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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.

FOCUS Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy FOCUS Music


Focus 11Focus 11
In And Out Of Focus Records 2019
$12.01
$14.79 (used)
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
$11.45
$5.00 (used)
Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$8.90
$7.90 (used)
Focus Family AlbumFocus Family Album
Cherry Red 2017
$11.95
$10.39 (used)
Hocus Pocus BoxHocus Pocus Box
Box set
Red Bullet 2017
$40.01
$47.21 (used)
Live at the RainbowLive at the Rainbow
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$11.69
$9.21 (used)
88
Musea 2002
$15.30
$7.99 (used)
Focus 3Focus 3
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$10.78
$8.12 (used)
Focus Con ProbyFocus Con Proby
Harvest
$29.99
$5.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Guido Schneider - Focus on: Mixed By Guido Schneider - Guido Schneider CD RWVG USD $16.86 Buy It Now
Stan Getz - Focus - Stan Getz CD SCVG The Fast Free Shipping USD $8.72 Buy It Now
Alan Price-focus on.LP USD $10.58 Buy It Now
Postcard from Vancouver KEITH COPELAND JAZZ FOCUS CD USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Concentration Music - Music to Help You Study, Work and Focus On Intense Tasks R USD $43.84 Buy It Now
Study Music - Help with Exams, Increase Brain Focus to Help with Learning and Co USD $43.84 Buy It Now
2931-002 Focus Moving Waves 1971 LP USD $66.10 Buy It Now
Focus - Harem Scarem c/w Early Birth 7" JAPAN 45 USD $24.99 Buy It Now
Focus - Hocus Pocus c/w Janis 7" JAPAN 45 USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Puns, Parables and Perilous Predicaments Focus On The Family 6 Cassette Tape Set USD $6.99 Buy It Now
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto LP 1974 USD $6.47 Buy It Now
Gracie Fields-Focus On Gracie Fields-Double LP USD $16.48 Buy It Now
music for sleeping and deep relaxation // AMBIENT PIANO MUSIC FOR SLEEP FOCUS USD $5.27 Buy It Now
FOCUS Hamburger concerto 1974 G/F LP EX/nr MINT USD $1.31 [0 bids]
FOCUS '3' 1972 (Vinyl LP) USD $13.15 Buy It Now
CYRIL Mind Wave VINYL LP Original 1974 MGM UK Cyril Havermans FOCUS USD $13.15 Buy It Now
NEW 6 CD SET DR. JAMES DOBSON FAITH BEST OF 2007 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY USD $11.31 Buy It Now
FOCUS-FOCUS III-8 TRACK CD-1973/1988-GERMAN IMPORT-JAN AKKERMAN USD $9.93 Buy It Now
FOCUS: Ship of Memories LP Record SIRE 1976 PROG USD $3.81 Buy It Now
FOCUS 8-TRACK CARTRIDGE 2X. .sold as seen. .tested. .NEW PADS USD $10.58 [1 bids]
MISSUS BEASTLY LP/1970 Germany/Psych Rock/Jazz-Blues Psych/Out Of Focus USD $42.98 Buy It Now 32m 29s
FOCUS Dutch Masters 1975 Sire LP SASD-7505 VG+ USD $8.75 Buy It Now 40m 6s
Focus - Ship Of Memories US LP 1977 /4* USD $16.49 Buy It Now 58m 42s
Broadcast & The Focus Group - Broadcast & The Fo NEW CD USD $12.74 Buy It Now 1h
Dr Octogan-Aliens-Sub Focus Remix-Promo-Drum & Bass Vinyl USD $25.10 Buy It Now 1h 16m
Ted Heath Focus On Ted Heath 2LP Decca FOS29-30 EX/EX 1978 double LP, Focus On T USD $15.86 Buy It Now 2h 3m
Savo-Focus (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $3.07 Buy It Now 2h 4m
FOCUS - SYLVIA 7" VINYL USD $5.27 Buy It Now 2h 15m
Surviving Breast Cancer Focus On The Family On Audio Cassette USD $10.38 Buy It Now 2h 18m
Blur, Music That Brings Focus by Blur Gospel Top Gospel Artist USD $5.00 Buy It Now 2h 24m
My Heart In Focus Meleni Smith CD USD $43.84 Buy It Now 2h 41m
Focus 3 LP VINYL USD $5.00 [0 bids]
3h
Blue Cheer*1968 Orig. Summertime Blues/Out Of Focus*Pic. Sleeve+45*phillips40516 USD $5.99 [0 bids]
3h 2m
NEIL DIAMOND Focus On VINYL LP UK 2 LP Set GATEFOLD London Label Bang Tracksh USD $8.59 Buy It Now 3h 4m
Neil Diamond "Focus on" Greatest Hits Double Vinyl LP USD $1.31 [0 bids]
3h 18m
Broadcast - Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults (NEW VINYL LP) USD $26.43 Buy It Now 3h 28m
2 CDs SUBLIMINAL ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER ADD FOCUS CONCENTRATION LEARNING AID USD $21.99 Buy It Now 3h 38m
Hocus Pocus Box by Focus (CD,2017, 13 Discs, Red Bullet)*BRAND NEW SEALED* USD $46.74 Buy It Now 3h 50m
Phil Cross : Focus on Hymn CD USD $4.99 Buy It Now 3h 51m
FOCUS 3 (180G) USD $41.69 Buy It Now 3h 53m
FOCUS 3 USD $25.09 Buy It Now 3h 53m
BRAINWAVE SYMPHONY ENERGIZE & FOCUS CD USD $6.99 [0 bids]
USD $9.99 Buy It Now
4h
Ronnie Aldrich - Focus On - Phase 4 Stereo vinyl DOUBLE LP FOS 13/14 N/MINT USD $10.56 [0 bids]
4h
Werner Müller - Focus On - Phase 4 Stereo vinyl DOUBLE LP FOS 17/18 EX / EX USD $10.56 [0 bids]
4h 9m
FOCUS ORIGINAL 1973 SIRE SAS-7408 LP LIVE AT THE RAINBOW W/ HOCUS POCUS / VG++ USD $2.95 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Focus On Gene Autry Gene Autry Vinyl Record USD $18.44 Buy It Now 4h 37m
Joe Budden Near Mint Radio Station Promo Issue 12 Inch Single - Focus- Def Jam USD $3.00 [0 bids]
4h 43m
Epic Thunder & Rain( CD) - Rainstorm Sounds for Focus and Sleep, White Noise CD USD $9.97 Buy It Now 4h 46m
Focus - Moving Waves 2931 002 USA A / B2 LP 1971 (T) USD $13.22 Buy It Now 4h 54m
Various Focus On Fusion Vol 2 LP VINYL BGP Records 1987 USD $13.21 Buy It Now 5h
Focus...Sylvia. 7" Single. USD $1.31 [0 bids]
5h 4m
Focus: X (2-LPs: 180GV) Limited Edition USD $28.74 Buy It Now 5h 9m
BIRTH OF JOY-Hyper Focus (2LP) (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW USD $32.71 Buy It Now 5h 9m
Colin Kadey - Coming Into Focus [New CD] USD $18.76 Buy It Now 5h 11m
Focus Comp Vinyl (Focus - 1975) 2384 070 (ID:14890) USD $10.00 Buy It Now 5h 38m
Focus - Live In Europe NEW CD USD $16.09 Buy It Now 5h 38m
Focus Focus Dutch vinyl LP album record 5C054.25130 IMPERIAL USD $36.62 Buy It Now 6h 5m
Focus Music Library, Faraway Places: Chris Blackwell, Frank Shelley - promo cd USD $6.49 Buy It Now 6h 33m
Focus Music Library, Ethno-Technic: Stevie Morrison, Mick Parker - promo cd USD $6.49 Buy It Now 6h 34m
FOCUS 3 2LP 1ST PRESSING NETHERLANDS USD $7.70 [0 bids]
6h 35m
VARIOUS ARTISTS - FOCUS ON PHASE 4 STEREO 1968 BPS1 DECCA RECORDS VINYL LP ALBUM USD $3.95 [0 bids]
6h 37m
Focus. Moving Waves LP. Polydor/Blue Horizon 2931 002. 1971. VG+ Vinyl. USD $5.27 [0 bids]
6h 37m
Apiary - Lost in Focus (2006) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $6.54 Buy It Now 7h 13m
Shugo Tokumaru - "In Focus" (Audio CD 2013) Usually ships within 12 hours!!! USD $8.09 Buy It Now 7h 33m
Sub Focus - Torus [New CD] UK - Import USD $8.49 Buy It Now 7h 38m
FOCUS, MOTHER FOCUS, 1975, VERY GOOD+ CONDTION USD $14.53 [0 bids]
7h 40m
JAN AKKERMAN/FOCUS Tabernakel 1973 (Vinyl LP) USD $3.00 [0 bids]
USD $5.00 Buy It Now
7h 47m
Sub Focus - Torus [New CD] UK - Import USD $7.86 Buy It Now 7h 52m
FOCUS HAREM SCAREM/SAME PROMO ATCO 7002 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 26m
RAY CHARLES DOUBLE VINYL ALBUM - FOCUS ON - LONDON FOS U 1/2 USD $6.60 [0 bids]
9h 5m
Mary O'Hara Focus On - Decca FOS50 - Factory Sample - EX USD $19.82 Buy It Now 9h 11m
Focus In And Out Of Focus SHM MINI LP CD JAPAN VICP-70049 USD $26.09 Buy It Now 9h 46m
Focus In And Out Of Focus SHM MINI LP CD JAPAN VICP-70049 USD $21.74 Buy It Now 9h 46m
Serie Focus USD $22.92 Buy It Now 9h 51m
FOCUS 'Focus At The Rainbow' Vinyl LP In Die-Cut Open Out Sleeve - N46 USD $10.56 [1 bids]
9h 59m
FOCUS in and out of focus Dutch 1st '70 hard psych prog rock Killer LP Imperial USD $19.83 [0 bids]
10h 6m
Vinyl 12 inch Record LP Album Focus AT The Rainbow 1973 USD $13.22 Buy It Now 10h 13m
1960s GARAGE 45 RPM - BLUE CHEER -PHILIPS 40516 "OUT OF FOCUS/SUMMERTIME BLUES" USD $4.50 Buy It Now 10h 20m
3 x Ram Records Vinyl Drum and Bass Job Lot Sub Focus Pendulum VG+ Druggy Juno USD $13.22 Buy It Now 10h 22m
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto Mother Focus double Mint- prog GERMAN IMPORT psych Lp USD $12.56 [0 bids]
10h 24m
FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON (2 CD) - OUT OF FOCUS USD $25.00 Buy It Now 10h 25m
Focus - Hocus Pocus Box (CD Used Very Good) USD $41.50 Buy It Now 10h 41m
CYRIL HAVERMANS 'CYRIL' Vinyl LP Original UK 1973 MGM LP Gatefold FOCUS Bassist USD $8.59 Buy It Now 10h 48m
CHET ATKINS: Hi-fi In Focus LP (Mono, 2 sm pieces clear tape on bottom seam) USD $25.00 Buy It Now 10h 54m
7" single; doug parkinson in focus this must be the end / dear prudence USD $13.47 Buy It Now 10h 56m
MICK JAGGER WIRED ALL NIGHT PROMO COMPACT DISC 2 TRACKS OUT OF Focus PRCD 5020 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 11h 13m
(DU914) Ryan Keen, Focus - DJ CD USD $2.63 Buy It Now 11h 17m
Focus - Sylvia / House Of The King UK 7" 45rpm Single POLYDOR 2001 422 - 1972 USD $3.28 Buy It Now 11h 43m
Frozen Solid / Juno 12in pic disc (Sub Focus - 2005) RAMM57P (ID:15483) USD $16.82 Buy It Now 12h 7m
Frozen Solid / Juno 12in pic disc (Sub Focus - 2005) RAMM57P (ID:15483) USD $17.20 Buy It Now 12h 7m
Focus Hamburger Concerto Lp prensa venezuela gatefold USD $10.27 Buy It Now 12h 16m
Clear Focus Never Ending Pain 7" Red Vinyl Record Safe Inside Recs Hardcore New USD $3.00 [0 bids]
12h 59m
Clear Focus Never Ending Pain Black 7" Vinyl Record Safe Inside Recs Hardcore USD $3.00 [0 bids]
13h
FOCUS Mother Focus 1975 Prog Jazz Rock FUNK Malaysia Singapore Press 12" LP USD $89.99 Buy It Now 13h 11m
BREAKTHROUGH FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE FOCUS HEMI SYNC MONROE BETA NEW 44 MINUTES USD $13.00 Buy It Now 13h 58m
WERNER MULLER Focus On 1st UK 2LP 8 TRACK DECCA STEREO CASSETTE CARTRIDGE 1976 USD $39.65 Buy It Now 13h 59m
INDIGO FOR QUANTUM FOCUS HEMI-SYNC MONROE PRODUCTS NEW BETA MUSIC CD 2014 71 MIN USD $13.00 Buy It Now 14h
Ivan Lins - Serie Focus CD USD $5.64 Buy It Now 14h 24m
Eternity Focus : Nothing to Lose CD USD $4.99 Buy It Now 14h 26m
FOCUS Focus 11 Vinyl 2018 LP Sealed Thijs Van Leer USD $32.97 [0 bids]
14h 27m

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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)

3.47 | 285 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
1970
4.09 | 668 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.78 | 469 ratings
3
1973
4.24 | 973 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.70 | 196 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.15 | 159 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.52 | 101 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.48 | 76 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.67 | 137 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.22 | 100 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.44 | 127 ratings
X
2012
3.46 | 50 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.67 | 39 ratings
Focus And Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016
3.04 | 5 ratings
The Focus Family Album
2017
3.41 | 33 ratings
11
2019

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

3.46 | 128 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.34 | 25 ratings
Live at the BBC
1996
3.89 | 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
4.55 | 11 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.04 | 8 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.78 | 13 ratings
Live In England
2016

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

4.05 | 24 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.92 | 29 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
4.25 | 4 ratings
House of the King
1983
2.57 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
1984
3.53 | 64 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
1994

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

2.95 | 3 ratings
House of the King
1970
3.28 | 10 ratings
Hocus Pocus / Janis
1971
2.75 | 7 ratings
Sylvia
1972
3.00 | 3 ratings
Tommy / Focus II
1972
2.14 | 3 ratings
Hocus Pocus 2
1972
3.06 | 7 ratings
Harem Scarem
1974
2.47 | 6 ratings
House Of The King / O Avondrood
1976

FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 11 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.41 | 33 ratings

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11
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars

I am in no way a specialist on this band. I only have a couple of its all albums ones I like a play once in a while and I find them very satisfying.

This kind of music keeps me in a good mood all day, The Cathedral of Strasbourg anyone?

So, when Google Play Music ( I use this service, please don't hate me) announced me that a new album by Focus was on the market I took the bait and here I am.

First of all: this is an excellent addittion to your Focus colllection and your Prog collection in general, time has stand still on this case and They are producing music like We were on the seventies still. The spirit is still there, I know that Jan Akkerman is no more but Mr. Gootjes is no slouch and plays exactly the type of guitar that Mr. Akkerman would do if He were on board and let me tell You: on drums They have a good one, I enjoyed every single beat of that jazz drums.

The music in general is "jazzier", sometimes I feel I have a Steely Dan album on the turntable. But the "humming", the flute and the organ reminds me again where I am.

All music, and almost no words (only on one song), makes this one a perfect 2019 year album for me, and You too.

 Hamburger Concerto by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.24 | 973 ratings

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Hamburger Concerto
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

3 stars I don't envy whomever has to decide how to classify artists into subgenres on this site! Focus is symphonic prog - - OK, works for me. Hamburger Concerto opens with "Delitæ Musicæ," a prog-folk number written by guitarist Jan Akkerman, which is followed by "Harem Scarem," a symphonic piece by keyboardist Thijs van Leer with a distinct jazzy (though not necessarily fusiony) interlude. After van Leer's "La Cathedrale de Strasbourg," which seems largely symphonic, side one ends with Akkerman's "Birth," whose clear folk, jazz, and classic-rock elements are at least as prominent as its symphonic elements. Based on this LP side, one might guess this was a symphonic prog artist, but guesses of prog-related or possibly "eclectic prog" might also be reasonable.

Anyway, side two is given to Hamburger Concerto's title track, written jointly by Akkerman and van Leer. On the digital download I have, this is followed by "Early Birth," a variation of "Birth" which, as noted by prior reviewers, acts as a reprise of that song, and is a nice way to end the album, even if the original LP ended with "One for the Road," the final section of "Hamburger Concerto." Surprisingly, although it's divided into six sections with distinct writing credits, the 20-minute "Concerto" does not come across as a medley of distinct songs; its sections flow together nicely. At the same time, its variety of themes and styles compliments the first side and its stylistic contrasts.

This album appeared a year or so after Focus hit the US top ten with the single "Hocus Pocus." Maybe I'm the only one who views "Hocus Pocus" as a novelty song, but at least technically, yodeling in a pop song was a novelty in in 1973 - - and I'm pretty sure it still is. While "Hocus Pocus" has the potential for being annoying, I enjoy it. Hamburger Concerto is not a "Hocus Pocus" soundalike, but there's no doubt that it's a product of the same band. And by the time van Leer is using his voice as an instrument for the fourth or fifth time on side two, it does approach obnoxiousness.

Nonetheless, Hamburger Concerto is a good listen. Other than my minor complaints about the (wordless) vocals, I'd say this album maintains a consistent level of quality in performance and composition. Maybe the most prominent exception is the album's high point, "Harem Scarem." I agree with those who say that "Harem Scarem" is the song on this album which is most like "Hocus Pocus;" although parts of "Concerto" sound more like parts of "Hocus Pocus," "Harem Scarem" more resembles "Hocus Pocus" from the standpoint of composition.

A good, though nonessential, product from Focus.

 The Focus Family Album by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.04 | 5 ratings

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The Focus Family Album
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I rank this classic Dutch band among the finest prog bands of the 70's, perhaps as No. 1 of non-British artists. In their halcyon days both Thijs Van Leer (organ, flute, vocals) and Jan Akkerman (guitars) composed excellent, often classically influenced music, but within a few years most of that excellence was gradually lost and Van Leer disbanded the group in 1978. Later, as we know, he recruited new musicians and reformed Focus without Jan Akkerman, and on the new Millennium the band has produced several albums that have gained good reception among prog listeners.

Sad to say but the later discography of Focus isn't yet very familiar to me. Let's see how this 2-disc compilation manages to convince me of its strength -- although it's not all Focus but contains also solo material from Van Leer, drummer Pierre Van der der Linden, guitarist Menno Gootjes and bassist Udo Pannekeet, as well as two tracks from SWUNG, an improvisational project project of Gootjes, van der Linden and bassist Bobby Jacobs. Something like "Yes, Friends and Relatives" (1998), even with the same cover artist Roger Dean. The varied material is put in a mixed running order, ten tracks per disc (by the way, both discs are only c. 44 minutes long). The 12-page booklet introduces tracks shortly.

Both discs start with Thijs Van Leer's flute solo piece (seemingly recorded in nature, birdsinging included) from 2017. They are meditatively relaxating but as close to art music as New Age. // Pierre Van der Linden's drum & percussion solo numbers, from from an album initially made for friends only, are frankly not very interesting in their dryness. // Menno Gootjes' solo pieces for acoustic guitar are very enjoyable, proving he's a virtuoso player familiar with old music such as Bach. // A few years ago I listened to the two SWUNG albums: to me they were rather boring, jam-based doodling, despite great musicianship, but the samples work nicely in this compilation. // Udo Pannekeet's ambientish solo pieces for bass guitar sound surprisingly bright and airy.

And now onto FOCUS material that form the majority of the compilation. Advanced fans owning the albums will be delighted that there are no album tracks per se, instead either unincluded songs from the sessions or remixes of album tracks. 'Song for Eva' was recorded during the Focus X sessions but not included due to its 9½-min length. Very good, and if the album is on this this high level, it's undoubtedly worth hearing. 'Victoria', originally from that same album, is here in a vocal remix. Without the vocoder this would be a better piece, in the classic, melodic Focus style. 'Mosh Blues' is a blues instrumental recorded in Brazil 2012. Having never been very keen on blues, this is just a filler to me; the sung version featuring Jo de Roeck (on 2nd disc) is better.

'Birds Come Fly Over (Le Tango)' is here sung by Thijs, whereas on Focus X it was sung by Ivan Lins, who in turn sings 'Santa Teresa' from the X sessions. This is perhaps the least interesting of the vocal tracks here. 'Five Fourth' is a nice instrumental in the classic Focus style, dating from 2014, and 'Winnie' a melancholic instrumental from Focus 11 sessions.

The inclusions of solo stuff from various musicians (or trio improvisation, in the case of Swung) make this compilation very varied, and occasionally slightly uneven too. As an introduction to Focus in this Millennium it makes me wish to hear the albums. 3½ stars.

 11 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.41 | 33 ratings

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11
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars La Cathedrale de van Leer

Focus is back with a new album! Being a fan of the band, I pre-ordered their 11th studio album and have been playing it a lot since it arrived about a month ago. I thoroughly enjoy Focus 11, as will anyone who enjoyed Focus 8, 9, and 10. If you heard those previous few albums, you pretty much know what to expect here. The musicianship is impeccable and the sound is 100% Focus. Thijs van Leer is the leader of the band and responsible for composing all of the album's material with the sole exception of Mare Nostrum which is credited to bassist Udo Pannekeet. Drums are again handled by Pierre van der Linden, and guitars by Menno Gootjes.

Fittingly enough given its chronology, Focus 11 features 11 tracks. How Many Miles? is the only cut that features lyrics, the rest being instrumental with occasional vocal acrobatics from van Leer (though, no yodelling this time!). A few of the numbers are recycled, including opener Who's Calling? which originally appeared on the 1985 Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer collaboration album Focus. The original CD version of Who's Calling? is 16 plus minutes (while the vinyl LP has a shorter version), but this new version is only 5:28. Winnie and Clair-Obscur were previously included on The Focus Family Album, which came out a couple of years ago.

The cover art is by the great Roger Dean which is instantly recognizable. This time he has drawn a church. Looking closely, one can see the crosses on the spires and the mosaic glass windows typical of churches. There's even a minister standing in the door, welcoming a visitor. However, there seems not to be any religious theme to the music itself.

Another good Focus record, and a recommended addition to any comprehensive Focus collection.

 X by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.44 | 127 ratings

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X
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Six years later, Focus released the follow up to their album 9!

And with the simple and direct name of Focus X, the bassist Bobby Jacobs achieved again a pristine sound in his labor of producer making the new guitarist Menno Gootjes and the rest of the band sound fantastic. For the artwork of the album the band used a beautiful painting of Roger Dean and the style of the music is so eclectic and variated as ever.

In Focus X we can find jazz tracks which are boring even for elevator background music (Focus 10, Amok in Kindergarten) mixed with some fierce rock bombs (Father Bacchus, All Hens on Deck), their typical glimpse to medieval age (Talk of the Clown), progressive songs (Victoria) and lots of experimentation and a bit of craziness.

Best Tracks: Father Bacchus, Victoria, All Hens on Deck.

Conclusion: Focus X is a bit of an acquired taste. The first plays of the album were a bit dissappointing and I was tired of the most boring and experimental parts. But after a while this music grew on me and although I find this album irregular, it has some impressive moments and a great playing from all the members of the band, specially by the talented guitarist Menno Gootjes.

Not essential by any means, but it's always pleasant to hear that a band with more than 40 years of history is still able to release worthy albums like this Focus X.

My rating: ***

 Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 285 ratings

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

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Debut album from one of the most important Dutch prog-rock bands!

Which sadly shows a band in search of true personality, mixing a great variety of elements, which move between Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin.

There is a pair of sweet tracks included like Black Beauty and Sugar Island, very pop oriented. The prog and symphonic elements come with songs like the medieval sounding House of the King, the very jazzy and Jethro Tull influenced Anonymus, the instrumental Focus and the psychedelic Happy Nightmare - Mescaline.

However, at the end of the day this album can be considered just good and way under the best records of the band.

Best Tracks: Anonymus (great bass solo!), Focus (Instrumental)

Conclusion: despite not being essential, this album will surely please the 70's prog-rock junkies!

My rating: ***

 Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.09 | 668 ratings

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Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by WFV

3 stars I'm just not feeling it with Focus. I can hear why so many people hold this album in high esteem - Hocus Pocus is a terrific opener, and there are many technically pure symphonic parts, but I'm just not moved. I think Eruption is a rather weak extended track and the rest of the album is ok, some good parts, no great parts in terms of individuality or instrumentation. In my collection this gets two stars but this album produced a sizeable hit in America and really has influenced many listeners and musicians so I'll bump it up to three. More rock songs should use yodeling to spice up their generic vocals.
 Focus Con Proby by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.52 | 101 ratings

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Focus Con Proby
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Have you ever played around with the idea to take a partly imploded progressive rock band with it's prime behind them, add an ageing rock'n'roll crooner and then record a new album? The very idea is interesting and tantalizing. That very thing happened in 1978 when Focus regrouped around Thijs van Leer, added a couple of new members and took on PJ Proby, the rock'n'roll singer, who also brought with him a severe alcohol problem. Anyway, it sounds strange and almost like a forced marriage but it works in parts.

Focus with Proby by the microphone released one album before it all went pear shaped and Focus went into hibernation for the next eight years (counting the Akkerman & van Leer album as a Focus one). The album is much-maligned and treated very poorly. The reviews aren't great and I suppose it is nowadays regarded as a strange footnote in music history and something one really doesn't want to mention when speaking of Focus. I think it is a shame. The album isn't that bad or lacklustre as it seems by many reviews. Is this as good an album as any of those Focus made during the first half of the 70's? No, it isn't but it's just as good as "Mother Focus" or "Ship of memories" (though consisted of studio leftovers) or even better. It is all highly competent, energized and powerful jazz-rock or fusion. It's smoothed off, as most fusion albums of the latter part of the 70's tend to be. The hardrock elements so evident on the first Focus albums are gone but "Focus con Proby" still packs a massive punch at times. Proby adds vocals to five of the nine tracks and his crooner style actually blends nicely with the polished fusion of the album.

The album starts off with the dreamy and atmospheric "Wingless" where Proby does his best to fit in to a musical landscape he is not familiar with. A great opener with a soaring guitar and wonderful melody. "Orion" is instrumental and fine in every respect. I like the drums on this one, a really heavy beat that propells the music. The distorted guitar part over the drums adds a lot of weight. The next song is also an instrumental, "Night flight". A powerful piece that really grooves. One of the highlights.

Proby's up next on the ballad "Eddy", which really is nothing to write home about. A sort of standardized fusion ballad. Not bad, but I'd rather skip it and go into one of the great centrepieces of the album, "Sneezing Bull". As far as I'm concerned this is easily just as good as anything Focus ever made or make, since they do exist still. Really intense with all instruments really pushing themselves to the extreme. It is so tightly performed and perfectly executed it is nigh on being a masterpiece. A great example of late 70's fusion that kicks ass like a mule. Top stuff.

"Brother" is yet again a vocal track and a ballad. There are sometimes vocal similarities to Arthur Browns "Chisholm in my bosom" but I guess it's just a coincidence. It is good track and by far better than "Eddy", which is sort of pointless. "Tokyo rose" starts off with gentle flute and melody before going into a more rocking mode where Proby tells a cock and bull story about someone called Tokyo Rose. A slight classical element adds a certain extra to this one.

"Maximum" is one of the other true highlights of this album. Instrumental jazz-rock of the highest pedigree. This is great fusion. Sometimes fusion can be, in my opinion, a bit too noodling and slick, focusing on something else than to rock out but that is not the case here. There are many shifts and turns here worthy of a listen. The longest track and maybe the best. If one track from this album was to be included on a "Best of..." I'd vote for this one.

And then the album comes to the end and the Proby-era Focus bids farewell with a track that sounds like the theme tune for "Love boat". It starts off promising and keeps on being promising for 30 seconds before going cheezy. It's not all bad but it is certainly not a great track.

Overall I think that this album has alot to offer for those into Focus or enjoy well played fusion. I'll admit that I approached this album with an entused lack of anticipation (if that makes sense). I really did not expect much from it but I was wrong. A great album in it's own right and proves that the notion that one member of a group doesn't make up the whole band. Akkerman leaving was a shame but the music on "Focus con Proby" shows that van Leer & Co. managed to put forth a slice of (sometimes) great and inspired jazz-rock. Not an essential buy but an interesting piece of work that really could do with a little appreciation. The sung tracks are the least good, with only "Wingless" being a great one, but the instrumentals are all very enjoyable and exciting pieces. So, to summon up I'd give this album three stars but emphasize that the instrumental tracks are all worthy of four stars.

 House Of The King / O Avondrood by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
2.47 | 6 ratings

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House Of The King / O Avondrood
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Red Sky at Night

House of the King was orginally released as a single in 1970, and has since then appeared on numerous other singles and album releases. What is of particular interest on this 1976 single is the B-side, O Avondrood. This song was originally recorded for a Dutch various artists compilation, and constitutes a rare instance of a Focus song with lyrics in the Dutch language. The text is borrowed from the Dutch poet Jules Deelder, and is put to music by Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer. Some may recognize the melody from the instrumental version entitled Red Sky at Night, that was included on the Ship of Memories album.

Avondrood, literally "evening red", is the Dutch name for the phenomenon that in English is called afterglow. (The English title of the instrumental version "Red Sky at Night" needs no further explanation). I think that both versions are very beautiful, and fit with the topic, though the instrumental version has more enduring value.

There is a clip on YouTube from TopPop 1976, in which Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman play to the song.

A rarity that will be of interest to serious Focus fans, but most will be satisfied with the more widely available instrumental version

 Harem Scarem by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1974
3.06 | 7 ratings

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Harem Scarem
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Aperitif

Taken from the band's masterpiece album Hamburger Concerto, Harem Scarem was edited for release as a single to promote the album. While the album version is almost six minutes in running time, this single version is only three minutes and 20 seconds. Yet, it does not feel truncated or butchered to me.

The B-side is an early version of Birth from the same album, appropriatele called "Early Birth". The latter has since been included as a bonus track on the 2001 CD reissue of Hamburger Concerto, but it was originally only available on this single. It fits well together with the rest of the album, and as such this single gives a small pre-taste of what that album is like.

A nice single, but hardly essential (unlike the album, which is a must have)

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

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