

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Tommy / Focus II
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Introduced by Pupilla

Tommy (Introduced by Pupilla) is an excerpt from Eruption, which occupies the second side of the Moving Waves album. It is not an obvious choice for a single, but it was so released coupled with Focus II from the same album. The latter is an excellent number, but the former does not really benefit from being taken out of its context and presented in this form. For a big Focus fan like me, it is interesting to hear the edited version. But once the curiosity has been settled, there is not much enduring value in this snippet from Eruption, making it for fans and collectors only.

The single version of Tommy later appeared on the compilation Hocus Pocus: Best of Focus.

 Hocus Pocus / Janis by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
3.28 | 10 ratings

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Hocus Pocus / Janis
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Sometimes less is more

An edited version of Hocus Pocus was released as a single to support the band's second album, Moving Waves (originally called Focus II). While the album version is almost seven minutes long, the single version is just over three minutes in length. Normally, I despise single edits, as they tend to butcher a great song, and in almost all cases it goes horribly wrong. Hocus Pocus is a rare exception, and I think that nothing of value is lost in this shorter version of the song. To the contrary, I actually think that the longer album version is overlong and repeats itself too many times, making this edited single version preferable over the album version.

The B-side here is Janis, a lovely instrumental taken from the Moving Waves album. The two sides of this single showcase two different sides of Focus very well, making it a very good advertisement for the band and for the Moving Waves album in particular.

A worthy single

 House of the King by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1970
3.00 | 2 ratings

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House of the King
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars A classic!

Penned by Jan Akkerman and clocking in at under three minutes, the instrumental House of the King was released as a single in 1970 and became a surprise hit for the band. The melody is driven by Thijs van Leer's wonderful flute.

The tune was not originally inlcuded on any album, but was later added on to some editions of the band's debut album, and again a few years later to Focus 3. The track has also been included on many compilations.

The B-side on this single was Black Beauty, taken from the debut album Focus Plays Focus (later renamed In and Out of Focus). But different versions of the single have other B-sides, and House of the King has itself appeared as the B-side on other singles by the band.

There can be no doubt that progressive Rock is an album genre, but there are some cases where a tune stands equally well (or even better) on its own as in the context of other songs, and House of the King is one of those cases.

 Ship Of Memories by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.14 | 150 ratings

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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
2.69 | 188 ratings

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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
3.52 | 61 ratings

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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
2.49 | 91 ratings

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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 | 446 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.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 446 ratings

BUY
3
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Back in 1993 I started buying Focus albums. Moving Waves was the first Focus album I ever heard, I won't forget hearing "Hocus Pocus" in 1989 as a teenager (right smack in the era of New Kids on the Block) and being blown away by this song (to be honest, I remembered hearing this song as a small kid, so it wasn't new to me, just that in 1989 it really caught my attention). I often wondered why I never heard any other Focus songs on the radio. When I finally heard Moving Waves, that album blew me away, not just "Hocus Pocus", but the side-length "Eruption". OK, so I now understand, it's mostly instrumental, which radio stations tended to stay away, and the best cut, other than "Hocus Pocus" was too long and maybe not the most radio friendly. I then bought Focus 3, the US pressing on Sire with the die-cut cover (but without the rainbow "Focus 3" effect, it's just simply a rainbow "Focus 3" logo) and I didn't quite liked it as much. This album really proved to me why you never heard any other Focus songs on the radio, but through the years, I can see why I was a bit hard on the album. Perhaps a bit excessive at times, but then it dawned on me, Cream likely did similar things live, but they'd do it in a blues-based manner, which Focus would never do. "Round Goes the Gossip" is the only song with singing, in fact the little bit of Latin is the only singing (other than the phrase "Round Goes the Gossip" being repeated over and over). "Love Remembered", Jan Akkerman's piece is a pretty sappy piece, with acoustic guitar and Thijs van Leer's flute, with something like a Theremin or an Ondes Martenot. "Sylvia" was a minor hit in the States, but apparently a major one in Europe, I have absolutely no recollections of this song on the radio, so obviously it didn't have an impact on FM radio the way of "Hocus Pocus" here in the States. Regardless this song is much more typical Focus than "Hocus Pocus", so while you might want to play "Hocus Pocus" to jog people's memories, "Sylvia" is a song to direct the uninitiated (that is if their reaction was "I remembered Hocus Pocus"). "Carnival Fugue" (I now also own a French pressing on the Az label that amusingly titled it "Carnival Fudge" on the label, but still titled "Carnival Fugue on the cover). starts off with classical piano and jazzy guitar, before going into a rhythm that reminds me of the Beatles' "Do You Wanna Know a Secret". "Focus III" also demonstrates all the best quality of Focus, I really love Jan Akkerman's lead guitar playing and the organ playing. I remembered hearing Petula Clark's "Don't Sleep in the Subway", and I noticed that Focus borrowed from this song! "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" gets more lengthy, with lots of guitar and organ jams, plus a slow organ-dominated piece. But it was the next song that really stuck a craw with me, and that's "Anonymous II". At times I can easily dismiss it as nothing but a wankfest, demonstrated the '70s at its most excess, other times I considered it a great and ingenious jam where each member gets their chance to solo. I really like the Bert Ruiter bass solo that starts off slowly before eventually the rest of the band starts back in and then the whole band jams. It's the Pierre van der Linden drum solo that can seem a bit excessive, but then I'm sure he's getting ideas from Ginger Baker's Cream drum solo on "Toad". Then it dawned on me: I am certain Cream did similar stuff live. Of course, with them the music would be much more blues-based, Ginger Baker would do a drum solo like on "Toad", playing drums like he rides a bicycle (Baker's drumming was influenced by his biking), and I seriously doubt Jack Bruce would dive into a bass solo (he probably knew better), the closest I can think of is Blind Faith's "Do What You Like" (which was basically Cream minus Jack Bruce, and instead Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech, formerly of Family). Of course, "Anonymous II" was a sequel to the original off In & Out of Focus (Focus Plays Focus), drawn out nearly three times longer. "Elsbeth of Nottingham" is clearly Jan Akkerman's piece, totally medieval influenced, with lute and recorders. Although "House of the King" has been featured on some pressings of In & Out of Focus (and only released as a single in Holland), it makes a reappearance here on album because some countries didn't have that song on In & Out of Focus. When I first bought Focus 3, I often wondered why "House of the King" seemed so out of place on the album. It's an earlier recording, with Hans Cleuver and Martijn Dresden instead of Bert Ruiter and Pierre van der Linden. Regardless, this is truly a classic, in the Jethro Tull vein, and one of the finest songs of Focus, too bad that didn't get picked up for American FM radio airplay.

So I'm still a bit torn over this album, it's agreed perhaps a bit of baggage could have easily been removed, but make no doubt the amount of great brilliant material included.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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