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FOCUS

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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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

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Buy FOCUS Music


Moving WavesMoving Waves
Import · Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$8.26
$6.47 (used)
Focus 9/New SkinFocus 9/New Skin
Import
RED BULLET 2006
Audio CD$9.27
$9.26 (used)
Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$8.29
$6.46 (used)
Focus 3Focus 3
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$8.08
$9.14 (used)
Ship of MemoriesShip of Memories
Import · Remastered
Imports 2001
Audio CD$8.61
$11.47 (used)
In & Out of FocusIn & Out of Focus
Import
Music on Vinyl 2011
Vinyl$34.49
$17.85 (used)
Hamburger ConcertoHamburger Concerto
Import
MSI:RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$9.83
$9.86 (used)
Best of Focus: Hocus PocusBest of Focus: Hocus Pocus
Import
CAPITOL/EMI/SBK/CHRYSALIS
Audio CD$55.99
$6.77 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Focus Moving Waves - 1st UK vinyl LP album record 2931002 BLUE HORIZON 1971 USD $30.00 Buy It Now
Various-Jazz Focus On Fusion Volumes O... 2-LP (Double ) UK USD $24.11 Buy It Now
Greatest Hits Of Focus Focus vinyl LP album record UK FA4131121 FAME 1984 USD $17.47 Buy It Now
Hamburger Concerto Focus Japanese vinyl LP album record EMS-81016 EMI 1977 USD $53.80 Buy It Now
Stan Getz - Focus [Vinyl New] USD $14.49 Buy It Now
Mick Jagger CD single (CD5 / 5") Out Of Focus UK A7332CD ATLANTIC 1993 USD $11.89 Buy It Now
Mother Focus Focus UK vinyl LP album record 2302036 POLYDOR 1973 USD $36.26 Buy It Now
Focus On Jazz Various-Jazz UK vinyl LP album record 6436032 PHILIPS 1975 USD $19.98 Buy It Now
Focus Moving Waves - 2nd vinyl LP album record UK 2931002 POLYDOR/BLUE HORIZON USD $17.47 Buy It Now
Frank Chacksfield Focus On 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) UK FOS23/24 DECCA USD $17.85 Buy It Now
Focus At The Rainbow Dutch CD album (CDLP) CDM7489692 EMI 1988 USD $21.91 Buy It Now
Focus 3 Focus CD album (CDLP) Dutch RB66.189 RED BULLET 2001 USD $21.91 Buy It Now
Moving Waves Focus Dutch CD album (CDLP) CDM7488622 EMI 1988 USD $21.91 Buy It Now
Alan Price Focus On Alan Price UK 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) FOS65/66 USD $17.85 Buy It Now
Hamburger Concerto - EX Focus vinyl LP album record UK 2442124 POLYDOR 1974 USD $23.74 Buy It Now
Focus Focus 3 USA 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) 2344-039 POLYDOR 1972 USD $42.90 Buy It Now
Cynic Focus - 1st vinyl LP album record Dutch RR9169-1 ROADRUNNER 1991 USD $224.14 Buy It Now
Focus In Concert UK tour programme TOUR PROGRAMME 1976 USD $60.69 Buy It Now
Focus Moving Waves Dutch 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) 5N180-52636/37 USD $30.37 Buy It Now
At The Rainbow - EX Focus vinyl LP album record UK 2442118 POLYDOR 1973 USD $30.00 Buy It Now
Sylvia Focus UK 7" vinyl single record 2001-422 POLYDOR 1972 USD $13.72 Buy It Now
Stan Getz Focus vinyl LP album record UK CLP1577 HIS MASTERS VOICE 1961 USD $23.74 Buy It Now
FOCUS 'meet the band' 1972 UK ARTICLE / clipping USD $12.46 Buy It Now
Tommy Steele 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Focus On UK FOS21/2 DECCA 1977 USD $17.85 Buy It Now
Focus Moving Waves vinyl LP album record USA 2931002 POLYDOR USD $30.00 Buy It Now
Focus Moving Waves vinyl LP album record Japanese MP2311 POLYDOR 1973 USD $61.31 Buy It Now
Focus Focus vinyl LP album record UK 2384070 POLYDOR 1974 USD $23.74 Buy It Now
Blue Cheer -PSYCH ROCK-Summertime Blues & Out Of Focus -EX AUDIO-Phillips 40516 USD $6.99 Buy It Now
Gene Autry 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Focus On UK FOSU45/46 LONDON 1976 USD $24.11 Buy It Now
BILLY MITCHELL/JOHN BOLIVAR "In Focus" NEW SEALED JAZZ CD USD $1.99 Buy It Now
YUSSEF KAMAAL - BLACK FOCUS CD NEW+ USD $22.98 Buy It Now
4 CDs INCREASE CONCENTRATION Improve Your Attention Skills DEVELOP BETTER FOCUS USD $37.99 Buy It Now
3 CDs ADULT ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER ADD MORE FOCUS CONCENTRATION ORGANIZATION USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Max Bygraves : Focus On Max Bygraves : Double Vinyl Album : DECCA : FOS 55/56 USD $12.26 Buy It Now
Hamburger Concerto Focus Vinyl Record USD $19.98 Buy It Now
FOCUS - FOCUS 3 (LIMITED YELLOW VINYL) 2 VINYL LP NEW+ USD $37.62 Buy It Now
FOCUS ship of memories JAPAN mini lp SHM CD THIJS VAN LEER JAN AKKERMAN SEALED USD $18.99 Buy It Now
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto UK 1st Press A1/B1 POLYDOR LP NM  USD $21.29 Buy It Now
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus - CD USD $19.33 Buy It Now
Toydrum - Distant Focus Vol 1 (NEW VINYL LP) USD $19.82 Buy It Now
(FT607) Focus 22 Feat Amanda Lyons, Champs EP - 2010 DJ CD USD $3.75 Buy It Now
STARFLYER 59 - Fashion Focus - CD ** Brand New ** USD $29.49 Buy It Now
STARFLYER 59 - Fashion Focus - CD ** Very Good condition ** USD $16.75 Buy It Now
FOCUS ON PHASE 4 STEREO SAMPLER LP * DECCA BPS1 * FREEPOST UK USD $8.76 [0 bids]
Focus 2012 by Holly Starr USD $4.85 Buy It Now
Ennio Morricone & Dulcepontes - Focus - Pop Vocal USD $24.12 Buy It Now
Lester Peabody - Focus On Guitars (CD) - Instrumental/Guitar USD $24.19 Buy It Now
Wake Up by Out of Focus (CD, Nov-2010, Esoteric Recordings) USD $10.69 Buy It Now
NEW Slow Focus (Audio CD) USD $17.54 Buy It Now
FOCUS - SYLVIA 7" BELGIAN PICTURE SLEEVE USD $1.23 [0 bids]
Focus & Attention Program: Train Your Brain For - Jeff Stron (CD Used Very Good) USD $64.03 Buy It Now
FOCUS - Live On Air SW0015CD EU Import Rare! USD $60.00 Buy It Now
FOCUS | "Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus" CD | Dutch Red bullet pressing USD $5.89 [8 bids]
DJ FOCUS - VINYL BEAT COUNTING SYSTEM / BPM RECORD #1 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 5m 27s
WINSTON SLADE - FOCUS rare Holographic Art cd (Southern Tracks Records) 1997 NEW USD $2.99 Buy It Now 13m 21s
Rock Promo 45 Focus - Harem Scarem / Harem Scarem On Atco USD $5.00 Buy It Now 26m 58s
OUT OF FOCUS - FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON 2 CD USD $15.51 Buy It Now 36m 29s
Prog Rock : Focus : 1970s Dutch matchbox label group USD $2.49 Buy It Now 43m 25s
STRONG,JEFF-FOCUS & ATTENTION PROGRAM: TRAIN YOUR BRAIN FOR CD NEW USD $81.72 Buy It Now 47m 15s
Cynic Focus Rare Advanced Promotional Cassette Tape 1993 Hard To Find Fast Ship! USD $24.00 Buy It Now 1h 31m
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto LP USD $17.54 Buy It Now 1h 35m
FOCUS Focus 3 2xLP EX++/NM/EX++ UK 1st A1 1972 Polydor 2659016 EJDay Gat +Inners USD $31.31 Buy It Now 1h 43m
Rick Laird-Soft Focus-Rare 1979 Jazz LP-Muse 308-Joe Henderson-SEALED USD $13.49 Buy It Now 2h 6m
Focus On Mary O'Hara 12" double vinyl LP USD $2.44 [0 bids]
2h 7m
FOCUS MOVING WAVES JAPAN MINI LP CD USD $19.99 [0 bids]
2h 11m
FOCUS FOCUS 3 JAPAN MINI LP CD SEALED USD $19.99 [0 bids]
2h 13m
VARIOUS-FOCUS FEATURES 10TH ANNIVERSARY - BEST OF / O.S.T. CD NEW USD $17.94 Buy It Now 2h 50m
JAN AKKERMAN-THIJS VAN LEER 'Focus' Original 1985 US Press STILL SEALED LP USD $29.99 Buy It Now 3h 10m
FOCUS 1973 UK tour programme v.g.c. USD $11.26 Buy It Now 3h 14m
FOCUS Harem scarem POLYDOR 7-inch 2058 486! USD $4.38 Buy It Now 3h 23m
For Your Consideration: Focus: Best Original Score FYC PROMO Music CD Mark Adler USD $139.49 Buy It Now 3h 53m
SELF HYPNOSIS CD TO INCREASE CONCENTRATION & FOCUS USD $3.37 Buy It Now 4h 8m
JAN AKKERMAN & THIJS VAN LEER Focus SEALED NEW lp HYPE 1985 824 524-1 Prog Rock USD $23.89 Buy It Now 4h 27m
Gapproject - Sound In Focus - CD USD $11.46 Buy It Now 6h 2m
NOVA MILLENIUM JOHN DENON + CO FOCUS LABEL RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.96 Buy It Now 6h 22m
STEP BACK IN TIME FOCUS MUSIC RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.96 Buy It Now 6h 22m
PROMOS WITH A STING FOCUS MUSIC RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.96 Buy It Now 6h 22m
PROMOS & COMMERCIALS FOCUS MUSIC RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.96 Buy It Now 6h 22m
FOCUS RNB CHART BUSTERS W MALE FEMALE VOCALS RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC USD $5.81 Buy It Now 6h 23m
LATIN GROOVES FOCUS MUSIC RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.20 Buy It Now 6h 23m
FOCUS THE FASHION COLLECTION 3 RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.81 Buy It Now 6h 23m
FOCUS ON THE 90S 90S PASTICHE RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC USD $5.81 Buy It Now 6h 23m
FOCUS MUSIC LIBRARY BOLLYWOOD DREAMS RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.20 Buy It Now 6h 23m
MAD MIX LO FI BEATS P CONNER J THOMPSON FOCUS RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.20 Buy It Now 6h 23m
BLUES AND JAZZ GROOVES MICK PARKER + FOCUS LABEL RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.20 Buy It Now 6h 23m
REA LIFE DRAMA FOCUS RARE LIBRARY SOUNDS MUSIC CD USD $5.81 Buy It Now 6h 23m
BLUE CHEER:Summertime Blues 3:43-Out Of Focus 3:52-France 7" Philips B304.62 PSL USD $48.98 Buy It Now 6h 25m
1986 PICTURE THIS VINYL LP FOCUS RECORDS PRIVATE PRESS WILBRAHAM MA MINT SEALED USD $89.99 Buy It Now 6h 32m
In And Out Of Focus Focus vinyl LP album record UK 2344003 POLYDOR 1971 USD $23.74 Buy It Now 6h 39m
MAGNITUDE 9 Reality In Focus CD 2001 Prog - Power METAL Symphony X Brand New USD $5.24 Buy It Now 7h 11m
Stay Focus by Sizzla USD $3.92 Buy It Now 7h 16m
Rock 8-Track Sealed! FOCUS Mother Focus FACTORY SEALED USD $15.99 Buy It Now 7h 41m
Rock 8-T Sealed! FOCUS Hamburger Concert FACTORY SEALED USD $15.99 Buy It Now 7h 41m
Rock 8-T Sealed! FOCUS Live At The Rainbow Sealed! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 7h 42m
Rock 8-T Sealed! FOCUS In And Out Of Focus Sealed! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 7h 44m
Lost in Focus by Apiary USD $3.92 Buy It Now 7h 52m
STAN GETZ focus EDDIE SAUTER LP Vinyl JAPAN POLYDOR VERVE MV 2071 STEREO USD $19.99 Buy It Now 7h 57m
FOCUS ON VERA LYNN - DOUBLE VINYL LP U.K. PRESSING USD $10.32 Buy It Now 9h 18m
FOCUS III , 2LP, UK USD $26.00 Buy It Now 9h 19m
Mumford: The Focus of Blue Light, , Good USD $5.98 Buy It Now 9h 44m

More places to buy FOCUS music online Buy FOCUS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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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)

3.46 | 252 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
1970
4.07 | 603 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.78 | 418 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 878 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.63 | 172 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.14 | 130 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.51 | 76 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.53 | 60 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.71 | 115 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.10 | 80 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.49 | 103 ratings
X
2012
3.50 | 44 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.79 | 24 ratings
Focus and Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016

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

3.43 | 116 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
4.60 | 5 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.09 | 3 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.83 | 6 ratings
Live In England
2016

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

4.07 | 21 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.98 | 25 ratings
Live In America
2003
4.04 | 14 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
4.80 | 5 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
3.54 | 58 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
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 418 ratings

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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 | 252 ratings

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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 | 878 ratings

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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
4.07 | 603 ratings

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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 | 418 ratings

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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
2.63 | 172 ratings

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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.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 418 ratings

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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 albums, 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.

 In Concert 1973 by FOCUS album cover Live, 2016
4.09 | 3 ratings

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In Concert 1973
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Finally we have a good sounding live recording of the classic Focus line-up; Van Leer, Akkerman, de Ruiter, Van der Linden. Focus in Concert 1973 sounds better then At the Rainbow and has a more interesting tracklist as well. Showing both their heavy rock side (Anonymous, Hocus Pocus, Sylvia) and their ability to play fine melodic tunes like Focus I, II and III. The recording sound is a bit rough, yet full of detail and spaciousness. A real live recording. Sometimes cleaning up takes away the liveliness. Perhaps Akkerman isn't the king of tone, but boy does he play like a fanatic and it does cut through the mix nicely. This is same year he was named best guitar player in the world.

The first three sides (track 1-7) are from the Partis Theater, London, January 1973. The opening track, Anonymous II is perhaps the most interesting track. In 23 minutes the band shows us what it's all about: combining classical music and jazz in a hard rock atmosphere of excitement and fierce playing. On this first side of the record you can hear all members of the band excelling on their instrument, showing why this was definitely one the best bands ever to come out of the Netherlands. The dynamics of this recording are great and the band jams more subtle and soulful then it would do in later years. On the second side the band plays some of its more melodic songs with Akkerman interpreting his timings freely, thus creating an interesting listening experience for those who have listened to the albums often. Answers? Questions! drags on a bit with its moody improvisations, but the atmosphere has a nice sophistication to it. Side three is a bit more exciting with a great version of Hocus Pocus. Such energy! Thijs van Leer's showmanship really shows here.

The fourth side (track 8-10) has live television studio recordings, Londen, December 1972. The quality of these recordings is significantly less good. The band does play very well on Eruption and Hocus Pocus. Perhaps interesting as an archival release, I myself wil mainly listen to the first three sides of this 2LP edition.

Conclusion. This is the best Focus live record of the classic line-up I know of and I can warmly recommend it to fans of the band and fans of great lively concert recordings. Much better then Live at the Rainbow. Four and a halve stars. Don't miss it!

 Live At The Rainbow by FOCUS album cover Live, 1973
3.43 | 116 ratings

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Live At The Rainbow
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Master of Sensation

2 stars I agree with some of the other reviewers on this site when it comes to this album. While it is true that the band technically performs very well, this recording somewhat lacks the energy required to keep one interested in a live album which is essential since otherwise we are listening to the same tunes we have already heard on studio albums. Perhaps it was different if one actually saw them live but from the evidence of this record Focus are not one of the bands im kicking myself for never having seen live.

As I said energy is somewhat lacking and aside from Hocus Pocus this seems to be the intent as Focus usually were a more laidback band, expressing and developing themes in a very classical manner. While this occassionally worked for them on studio albums it doesnt make for a scintillating live experience. Not much new and exciting is added to the pieces here, although Eruption is more bareable now as we only have 8 minutes rather than the interminable 20 odd minutes on Moving Waves. The two focus pieces are competently played but are carbon copies of the studio recordings. Im falling asleep by the end of side 1. Hocus Pocus wakes me up but this extended live version shows what little material for development there is in this song and actually makes me dislike it by the time it ends. And then if that's not bad enough it resurfaces again after a good rendition of Sylvia. Perhaps im being too harsh on this album but Focus were never the most exciting band and this does nothing to change my opinions. However this is good as background music or for relaxing to.

Also the recording quality here is not too great, but this could be down to the fact ive only heard this via secondhand vinyl. However another reviewer remarked that the sound was 'muted' and this is exactly how I would describe it so I guess getting a new copy wouldn't help.

For established fans only.

 Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 603 ratings

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Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album is a beautiful masterpiece. After their decent debut album, Focus were up for something really special. Although the cover of this album I find quite repelling, music that sits inside is out of this world. I really like the way that Jan Akkerman's singing guitar goes with Thijs Van Leer's lush, skilled organ playing. This is showcased perfectly on "Eruption", which is probably a highlight of the album - a 23-minute multimovement suite, an essential prog track. This album is very varied. At times presenting a pastoral, church-like moods, sometimes blessing the listener with a heavy rock-out like on "Hocus Pocus". Overall, this album is a work of art and should definitely find itself in a collection of every self-respecting prog nut!
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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