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FOCUS

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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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.

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Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$6.95
$7.80 (used)
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Import · Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$7.74
$7.50 (used)
Hamburger ConcertoHamburger Concerto
Import
MSI:RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$7.60
$7.59 (used)
Focus 3Focus 3
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$7.73
$7.69 (used)
Live at the RainbowLive at the Rainbow
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$7.60
$5.81 (used)
Mother FocusMother Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$7.67
$4.60 (used)
In & Out of FocusIn & Out of Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$7.60
$7.59 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Focus - Holly Starr (CD Used Very Good) USD $9.63 Buy It Now 48m 18s
Crystal Sonic Clear Focus - Mitchell Gaynor M.D. (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.37 Buy It Now 48m 19s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H-AFTER WORK CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 53m 7s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - GOOD MORNING CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 53m 14s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - LOVE BEATS CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 53m 21s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - NIGHT BEATS CD NEW+ USD $14.06 Buy It Now 53m 28s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - RELAX CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 53m 35s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - ROAD TRIP CD NEW+ USD $14.06 Buy It Now 53m 41s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - SHAPE UP CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 53m 48s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - SUNDAY CHILL CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 53m 55s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H - SWEET DREAMS CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 54m 2s
FOCUS EDITION: 24H-WINE & DINE CD NEW+ USD $14.96 Buy It Now 54m 8s
Focus For Infinity - Massimiliano Pagliara (2011, CD New) USD $15.58 Buy It Now 59m 29s
2 SUBLIMINAL INCREASE CONCENTRATION-MENTAL PERFORMANCE FOCUS SKILL BRAINWAVE AID USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1h 5m
SUBLIMINAL IMPROVE CONCENTRATION- INCREASE DEVELOP YOUR FOCUSING FOCUS BETTER USD $12.00 [0 bids]
1h 15m
SHIMON - RAM RAIDERS MIX drum & bass CD SUB FOCUS ANDY C DJ FRESH ORIGIN UNKNOWN USD $6.13 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Soft Focus - Ocean Party 602537996025 (CD Used Very Good) USD $24.12 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Focus ~ Moving Waves ~ VG+/VG+ ~ Sire SAS-7401 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1h 57m
FOCUS MOVING WAVES ALBUM & SINGLE TOMMY ADVERT 7X7 USD $10.75 Buy It Now 2h 2m
FOCUS MOVINGWAVES/HOCUS POCUS ADVERT 8X12 USD $12.28 Buy It Now 2h 3m
Focus "Focus 3" 2 LP set Original RARE Dutch pressing USD $24.98 [0 bids]
2h 18m
ALTERED FOCUS Big Chunk 'O' Sumpthin 1997 MOTEL JUNIORS RECORDS Ultra Rare Rock USD $6.00 Buy It Now 2h 44m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Running With Zebras / Man Or Machine ~RARE 1982 Focus 45 UK synth USD $4.88 [0 bids]
2h 53m
Bad Body - Buddy ) Focus ( Turner (Used Very Good) USD $9.19 Buy It Now 2h 54m
Focus, Dutch Masters (Hits 1969-73). Prog Rock LP. NM Vinyl USD $10.00 Buy It Now 3h 21m
BETA BRAINWAVES- IMPROVE FOCUS-CONCENTRATION-ENERGY- BRAIN WAVE TRAINING PROGRAM USD $11.99 Buy It Now 3h 49m
Focus "Live At The Rainbow" (SAS-7408) Vinyl / LP / Sire / VG+ USD $1.49 [0 bids]
3h 51m
Focus "Focus 3" (SAS 3901) - Vinyl / 2xLP / Die-Cut Cover / VG+ USD $1.49 [0 bids]
3h 51m
FOCUS In And Out Of Focus JAPAN SHM MINI LP CD NEW OUT OF PRINT RARE VICP-70049 USD $40.47 Buy It Now 4h
SUBLIMINAL FOCUS CONCENTRATION SKILLS- MENTAL FOCUSING AID BRAIN WAVE TRAINING USD $11.99 [0 bids]
4h 4m
Focus Moving Waves MOV 180gm vinyl LP NEW/SEALED USD $30.72 Buy It Now 4h 4m
Time Life Guitar Rock 1972-1973 CD Yes Argent Focus T Rex Black Sabbath Joe Wals USD $4.99 [0 bids]
4h 39m
FOCUS solo THIJS VAN LEER "Introspection" PROMO LP 1973 (Columbia KC 32346) USD $10.00 Buy It Now 5h 8m
FOCUS solo THIJS VAN LEER "Introspection" SEALED LP 1973 (COLUMBIA KC 32346). USD $15.00 Buy It Now 5h 9m
X - Focus 803341385207 (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.93 Buy It Now 5h 17m
Eternity Focus (2007, CD New) USD $20.23 Buy It Now 5h 17m
Auto Focus USD $4.00 Buy It Now 5h 50m
Live The Lyrics - Eternity Focus (CD Used Very Good) USD $20.48 Buy It Now 6h 8m
Focus by Winston Slade CD 1997 Southern Tracks Records Compact Disc: 11 Tracks USD $2.52 Buy It Now 6h 20m
72 Focus on the Family Religious Cassette Tapes James Dobson USD $15.29 Buy It Now 6h 38m
FOCUS HAMBERGER CONCERTO JAPAN USD $34.99 Buy It Now 6h 42m
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*Maximum Focus New CD Albinoni, Vivaldi, Handel (recorded in High Definition) USD $12.76 Buy It Now 7h 15m
Focus: Californopia Tour 99 Various Artists MUSIC CD USD $7.87 Buy It Now 7h 27m
FOCUS- Focus-LP-1975 Contour Records Australian issue - 2870 487 USD $15.70 Buy It Now 8h 7m
FOCUS - Hamburger Concerto: ROCK LP ATCO Yellow Label, free Shipping USD $11.99 Buy It Now 8h 8m
FOCUS MOVING WAVES CD NEW USD $17.87 Buy It Now 8h 9m
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FOCUS FOCUS III DIGIPAK K2HD CD NEW different obi to one shown USD $53.63 Buy It Now 8h 55m
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FOCUS Focus At The Rainbow 1973 Fold Out Cover POLYDOR superb EX USD $4.61 [0 bids]
9h 7m
FOCUS IN AND OUT OF FOCUS K2HD CD NEW includes obi USD $53.63 Buy It Now 9h 8m
Lost Soul - Can't Stop Us Now - Focus Records #72247 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 9h 9m
Skyliner - Focus Adagia - Swivel - 2000 #288479 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 9h 9m
E-Smoove - Baby Gets Hi - Focus - 2000 #120732 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 9h 10m
Q Project - Focus - CIA - 2008 #244155 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 9h 10m
Latanza Waters - Sing Sing Sing - Focus - 1998 #217491 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 9h 10m
Union State - Out To Getcha - Focus - 1999 #80166 USD $4.59 Buy It Now 9h 10m
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Jan Akkerman & Thijs van Leer ?- Focus LP Prog Fusion USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10h 4m
MICE PARADE Focus On The Roller Coaster CD 3 Track Promo B/w Spain Excerpt And R USD $5.59 Buy It Now 10h 12m
MATT DEIGHTON Villager CD 10 Track UK Focus 1995 USD $7.66 Buy It Now 10h 12m
GIGANTA Force 12" NEW VINYL Werk Discs Actress Sensate Focus Akufen USD $16.99 Buy It Now 10h 51m
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Max Bygraves : Focus On Max Bygraves : Double Vinyl Album : DECCA : FOS 55/56 USD $15.03 Buy It Now 12h 42m
focus vynil record album moving waves 1971 USD $7.66 [0 bids]
13h 30m
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4 SLOTS FOR BILL Focus 12" UK Jelly Jam USD $5.59 Buy It Now 13h 51m
PHOBIA Is It True 12" 2 Track Stickered Promo B/w Focus UK Renegade USD $5.59 Buy It Now 13h 59m
SUB FOCUS - Close - 12" USD $13.59 Buy It Now 14h 9m
FOCUS-GOLDEN OLDIES-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD BONUS TRACK Gi50 USD $29.50 Buy It Now 14h 12m
FOCUS - JAN AKKERMAN & THIJS VAN LEER (OOP Hard to find German Import disc) USD $29.99 Buy It Now 14h 52m
FOCUS rare uk LP Record MOTHER USD $5.37 [0 bids]
15h 54m
Various - Focus On Bossa Nova (2001) VG+/NM USD $28.17 Buy It Now 16h 25m
Focus - Morricone/Pontes (CD Used Very Good) USD $7.89 Buy It Now 16h 37m
FOCUS ON THE ROYAL MARINES 2 RECORD SET USD $6.99 Buy It Now 17h 16m
Focus - LP Japan Promo White Label Mega Rare! USD $69.99 Buy It Now 18h 2m
Ennio Morricone Dulce Pontes - Focus Multichannel Hybrid SACD 5.1 USD $59.99 [0 bids]
18h 29m
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JESSICA WILLIAMS IN THE KEY OF MONK JAZZ FOCUS CD CANADA USD $8.99 Buy It Now 18h 52m
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FOCUS - FOCUS 3 DOUBLE LP EX+ USD $23.01 Buy It Now 18h 56m
FOCUS - GREATEST HITS LP USD $8.43 Buy It Now 18h 57m
FOCUS - MOTHER FOCUS LP USD $7.66 Buy It Now 18h 57m
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Focus: Californopia Tour 1999 (CD, 2000, Cen Records) USD $0.99 Buy It Now 18h 57m
Focus ?- In And Out Of Focus LP 1973 Sire 7404 VG++ Vinyl Prog Rock USD $4.00 Buy It Now 20h 4m
FOCUS In And Out Of Focus Polydor UK 1971 Prog Psych LP USD $7.99 [0 bids]
21h 27m
STAN GETZ 3 LP LOT "Early Stan" + "Focus" + "Groovin' High" ALL VG+ TO EX USD $9.99 [0 bids]
21h 32m
THE MONKEES "RE-FOCUS" LP *WHITE LABEL PROMO* USD $19.99 [0 bids]
21h 37m
Focus - Moving Waves 1972 "Hocus Pocus" 33 RPM 12" VG+ / LP Album USD $5.99 [0 bids]
21h 46m
FOCUS, LIVE AT THE RAINBOW,1973, USA PRESSING, EXCELLENT CONDITION USD $18.41 [0 bids]
21h 56m
FOCUS, MOVING WAVES,1971, EXCELLENT CONDITION USD $18.41 [0 bids]
21h 58m


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FOCUS shows & tickets


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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)

3.44 | 211 ratings
In And Out Of Focus
1970
4.05 | 525 ratings
Moving Waves [also released as: Focus II]
1971
3.74 | 357 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 779 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.64 | 147 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.12 | 116 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.52 | 66 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.53 | 51 ratings
Focus: Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer
1985
3.70 | 104 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.08 | 73 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.48 | 92 ratings
X
2012
3.44 | 42 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014

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

3.44 | 99 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.31 | 15 ratings
Live at the BBC
1996
3.77 | 13 ratings
Live in America
2003
2.93 | 5 ratings
Live Legends - The Greatest Hits of Focus
2004
2.67 | 14 ratings
Focus The Greatest Hits
2004

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

4.06 | 19 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.98 | 23 ratings
Live In America
2003
4.02 | 12 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
4.75 | 4 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
4.96 | 11 ratings
Dutch Masters 1969 - 1973
1975
4.00 | 2 ratings
Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978
1979
4.33 | 3 ratings
House of the King
1983
2.57 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
1984
3.53 | 55 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
1994

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

2.50 | 5 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
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live In Europe
2009

FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Golden Oldies by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.44 | 42 ratings

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Golden Oldies
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Now, let me say that I wasn't expecting ANYTHING when I received this CD. To be honest I was indeed expecting something: a bad something!

I usually don't like re-recorded albums and most of the time I see no point in a band doing it in studio, if you want to record the actual state of your band after changing in its line-up do a live record...

Also, for Focus to do it I can see only ONE explanation: that the band cannot reissue their classic albums because of some issue, that would explain why to go to the studio to do new versions of such classic songs.

Now, having said that let me go to the main topic which is: is this a good record or not?!?

The overall answer is YES!

Focus managed to print in the new versions something very hard for a band to do: maintain the original feel and yet bringing something new to the versions.

In general if you ever saw the band live in the last 10 years or so there's no surprises here. Also if you own one of their live CDs/DVDs of the same period you also know this versions. But, as I said, Focus managed to re-record this songs and give them a new and fresh look but keeping everything that made the originals classics. That's something.

Following leader Thijs van Leer (Hammond, keyboards, flute, vocals) are Pierre van Der Linden (drums) - also from the golden period - , the long time bassist Bobby Jacobs and the new axeman Menno Gootjes. Is nice to see also Jan Dumée doing the screaming vocals part on the classic Hocus Pocus cause he also marked the story of the band when the returned to the stages some 15 years ago.

Overall a great re-recording album. But if you're too `puritan` just skip it.

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 X by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.48 | 92 ratings

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X
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars `X' is the tenth album to appear under the banner of the vintage Dutch prog legends name Focus, and fans can rest assured there's plenty of reliable and comfortably well performed predominantly instrumental rock on offer here. Jan Akkerman may be absent, but vintage members Thijs van Leer (flute, keyboards), and drummer Pierre van Der Linden more than hold the fort, and they're very ably backed up by bass player Bobbee Jacobs (a member since the first Focus comeback work in 2002) and Menno Gutjess on guitars. They help bring an energetic fire to the album and to the original duo, and they're more than accomplished musicians that can hold their own with the older fellas. There's not too much that is exactly surprising about the album, as many of the themes that show up sound very close to some of those original melodies and themes on their 70's albums, but it's kind of nice to know what you're getting into right from the start, and it's exceptionally well played.

Up-tempo opener `Father Bachus', virtually a remake of `Hocus Pocus', barrels along at a cracking pace. Punchy drumming, huffing flute and the rapid-fire nimble electric guitar runs are all in place, and it has a nice acoustic outro, but the "Ladies and Gentleman, we proudly present..." announcement is a bit goofy - still shows the band has a sense of humour I suppose! There's lightly jazzy strolling on `Focus 10', a tasteful variety of themes playing with restraint and dignity from all the band, and it's instantly recognisable as Focus. `Victoria' is romantic prog in the grand Camel tradition, driven by stirring electric guitar and victorious piano, but with a few playful moments in the second half thanks to some singing flute. `Amok in Kindergarten' is a late night jazz mood-setter, with spiralling piano and lurking bass sliding around the background of this twisting and sophisticated piece. There's lots of power on the relentless charging rocker `All Hens on Deck', with constantly purring bass, some ragged Steve Howe-flavoured guitar mangling and even a quick spot of classic silly Focus style scat-vocalizing!

Disappointingly it's when the band tries to shake up their formula the results become a little more uneven. The successful streak the album was on becomes a little derailed on the overlong vocal piece `Le Tango'. While there's a nice raspiness to Thijs' voice, and there's a welcome hint of unease to the flamenco guitar and restrained Hammond, the lyrics in the verses repeat too many times. `Hoeratio' is a welcome return to the classical and symphonic pieces the band does so well, with an added near ambience to the soothing guitar strains, but an intrusive scratchy narration over the top hurts it. Thankfully, Menno's scorching extended electric guitar solo in the final minutes and some unleashing drumming lift it briefly again...sigh, if only the band had kept it as an instrumental. `Talk of the Clown', the absolute highlight of the disc, is a sublime medieval madrigal flavoured acoustic folk ditty, and `Message Magic' takes flight with more rising electric guitar romance. Sadly, closer `X Roads' is ruined by another unnecessary mid-track narration. It's a percussion, snarling electric guitar and glistening electric piano driven jazz/fusion workout that still manages grand symphonic themes (and Bobbee gets a flashy ballistic bass solo in the final minute), but the above mentioned voice-over ruins it.

Make no mistake - this often sounds exactly like many other Focus albums, and the band certainly don't want to scare off existing followers with a radical change in sound. Fans can safely add this album to their Focus collection, as it's often simply `more of the same', if well played and professional `more of the same'. It has to be said, if the band had only reconsidered the silly narrations on two of the tracks and kept them instrumental, I feel this album could have earned another star altogether. But most of the time, it's pleasant, undemanding, very well performed and a perfect background or undistracting listen that makes `X' a decent addition to the Focus discography that fans should find much to enjoy about.

Three stars.

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 Golden Oldies by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.44 | 42 ratings

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Golden Oldies
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Not all olden and golden

The horrible name 'Golden Oldies' might suggest that this is a compilation album, but in fact it is an album of re-recorded versions of tunes from throughout the band's career. As such it is a lot less interesting than an album of brand new material and it is indeed appropriate to wonder why they felt the need to do this at all. The re-makes of tracks from more recent albums like Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee originally from 2006's Focus 9 and Neurotika and Brother from 2002's Focus 8 are particularly questionable as these are neither olden nor golden. In my opinion these would better have been left out in favour of more classic Focus tunes.

Not surprisingly they open with their biggest hit Hocus Pocus which is still fun to listen to, but this new version does not add anything of value to the original but instead takes away some of its original charm. The best part of this album is definitely tracks three through six: House Of The King, Focus 1, Sylvia and a medley of Focus 3 & 2. These lovely classic Focus tunes sound very good here and make Golden Oldies worth a listen for Focus fans. However, this is also something of a lost opportunity as they could have included several more.

This album is hardly essential and if you possess the original studio albums, you really do not need this one.

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 Golden Oldies by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.44 | 42 ratings

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Golden Oldies
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I took the liberty to change this album into the compilation category, sorry if someone strongly disagrees with me of its nature. A new line-up led by Thijs Van Leer re-recorded the band's existing material, spanning from the not-so-strong debut and the highly acclaimed album classics of the early seventies to Focus 8 (2002). Therefore the title Golden Oldies not only sounds stupid, it's also partly false. Sadly the leaflet is also very cheap-looking. All in all I see this CD as a missed opportunity for a more noteworthy new release of the premier Dutch prog legend. And I'm quite surprised of the high average rating, unusual for a compilation of no more than an album length. Hopefully I don't sound too critical: it's great that this wonderful band still exists in the first place.

What else starts the CD than their biggest hit 'Hocus Pocus'. With the original version still fresh in my mind, I fail to see any good reason to re-record it (or these oldies in general), except for the way the royalties are dealt. There are no notable differences compared to the originals. In my opinion the excellence of FOCUS relies a lot in the equal creative partnership of Van Leer and the original guitarist Jan Akkerman. As a compilation this one naturally more or less excludes the stuff that Akkerman composed (with the exception of 'House of the King' - I haven't heard the debut completely; maybe Van Leer's composing gifts weren't blooming yet on that album). I have nothing against Menno Gootjes' excellent guitar work here, and it truly cannot be said that the guitar as an instrument would be in a minor role throughout this CD.

Indeed, in the terms of music alone this is a very good listen, and quite handy as an introduction to the band if one happens to need one. But for those who already have the classic albums this is pretty ignorable release, and if a newcomer would want to proceed further in collecting Focus, this may turn out to be a frustrating set to own.

I don't know where 'Aya Yuppie Hippie Yee' originates from, but apart from some deliciously wild flute playing it's one of the weakest tracks. 'Neurotika' and 'Brother' are from Focus 8 (I haven't heard whole studio albums by the Akkerman-less newer line-ups). 'Neurotika' is considerably rockier than the art music influenced classic era, but it is a good, lively track in its own way. 'Brother' comes nearer to the classic Focus sound but I don't like the raw vocals in it. Presumably Van Leer's wife wrote the lyrics? Happily the CD in general is very much instrumentally oriented, as the whole Focus output is.

The appeal of a compilation has a lot to do with the representation (the visual and the informative side), and in that sense "Golden Oldies" leaves a cheapie feel. For the music alone this would be four stars.

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 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.64 | 147 ratings

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Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Suedevanshoe

3 stars Soft Vanilla for sure, but I love this album in the same way I love Rubber Riff by Soft Machine and Blitz by Thirsty Moon. It's transitional fluff probably in part to keep with the times and in part because this monster four piece ran out of useful ideas. Akkerman is restrained, the music is a mishmash of background music like the kind you'd hear in an elevator or grocery store. It is tasteful and has a place in my collection as background music, a curiosity I pull out sometimes when I'm washing my car. Serious prog fans should check out previous releases, Focus is a great band. This is not a great album, but All Together....Oh That! is a superb, awesome instrumental that features pedal steel and terrific piano and wouldn't be out of place on a Flying Burrito Brothers album. That song is worth the price of the album for me. It's gorgeous, if you have a chance listen to it

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 Golden Oldies by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.44 | 42 ratings

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Golden Oldies
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Focus is a Dutch rock band which is one of many band that with their unique view on music created what today is considered progressive rock. On this page "Golden oldies" is the twelfth album but in their own counting it seems to be their eleventh. "Golden Oldies" from 2014 has a black cover with a golden Focus' sign and the name oldies comes from the fact that this is a re- recording of earlier material such as their main theme "Hocus pocus" and others.

Thijs Van Leer plays organ, flute, vocader and sings, Pierre van der Linden drums, Bobby Jacobs plays bass and Menno Gootjes guitars. The record is very even: from the first second to the last the listener is caught in its world. The play is brilliant, they have done a very good job to make this music and these versions are very talanted.

I could say that every track is my own favourite but there are differencies. "Neurotica's" vivid and unstoppable happy melody makes it a 10/10 by me and the softer "Tommy" is also lovely(9/10). "Sylvia" is a both hard and romantic piece(9/10), "Hocus Pocus" is both hard and high intentioned music and a funny joke(9/10) and all the other get 8/10 from me. "It feels like "Focus 1" and "Focus 3 & 2" are the most experimental and I like them very much as well.

This record is near perfect for me but, I hesitate still. If it had been the first try, if we had never heard these songs, the astonishing feeling perhaps had been bigger, but the fact that these songs are already recorded by this band lowers the rating from five to four stars.

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 Focus: Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.53 | 51 ratings

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Focus: Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

4 stars Well, it is 1/2 of Focus represented here, albeit the dominant half. The support musicians are not at all prominent, except for the programming that has practically taken over the role from an effective rhythm section. Also, "Focus" is the album title here and not the band's name.

Those - like myself - who are fond of "old" Focus will find some very pleasing material here. Some Baroque lines, jazzy rhythms and convincingly heavy runs on the guitars are present here cloaked in a "modern" approach - courtesy of technology. Whilst the bulk of the work is excellent, Akkerman just couldn't help himself. Similar to his latest releases, he had to include one very disco-like track and this one runs for nearly 20 mins! Made easy by looping, drum machine, et al, this is not bad at all, but excessive and wouldn't be missed that much. Some will find it outright horrible and a massive let down.

Nevertheless, Disco aside, it's a great album. The CD version contains the same tracks as the original LP, but some had been extended. This represents of dubious extra value as the "added" material is practically the repetition of the same lines that's already been heard. It leaves me in two minds about the necessity of a few extra mins of the same thing.

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 Golden Oldies by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.44 | 42 ratings

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Golden Oldies
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by VintageST (Guy)

5 stars This "Golden Oldies" album is the FOCUS album I had always wanted to have, but didn't exist. All great titles from the Focus history, re-recorded in a perfect way with a perfect line up. Old Focus grandmaster Thijs van Leer is wielding his flute and is taking care of the keyboard parts, once more the most important and most talented Focus drummer Pierre van der Linden is caressing and beating up his drums in a perfect way. As always on the twenty first century albums by Focus there is Bobby Jacobs on bass guitar and with Menno Gootjes Focus have probably found the best guitar-player in their career.

Not only the recordings are new, the arrangements have been refined, adding extra piano parts and doubling rhythm guitars. You get perfect renditions of classics like Focus I, Focus II and Focus III. The flute solo in Focus I is so well recorded and played! Songs like Sylvia and the Jethro Tull-like "House Of The King" have found their definite versions.

Hocus Pocus opens this album in a completely renewed version, although I have to admit that the yodelling has even deteriorated, comparing to the previous recordings. "Tommy" (written by Solution sax-player Tom Barlage) starts with a long complex drum break by Pierre van der Linden and gives us a perfectly performed guitar lead by Menno Gootjes.

21st century songs comprise "Aya Yippie Hippie Yee" (who thought of that stupid title), "Neurotica" and the beautiful masterpiece "Brother" in which Menno makes his guitar weep in a fantastic lead.

This album is recommendable to those who already know Focus and would like to hear all band classics in a modern recording, but it is also a great way to discover this band for those who didn't know the band yet. They will get well-balanced melodic progressive rock by a great band, that started its career in 1970 and is still going strong!

VintageST

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 Hamburger Concerto  by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 779 ratings

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Hamburger Concerto
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars To my ears ''Sylvia'' is among the top 3 tracks ever recorded by Focus and this was also the belief of the audience back in the 70's, as the single climbed on No. 4 of the UK charts, while ''Focus 3'' reached No. 6 in the album charts.What followed was a triumphant first tour in USA and several gigs in the UK, among them a pair of lives at London's Rainbow Theatre in 1973, taped on the live release ''Focus at the Rainbow'' and released again on Imperial and Polydor.According to Thijs van Leer the intense live activity of the band affected the composing quality and the musicians were somewhat empty of ideas around the time.This led to Pierre van der Linden departure, while he was replaced by Colin Allen.The next work of Focus sees the light in 1974, based on ''Variations on a Theme by Haydn'' by Johannes Brahms.The album was recorded at the Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes between January and March 74'.

The symphonic-oriented short intro ''Delitiae Musicae'' will give its place to ''Harem Scarem'', which supposedly played the role of the chart single of the album.Its delicate, symphonic-oriented sound and the furious interplays though were not something close to the likings of the public and, despite its good quality and the intense progressive nature, it failed to attract the audience.''La Cathedrale de Strasbourg'' is a romantic, Classical-influenced piece of delicate Symphonic Rock with wordless voices, jazzy guitar interludes by Akkerman and beautiful piano work by van Leer, resulting an extremely balanced composition of elegant instrumental music.With ''Birth'' Focus revisit some of the aspects of their early days, as this one contains heavy flute-driven parts, light psychedelic tunes and strong organ work.But Focus had musically moved on in this fourth studio album and these premature inspirations are cleverly dressed up with Classical-drenched harsichord textures and virtuosic guitar moves by Akkerman, including some very powerful solos.

The 20-min. title track of the album is yet another great idea, added in the list of epic tracks by Focus.This one contains the distinctive humor of the band, as it is divided in six movements, developing the cooking of a hamburger.''Hamburger Concerto'' comes a mix of organ-driven Symphonic Rock with smooth psychedelic overtones and jazzy-influenced Progressive Rock with light jams on guitars and organ, while in several occasions van Leer's flute really shines through.It lacks some cohesion in the way, but this belongs definitely among the nice epics of the mid-70's, offering diverse atmospheres, ranging from sweet themes with a smooth playing by the band to heavier, technical interplays and solos with a pompous climate, while the chant-like vocals and the sharp and surprising synthesizer solo towards the end are quite intelligent additions.Maybe not masterful, but this is well-executed and very rich instrumental music.

At this point it gets quite clear that Focus is rather impossible to reach the marvelous level of composing as presented on ''Moving waves''.Tensions within the group led eventually to a great album with series of tight interplays, orchestral majesty and calm melodies, which struggle a bit to connect with each other.Even so, this one should belong to the discography of a Prog fan for its sincere, professional and bombastic perfromances.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Moving Waves [also released as: Focus II] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 525 ratings

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Moving Waves [also released as: Focus II]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Originally released as FOCUS II and re-released under the title MOVING WAVES, this was FOCUS' greatest moment in their entire career. The world went absolutely wild over the lead single 'Hocus Pocus' which even hit the top 10 on the Billboard singles chart. An oddity it was in every way especially in the prog world. This song was a riff-driven proto-metal track that actually predicted the use of 80s metal techniques like using the Hungarian minor scale. The mix of this early hard rock with yodeling sessions is still an eclectic oddity even today. Unfortunately this song is an anomaly in the FOCUS canon as well since the rest of the album sounds absolutely nothing like it.

The next three tracks are average classically inspired tracks that really don't offer much and feel a little hokey since they insinuate grander things to come and kind of fizzle out. The title track is the worst on here with horrible vocals and it kind of reminds me of ELP. I wish they would have skipped this one and added another rocker to usher in the grand finale 'Eruption.'

'Eruption' seems to be equally loved and disliked. I'm on the love-it side. This 23 minute long piece is a hard rock version of the tale of 'Orpheus' and Jacopo Peri's opera 'Euridice'. There are many meanderings and variations of a basic melody that repeat subtly throughout the entire piece. I can understand why some may think this is boring as it is repetitive at times. For me I find the subtle spiraling of variations to be interesting and really love the odd breaks and also the more rocking parts. The transitions are unpredictable and I find the melody very infectious which sustains my interest.

Because this album is so strange with two really strong tracks that take up most of the album time and the fact that the rest of the instrumentals are average with only one track that I truly dislike I think this just squeaks by for me as a 4 star album.

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