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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


Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$8.90
$12.17 (used)
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
$11.22
$6.99 (used)
Live In EuropeLive In Europe
Cherry Red 2016
$10.75
$14.11 (used)
Live at the BBCLive at the BBC
Hux Records 2004
$19.69
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Blue Horizon
$7.95 (used)
Hocus Pocus BoxHocus Pocus Box
Box set
Red Bullet 2017
$39.12
$45.50 (used)
Live at the RainbowLive at the Rainbow
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$11.39
$9.22 (used)
Focus 11Focus 11
In And Out Of Focus Records 2019
$18.99
In & Out of FocusIn & Out of Focus
Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
$11.54
$10.67 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
FOCUS >>> l972 Imperial lp USD $9.00 [0 bids]
FOCUS Ship Of Memories 1976 SIRE Prog Rock LP VG++ USD $16.00 Buy It Now
Blue Cheer Summertime Blues / Out Of Focus 7'' Vinyl Record USD $4.99 Buy It Now
A Family Christmas Vol. 5 (CD; 2008, Focus on the Family / Star Song Music) USD $1.49 Buy It Now
A Family Christmas Vol. 4 (CD; 2007, Focus on the Family / Star Song Music) USD $1.49 Buy It Now
Focus - Live At The Rainbow LP Mint- SAS-7408 Sire Stereo 1973 USA Vinyl Record USD $13.50 Buy It Now
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto LP Atco 1974 Progressive Rock USD $9.95 Buy It Now
FOCUS In And Out Of Focus LP Sire 1970/1973 Reissue Progressive Rock USD $8.95 Buy It Now
SUBLIMINAL FOCUS CONCENTRATION SKILLS- MENTAL FOCUSING AID BRAIN WAVE TRAINING USD $11.99 [0 bids]
Focus - Moving Waves LP VG+ SAS-7401 Sire 1971 USA Vinyl Record USD $9.00 Buy It Now
Various-Focus On Fusion A New View CD NEW USD $15.56 Buy It Now
K'bonus Planet Focus EP 12" VINYL Pulver Records 2006 NEW USD $6.29 Buy It Now
Throbbing Gristle - Assume Power Focus CD - Punk Alternative Rock Industrial USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Focus 1 [ 2 Tracks] by FOCUS 1 USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Focus - Hocus Pocus-Best Of (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.62 Buy It Now
Out Of Focus Not Too Late Vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $34.46 Buy It Now 8s
Stevenson Euan/K Wiszniewski-New Focus On Song CD NEW USD $15.31 Buy It Now 35m 26s
Baron-Squelch (Remixes) 12" Vinyl Drum and Bass WL Sub focus/Generation Dub TP USD $23.96 Buy It Now 1h 2m
Dr. Octagon ?- Aliens Sub Focus Drum and Bass Remix 12" Vinyl Casual Records WL USD $18.92 Buy It Now 1h 7m
ROB BARTLETT Slightly Out Of Focus CD Good Used Condition FREEPOST IN AUSTRALIA USD $6.46 Buy It Now 1h 11m
Lester Keizer - A Mighty Fortress LP Tennessee Christian Focus Productions 1973 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1h 45m
FOCUS-X (180G / BLUE VINYL GATEFOLD) VINYL LP NEW USD $33.81 Buy It Now 1h 58m
Focus-Live In Europe CD NEW USD $19.81 Buy It Now 1h 58m
FOCUS-X. (UK) CD NEW USD $19.81 Buy It Now 1h 58m
Yussef Kamaal-Black Focus CD NEW USD $16.18 Buy It Now 1h 59m
Moving Waves [Remaster] by Focus (CD, Feb-2001, Red Bullet) USD $19.18 Buy It Now 2h 51m
Hocus Pocus: Best Of [Remaster] by Focus (CD, Feb-2001, Red Bullet) USD $19.18 Buy It Now 2h 55m
Krakota X Urbandawn-Focus Shift Ep VINYL LP NEW USD $16.38 Buy It Now 3h 5m
COLLARD-NEVEN, JEAN-PHILIPPE-Out of Focus CD NEW USD $15.41 Buy It Now 3h 5m
Focus - Best of Focus 2 [New CD] Holland - Import USD $11.81 Buy It Now 3h 37m
Focus - Best of Focus 2 [New CD] Holland - Import USD $14.62 Buy It Now 4h
FOCUS The Best Of Focus MP2477 JAPAN LP 074az30 USD $12.70 Buy It Now 4h
Jennifer L. Willke-D - Awareness in Focus By Kids for Kids: Modern Guided [New C USD $17.64 Buy It Now 4h 54m
Jennifer L. Willke-D - Awareness in Focus By Kids for Kids: Modern Guided [New C USD $21.22 Buy It Now 5h
Focus On Hollywood / Miami Vice / Karate Kid by Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra USD $5.36 Buy It Now 5h 22m
Rodes-Focus or Fold CD NEW USD $16.42 Buy It Now 5h 27m
Shanna O`Brien-Focus On the Light CD NEW USD $20.45 Buy It Now 5h 27m
Nat.sing-Re:Focus CD NEW USD $9.47 Buy It Now 5h 27m
ROY ORBISON " FOCUS ON ROY ORBISON" DOUBLE ALBUM VINYL RECORD USD $6.94 [0 bids]
5h 35m
Lfz Name Plus Focus Vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $35.18 Buy It Now 5h 51m
GENE AUTRY - Focus On .... - Ex Con Double LP Record USD $12.60 Buy It Now 6h 2m
Focus On Alan Price Alan Price Vinyl Record USD $13.81 Buy It Now 6h 6m
Hezekiah Walker Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, Focus on Glory Cassette VG+ #CT25 USD $6.31 Buy It Now 6h 45m
Focus On The Family: Renewing The Heart For Such A Time As This (Live) Kim Hill USD $40.95 Buy It Now 7h 10m
Kari Kimmel-Out Of Focus CD NEW USD $17.19 Buy It Now 7h 52m
LAIDBACK LUKE-FOCUS (HOL) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.25 Buy It Now 8h 21m
`MARTIN, SHAUN`-FOCUS CD NEW USD $16.03 Buy It Now 8h 23m
Focus - 'Moving Waves' 1971 UK Blue Horizon LP. Ex! USD $25.21 Buy It Now 8h 46m
ATKINS,CHET-HI FI FOCUS VINYL LP NEW USD $31.51 Buy It Now 9h 9m
Focus LP USD $1.25 [0 bids]
9h 24m
JANE MCDONALD Cruise Into Christmas CASSETTE UK Focus 1998 3 Track B/W White USD $6.29 Buy It Now 9h 28m
FOCUS Moving Waves LP VINYL UK Blue Horizon 6 Track In Polydor Sleeve. Matrix USD $19.16 Buy It Now 9h 30m
FOLK IN FOCUS Various Artists LP VINYL UK Fontana 1967 12 Track Mono Pressing USD $6.29 Buy It Now 9h 31m
VERA LYNN Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 24 Track In Gatefold Sleeve USD $9.89 Buy It Now 9h 31m
FOCUS In And Out Of LP VINYL UK Polydor 8 Track Gatefold Sleeve. A1/B2 Matrix. USD $15.18 Buy It Now 9h 31m
FOCUS Ii LP VINYL Netherlands Imperial 1976 20 Track Reissue (5C03824385) USD $16.51 Buy It Now 9h 31m
FOCUS Ship Of Memories LP VINYL UK Harvest 1976 9 Track With A1/B1 Matrix USD $33.72 Buy It Now 9h 32m
FOCUS Mother Focus LP VINYL UK Polydor 1975 12 Track With A2/B1 Matrix (2302036) USD $13.86 Buy It Now 9h 32m
VAL DOONICAN Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1970 24 Track (Fos910) Gatefold USD $5.28 Buy It Now 9h 32m
FOCUS MUSIC LIBRARY_rhythmic beds and underscores_used CD_ships frm AUSTRALIA_L3 USD $8.62 Buy It Now 9h 33m
SAINT PE - FIXED FOCUS - NEW CD ALBUM USD $16.38 Buy It Now 9h 33m
CLASSIC OF LEGENDS OF ROCK S/T FLYER UK 1-Sided Flyer For Uk Tour By Focus USD $3.96 Buy It Now 9h 50m
FOCUS / HARVEY ANDREWS AND GRAHAM COOPER M.A.M Present In Concert TOUR USD $53.60 Buy It Now 9h 50m
FOCUS-HOCUS POCUS BOX CD NEW USD $60.45 Buy It Now 9h 51m
Michael Karn Quintet-In Focus CD NEW USD $17.32 Buy It Now 9h 51m
LAIDBACK LUKE-FOCUS (HOL) CD NEW USD $15.75 Buy It Now 9h 51m
LAIDBACK LUKE-FOCUS (HOL) VINYL LP NEW USD $27.25 Buy It Now 9h 51m
4 SLOTS FOR BILL Focus 12" VINYL UK Jelly Jam (Jj5) USD $3.96 Buy It Now 9h 57m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Touching My Heart Again 12" VINYL UK Focus 1982 2 Track With A4 USD $3.96 Buy It Now 9h 58m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Touching My Heart Again 12" VINYL UK Focus 1982 2 Track B/W In USD $3.96 Buy It Now 9h 58m
Fuck Buttons Slow Focus Digipack CD Like New USD $2.27 [2 bids]
10h 12m
Focus On Werner Muller - 2x Vinyl Record LP Albums - FOS 17 - 1973 USD $16.38 Buy It Now 10h 33m
SAINT PE - FIXED FOCUS - NEW VINYL LP USD $22.69 Buy It Now 10h 34m
MAGNITUDE 9 Reality In Focus CD (New) USD $8.61 Buy It Now 10h 35m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Running With Zebras 7" VINYL UK Focus 1982 B/W Man Or Machine USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 46m
FOCUS 3 DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Polydor 1972 9 Track Double With A1/B3 A1/B1 Matrix USD $16.51 Buy It Now 10h 49m
BILLY MITCHELL In Focus LP VINYL Germany Optimism 1988 8 Track Sleeve Has USD $5.28 Buy It Now 10h 50m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Mixing With Wildlife 12" VINYL UK Focus 1982 10 Track White USD $25.78 Buy It Now 10h 50m
FOCUS/BRAINBOX House Of King/Down Man 12" VINYL Netherlands Emi 4 Track EP USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 50m
FOCUS/BRAINBOX House Of King/Man Down 12" VINYL Netherlands Emi 4 Track EP USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 50m
WILL GLAHE Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1975 24 Track Double In Gatefold USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 51m
GRACIE FIELDS Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 24 Track Gatefold Sleeve Has USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 51m
MANTOVANI Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1975 24 Track Gatefold Sleeve Has USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 51m
Cary, Marc/Focus Trio-Four Directions CD NEW USD $15.21 Buy It Now 10h 52m
Cary, Marc-Focus CD NEW USD $13.43 Buy It Now 10h 52m
Focus 3 Double LP Record 1972 SIRE SAS-3901 USD $10.72 Buy It Now 10h 54m
Focus-Live In Europe CD NEW USD $20.15 Buy It Now 11h 3m
Ronnie Aldrich - Focus On - Phase 4 Stereo vinyl DOUBLE LP FOS 13/14 N/MINT USD $10.08 [0 bids]
11h 8m
OUTAFOCUS Various CD UK Focus 1997 15 Track Featuring Cardigans, Mansun,Sneaker USD $3.96 Buy It Now 11h 18m
FOCUS (JAN AKKERMAN/THIJS VAN LEER) dutch masters LP EX/EX- SASD-7505 usa 1975 USD $18.99 Buy It Now 11h 22m
FOCUS Greatest Hits 1984 FAME DUTCH PRESS CLASSIC PROG ROCK USD $18.00 Buy It Now 11h 26m
Savo-Focus CD NEW USD $4.30 Buy It Now 11h 37m
Focus (2) - Focus (Vinyl) USD $18.90 Buy It Now 11h 54m
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Lords Of The Musicals CD UK Focus 1997 11 Track USD $5.28 Buy It Now 12h 3m
Ray Charles - Focus On Ray Charles (Vinyl) USD $24.58 Buy It Now 12h 3m
MOTHER EARTH (ACID JAZZ) To War CD UK Focus 1995 3 Track B/W Be Selected USD $5.28 Buy It Now 12h 4m
FOCUS Sylvia 7" VINYL UK Polydor 1972 Plastic Label Issue B/W House Of The King USD $3.96 Buy It Now 12h 5m
One Focus-Favorites CD NEW USD $12.84 Buy It Now 12h 5m
One Focus-You Alone CD NEW USD $16.00 Buy It Now 12h 5m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Running With Zebras 7" VINYL UK Focus 1982 (Fos1) USD $3.96 Buy It Now 12h 5m

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

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 | 277 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
1970
4.08 | 654 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.78 | 455 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 962 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.69 | 191 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.14 | 152 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.52 | 95 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.47 | 71 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.67 | 133 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.21 | 96 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.46 | 121 ratings
X
2012
3.45 | 48 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.62 | 37 ratings
Focus and Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016
4.00 | 1 ratings
11
2019

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

3.45 | 124 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.32 | 24 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
4.33 | 9 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.04 | 6 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.77 | 11 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
4.25 | 4 ratings
House of the King
1983
2.57 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
1984
3.53 | 63 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Focus Family Album
2017

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
 Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 277 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
4.08 | 654 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 | 95 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)

 Hocus Pocus 2 by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
2.14 | 3 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 hardcore fans and collectors. But the novelty wears off quickly, and it certainly does not stand up to comparisons with the original single version of Hocus Pocus.

 Tommy / Focus II by FOCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Tommy / Focus II
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Introduced by Pupilla"

Tommy (Introduced by Pupilla) is an excerpt from Eruption. The latter occupies the whole second side of the Moving Waves album. It was hardly an obvious choice for a single, but it actually works rather well outside of its original context. It is not as memorable as other songs that Focus put out as singles (like House of the King, Sylvia, etc.), but it is nonetheless a decent piece. Tommy later appeared on the compilation album Hocus Pocus: Best of Focus in this edited form.

The B-side of the single (or is this considered a "double A-side"?) is Focus II, also taken from Moving Waves. This is an excellent track, and much stronger than Tommy.

Since most people will probably already have the Moving Waves album, this single offers little over and above what you already have. Though, it is somewhat interesting for a big Focus fan like me to hear the single edits.

 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
2.95 | 3 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 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. The track has also been included on many compilations.

Different versions of the single exist. The original version had Black Beauty as its B-side, while another version had Focus (Vocal), both taken from the debut album Focus Plays Focus (later re-named In and Out of Focus). House of the King has itself appeared as a 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 | 152 ratings

BUY
Ship Of Memories
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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