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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 Thijs 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 Thijs 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 DUME 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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FOCUS discography


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FOCUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 350 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In and Out of Focus]
1970
4.09 | 788 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.81 | 566 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 1128 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.74 | 243 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.18 | 203 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.59 | 135 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.33 | 98 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.63 | 164 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.23 | 120 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.44 | 151 ratings
X
2012
3.46 | 62 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.51 | 61 ratings
Focus And Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016
3.53 | 71 ratings
11
2018

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

3.48 | 153 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.34 | 29 ratings
Live at the BBC
1996
3.74 | 19 ratings
Live in America
2003
3.00 | 7 ratings
Live Legends - The Greatest Hits of Focus
2004
2.70 | 16 ratings
Focus The Greatest Hits
2004
3.00 | 2 ratings
Live in Southamerica
2004
4.31 | 13 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.00 | 9 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.70 | 14 ratings
Live in England
2016

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

4.06 | 28 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.90 | 32 ratings
Live In America
2003
3.93 | 16 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
3.71 | 7 ratings
Live in England
2009

FOCUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 7 ratings
Masters of Rock 1971 - 1973
1974
4.31 | 7 ratings
The Story of Focus
1974
3.50 | 8 ratings
Focus - Special Polydor
1975
4.88 | 14 ratings
Dutch Masters 1969-1973
1975
3.08 | 5 ratings
Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978
1979
3.19 | 9 ratings
House of the King
1983
2.77 | 7 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
1984
3.49 | 73 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best of Focus
1994
3.90 | 2 ratings
Masters from the Vaults
2003
3.04 | 8 ratings
The Focus Family Album
2017
4.15 | 7 ratings
50 Years - Anthology 1970-1976
2020
3.04 | 4 ratings
Focus 50
2021

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

3.04 | 7 ratings
House of the King
1970
3.31 | 14 ratings
Hocus Pocus / Janis
1971
2.95 | 12 ratings
Sylvia
1972
3.23 | 7 ratings
Tommy / Focus II
1972
3.08 | 5 ratings
Hocus Pocus 2
1972
3.15 | 11 ratings
Harem Scarem
1974
2.53 | 8 ratings
House Of The King / O Avondrood
1976

FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.09 | 788 ratings

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Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars This is the first classic Focus album. Getting rid of psychedelic and folk influence and putting the feet deeper in classical music. The astonishing "Hocus Focus" is a great rocking number with fantastic vocals and can be considered a rock anthem. With its length over 6 minutes it is also a bit repetitive. It's quite different from the more introverted material on the album. "Le clochard" is a beautiful classically inspired guitar number, unlike what Steve Hackett would produce in the future. "Janis" has warm flute textures and a typical Focus chord sequence that is both elegant and somewhat melancholic. "Moving Waves" is the only filler track on the album, bringing nothing more than 3 minutes of relax. "Focus II" is a smoking instrumental that even has a bit of fusion moments. "Eruption" is a highly acclaimed instrumental suite with a trademark classical prog intro followed by a famous guitar solo containing plenty of emotions. The following generic rock'n'roll jam is OK and each instrumentalist can shine. Then it gets incoherent until we reach the main motive again. At this moment, the band didn't know how to glue small elements into a good even suite but that would improve in the future. In any case, this is the first 4-star Focus album.
 Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In and Out of Focus] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.47 | 350 ratings

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Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In and Out of Focus]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This is a solid debut album by the young (as of 1970) Dutch lads. Half of it is filled with progressive attempts (2 tracks) and the rest could be classified as psychedelic pop/rock. While playing is fine, when not too restrained on the vocal tracks, it is the compositional skillset that strikes me most. The band has certainly heard one or two classical works before but they aim at creating their own sound. Of the poppier, tracks I like the melancholic "Why dream" that one could assume to have come our of UK in the late 60's. "House of the king" draws comparisons to Jethro tull by its folky melody and flute playing. "Anonymous" is the first version of the severally reincarnated track, here in its raw rock version. If you've heard the later versions like me, then you most likely also prefer those. "Focus" starts a series of traditionally smart instrumental tracks, however here it has a jam-like nature after the four strong minutes.
 Ship Of Memories by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.18 | 203 ratings

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Ship Of Memories
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars I've had the album for maybe 15 years and only now I've realized it was a collection of outtakes. I'm glad that this effort took place because the selections are solid and no fillers. The recording years span 1970-1975 but mainly 1973 when the band were at their peak. The first album half dedicated to the classic classically-influenced symphonic prog with no excesses, making all the tracks rather brief. "P.S' March" is a typical guitar and flute-centric track with excellent guitar soloing. "Can't believe my eyes" is a hard-rock workout with guitar and bass taking the prime light. Van Leer is hardly heard. "Focus V" is a mellow track but feels unfinished. "Glider" is a witty mixture of the mid-70's rhythmic jazz rock structure and Hocus Focus singing. Akkerman is capable of shining in those styles as well. "Red sky at night" is my personal highlight due to a great melody and clear song structure, "Crackers" is the best product of the Focus jazz-rock era that also ended up on the Akkerman solo album in a longer version. Van Leer mainly in the back seat letting Akkerman and Ruiter release the steam. "Ship of memories" with harmonium sounds like coming out of an Italian prog album. A good goodbye to the classic Focus era.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.81 | 566 ratings

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3
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Focus III contains some of the best Focus moments, it is also is the last album with a loose feeling where you think the band is actually improvising. However it also suffers from two extremely long workouts that drag on for too long. The first track is maybe a Hocus Focus pt.2 with the same level of playfulness, humour and rocking spirit although 2 times faster :). I prefer this one to the million-times heard Hocus Focus, it contains more variations too. Then we have the typical pastoral track "Love remembered" with a masterful combination of flute and guitar. "Sylvia" is the catchiest track and operatic vocals by Thijs. It contains many classical chords and no other instrument than organ could fit it better. "Focus III" is a more laid-back track time, not stealing the full attention. "Answers questions" is a better of the two long tracks with a good flow, full of great guitar and flute licks but I still have the impression that the main goal was to reach a 20-minute mark. "Anonymous II" is a reworked track with more sophisticated sound and playing however also some non-essential soloing in particular drumming (don't get me wrong, Linden is a superb drummer). Still a 4-star effort.
 Hamburger Concerto by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 1128 ratings

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Hamburger Concerto
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by JyriK

3 stars Really don't understand why this album is so highly regarded. To my ears it has, for the most part, songs that don't go anywhere, with uninspired solos and mediocre drumming (sounds like a poor man's Nick Mason is banging a set of cardboxes). It's not all that bad though. In the last song, after some singing in Dutch, the band awakes from coma and belts out some really driven prog rock! If the whole album was at that level, with varied levels of intensity, of course, I'd understand the praise this album gets. Perhaps the recipe for an over-rated album is to have a srong ending!

Maybe the band members had ran out of ideas? Maybe that's why the next album is in the genre of fusion muzak?

 Masters from the Vaults by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Masters from the Vaults
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 628

"Masters From The Vaults" is a compilation album of Focus. This is a compilation album that covers the first years of the band in the 70's, the years that belong to their golden era. "Masters From The Vaults" includes tracks from their first four studio albums, "Focus Plays Focus" aka "In And Out Of Focus", "Focus II" aka "Moving Waves", "Focus 3" and "Hamburger Concerto". So, it has tracks that belong to their best and most progressive phase. "Masters From The Vaults" has also two interesting tracks, "Sneezing Bull" and "Angel Wings" recorded after Akkerman have left Focus.

"Masters From The Vaults" was released in 2003 and has eleven tracks. "Hocus Pocus" is from "Moving Waves". This is a legendary track from the band with astonishing intensity and, at the same time, we may say that it has some beautiful insanity on it. It's a track that soon we heard it, soon we sing it, and that, in the end, we remain free from all tensions and stress after a day's work. This always was one of my favourite progressive tracks from them. "House Of The King" is from "In And Out Of Focus". This is a legendary track. It shows the compositional abilities of Jan Akkerman and the harmony between the flute of Thijs van Leer and the acoustic guitar of Jan Akkerman. Despite be short, it's exciting and it's very refreshing. It's a classic from Focus where we can see compositional mastery, creative experimentalism and instrumental virtuosity. "Focus (Instrumental)" is from "In And Out Of Focus". It's a revisiting of the peaceful opener track of that album "Focus (Vocal)". This track is the best and the most progressive on that album and it's another classic gem of the band. It's an astonishing track with about 10 minutes with great improvisations that moves constantly between guitar, keyboards and flute. This is Focus at their best and represents the progressivity and the quality of their music and how great they can be. "Hamburger Concerto" is from "Hamburger Concerto". It's divided into six parts. This is an epic suite with about 20 minutes long. This theme is one of the most accomplished pieces of Focus, in terms of construction. It has an incredible mix of styles and genres turning it in one of the best progressive pieces ever. "La Cathedral De Strasbourg" is also from "Hamburger Concerto". It's a beautiful piece with calm voices and with church organ and bells. This is an incredible beautiful track. It evokes perfectly well the grandeur and majesty of the Gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg. "Sneezing Bull" is from "Focus Con Proby". It's an energetic excellent track with a great flute work that becomes its key attraction. As far as I'm concerned, this is easily just as good as anything Focus ever made. It reminds me the earlier Focus' albums. But, this time, it has intense flavours of jazz-rock fusion. "Angel Wings" is a non-album's track. It was recorded in 1976 and broadcast on Radio 1 in the BBC Concert Series and was released on their live album "Live At The BBC" in 2004. The album was recorded just weeks after Jan Akkerman had left the band, and a new guitarist, Philip Catherine had been brought in. It has a strong hard driven guitar lines and a killer drum work. This is a jazz/fusion classic piece. "Anonymous II" is from "Focus 3". This is a piece divided into two parts, the part one and the conclusion. This is a lengthy piece with an excellent instrumental performance. It's, essentially, an improvised track, but that seems to me most enjoyable and interesting played live than in the studio. "Eruption" is from "Moving Waves". It's divided into fifteen parts and is the magnum opus and the best piece on that album. This is a magnificent piece with great moments that reminds me the classical Baroque music, in some parts. This is entirely an instrumental long suite with about 12 minutes and where the music flows continuously. It has several themes that come and goes and where some of them develop through some musical improvisations. "Eruption" is a track full of virtuosity and a perfect example how to make great progressive symphonic music with a high quality level. "Focus II" is also from "Moving Waves". It's an interesting and melodic piece dominated by the guitar of Jan Akkerman. This is a song that continues the Focus' series, with good song writing and great musical performance by all band's members, as is usual. It has a fantastic interplay between all band's members. This is one of the best examples of their unusual style. "Sylvia" is from "Focus 3". It's a classic from Focus. It's a melodic song conducted by the electric guitar of Jan Akkerman and with some great performances by all other band's members in the supporting role. It's basically a flurry of sounds all meticulously connected. This is a memorable catchy song with an emotive melody where the song is all built around it.

Conclusion: "Masters Form The Vaults" is probably one of the best and one of the most complete compilation albums of Focus that covers their best and most progressive phase. It has tracks from the first four studio albums of Focus, "In And Out Of Focus" from 1970, "Moving Waves" from 1971, "Focus 3" from 1973 and "Hamburger Concerto" from 1974. Thus, some of their best and most progressive tracks are present here. I can't see any weak track on it. But, above all, it has the two tracks written by Philip Catherine, the guitarist that replaced Jan Akkerman soon as he left Focus. The two tracks are both great, a really nice surprise. "Masters Form The Vaults" is a great starting point for newbies with Focus.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Greatest Hits of Focus by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1984
2.77 | 7 ratings

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Greatest Hits of Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 624

One of the most important features of Focus is the presence of two fantastic and brilliant composers and musicians Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman, the two songwriters of the group. Thijs van Leer is a classical trained keyboardist and flautist and despite be more known as the founder keyboardist and flautist of Focus, he also is known because the release of many solo albums which were based on the classical music and jazz. Jan Akkerman, in addition to his great career in Focus and his extensive solo career, he's also known because of his constant experimentation of new equipment and guitars and the use of complex and innovative guitar techniques. He's considered as one of the best guitarists in the world, and even he was also be chosen, in 1973, as the best guitarist by the readers of Melody Maker.

"Greatest Hits Of Focus" is a compilation album of Focus. This is one of the several compilation albums released by the band during the career of the group during the 70's. "Greatest Hits Of Focus" has tracks that belong to that musical period of Focus and that includes tracks from their first three studio albums, "Focus Plays Focus" aka "In And Out Of Focus", "Focus II" aka "Moving Waves" and "Focus 3". That means that we are talking about tracks that belong to some of their best studio albums. We are talking about albums that belong to their best and most progressive phase. "Greatest Hits Of Focus" was released in 1984 and ha s eight tracks. "Focus (Instrumental)" is from "In And Out Of Focus". It's a revisiting of the peaceful opener track of that album "Focus (Vocal)". This track is the best and the most progressive song on that album and it's another classic gem of the band. It's an astonishing track with about ten minutes with incredible improvisations that moves constantly between guitar, keyboards and flute. This is Focus at their best and represents perfectly the progressivity and the quality of their music and how great they can be. "Moving Waves" is from "Moving Waves". This is my less favourite song on "Moving Waves". It's a sweet and gentle piano song, but not very inspired, especially in what concerns to the vocal parts. This is a melancholic song dominated by piano and the voice of Thijs van Leer. So, the final musical atmosphere of the song is a bit boring for my taste, really. "Focus II" is also from "Moving Waves". It's an interesting and melodic piece dominated by the guitar of Jan Akkerman. This is a song that continues the Focus' series, with good song writing and great musical performance by all band's members, as is usual. It has a fantastic interplay between all band's members. This is one of the best examples of their unusual style. "Tommy" is another track from "Moving Waves". It's a small excerpt of their multi-part suite "Eruption", which is divided into many several parts. "Eruption" is a real progressive masterpiece with great organ sounds, tons on drums, very melodic bass, straightforward hard rock electric guitars. There are some intensely floating Mellotron and backing vocals parts. "Tommy" is probably the most known excerpt, a logical choice for a single. "Hocus Pocus" is once more a track that belongs to "Moving Waves". This is an extraordinary track, a legendary track from the band with intensity and perfectly astonishing and, at the same time, we may also say that it has some beautiful insanity on it. It's a track that soon we heard it, soon we sing it, and that, in the end, we remain completely free from all tensions and stress after a day's work. This always was one of my favourite progressive tracks ever. "House Of The King" is from "In And Out Of Focus". This is a true legendary track. It shows the compositional abilities of Jan Akkerman and the harmony between the flute of Thijs van Leer and the acoustic guitar of Jan Akkerman. Despite be short, it has some exciting and refreshing moments. It's a classic from Focus where we can see compositional mastery, creative experimentalism and instrumental virtuosity. "Sylvia" is also from "Focus 3". It's a classic from Focus. It's a melodic song conducted by the electric guitar of Jan Akkerman and with great performances by all other band's members, in the supporting role. It's basically a flurry of sounds all meticulously connected. This is a memorable catchy song with an emotive melody where all song is built around it. "Janis" is from "Moving Waves". It's a soft track, despite be a Jan Akkerman's song. The lead is taken by the magic flute of Thijs van Leer, perfectly supported by the others band's members. This is a very simple song but the melody and harmonies are so perfect and catchy that makes of it, somehow, a memorable song. Like some other reviewers had already said, "Janis" is a song that reminds me my strongly my old beloved band, Camel.

Conclusion: "Greatest Hits Of Focus" is, without any doubt, a good compilation album of the band. Despite this compilation album had already been released in 1984, a year when Focus had already released seven studio albums and only three are represented in here. I think we can say that "Greatest Hits Of Focus" is a good compilation album of Focus, even thinking this isn't properly one of their most representative compilation albums. As we all know, the most faithful fans of Focus, their best and most progressive studio albums are their first four studio albums, "Focus Plays Focus" aka "In And Out Of Focus", "Focus II" aka "Moving Waves", "Focus 3" and "Hamburger Concerto". So, 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 House of the King by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1983
3.19 | 9 ratings

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House of the King
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by sensedatum

3 stars Nice collection of pieces by Focus, from their 3 first albums, mainly from Focus III (5 pieces). But I have a gripe on how some pieces are trimmed, particularly "Hocus Pocus", which has a fade-off in the middle of a solo. "Tommy" is a selection from the suite "Eruption" from their second album Moving Waves, but I think is too short to appreciate it adequately; a longer selection would show how the theme develops musically. And "Focus III" ... I love this piece, but I can't listen to it without the following "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" , as on the album Focus III. They both are bonded together to form a suite. Listening only to "Focus III" leaves a deep hole inside me. I know there are time limitations in vinyl records, but a better job could be done. Three songs are presented in live versions: Hocus Pocus (badly trimmed), Sylvia (nice one) and Focus 3 (alone!). The song "House of the King" from their debut album, is a very beautiful piece, with a Jethro Tull feeling, mainly due to the flute usage. Indeed the first time I heard it, I thought it was Jethro Tull (I remember saying, which album, wich album is it in?). Anyway House of the King is a good album for a first taste of the band. If you like it, you'd better get Moving Waves and Focus III, and maybe the live album Live at the Rainbow, recorded in this era.
 House of the King by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1983
3.19 | 9 ratings

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House of the King
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 619

Focus is a Dutch progressive rock band founded in 1969 by organist and flutist Thijs van Leer, bassist Martin Dresden and drummer Hans Cleuver. The initial idea was to follow the style of Traffic. After that the group could produce their debut studio album, "Focus Plays Focus" aka "In And Out Of Focus" in 1970, already with the presence of Jan Akkerman on guitar. Focus is considered one of the biggest and most important bands in the progressive rock style.

"House Of The King" is a compilation album of Focus. This is one of the several compilation albums released by the band during the career of the group during the 70's. "House Of The King" has only tracks that belong to that musical period of Focus and that includes tracks from their first three studio albums, "Focus Plays Focus" aka "In And Out Of Focus", "Focus II" aka "Moving Waves" and "Focus 3". That means that we are talking about tracks that belong to some of their best studio albums. We are talking about albums that belong to their best and most progressive phase.

"House Of The King" was released in 1983 and has nine tracks. "Hocus Pocus" is from "Moving Waves". This is an extraordinary track, a legendary track from the band with intensity perfectly astonishing and, at the same time, we may also say that it has some beautiful insanity on it. It's a track that soon we heard it, soon we sing it, and that, in the end, we remain completely free from all tensions and stress after a day's work. This always was one of my favourite progressive tracks ever. This is the US version. "Love Remembered" is from "Focus 3". It's a simple short and beautiful song. It's a relaxing song with a soft tune and a nice pastoral and bucolic melody. Basically, it's a song with acoustic guitar, flute and keyboards, with bass and drums on the back. Instead of the usual aggressive style of Thijs van Leer flute, it goes for a delicate and melancholic melody. This is an incredibly beautiful and melancholic song. "Tommy" is from "Moving Waves". It's a small excerpt of their multi-part suite "Eruption", which is divided into many several parts. "Eruption" is an amazing real progressive masterpiece with great organ sounds, tons of drums, very melodic bass and straightforward hard rock electric guitars. There are some intensely floating Mellotron and backing vocals parts too. "Tommy" is probably the most known excerpt, a logical choice for a single. "Elspeth Of Nottingham" is from "Focus 3". It's a very beautiful medieval madrigal well performed by classical guitar and flute. I always loved the medieval music, and so, this song is a blessing for my senses. This is another great track with great high quality. This is something very adequate, because the travel inside this music with lute and piccolo prepares us to a true trip in time. It's clearly a Jan Akkerman's influenced piece. "House Of The King" is from "In And Out Of Focus". This is a legendary track. It shows the compositional abilities of Jan Akkerman and the harmony between the flute of Thijs van Leer and the acoustic guitar of Jan Akkerman. Despite be short, it's an exciting and refreshing moment. It's a classic from Focus where we can see compositional mastery, creative experimentalism and instrumental virtuosity. "Sylvia" is from "Focus 3". It's a classic from Focus. It's a melodic song conducted by the electric guitar of Jan Akkerman and with great performances by all other band's members, in the supporting role. It's basically a flurry of sounds all meticulously connected. This is a memorable catchy song with an emotive melody where the song is built around it. I can see why this became a hit for them on the radio. It has a more mainstream pop sound. "Focus II" is from "Moving Waves". It's an interesting and melodic piece dominated by the guitar of Jan Akkerman. This is a song that continues the Focus series, with good song writing and great musical performance by all band's members, as usual. It's a beautiful song with amazing melodies and a fantastic interplay between all band's members. This is one of the best examples of their unusual style. "Round Goes The Gossip" is from "Focus 3". This is a well humoured song with a curious and strange consecutive repetition of the title song, by Thijs van Leer, as if it was a lyric. It's catchy, a kind of a jazz-fusion song with nice instrumentation. It's one of the rare songs with singing with a little bit of Latin. This is really a vibrant track very versatile that just only can be described as progressive rock at its best. "Focus III" is also from "Focus 3". It continues the Focus series, with excellent song writing and a great performance by all band's members, as is usual with Focus. Like the other Focus' themes, it's a great piece, gentle, symphonic and emotional. It's pleasant and amusing. It has a beautiful and pastoral sound, really. This is truly an incredibly and beautiful song, that demonstrates all the best qualities of Focus, indeed.

Conclusion: "House Of The King" is another good compilation album of Focus. It's very similar to "Masters Of Rock 1971 ? 1973" from 1974 and "Dutch Masters 1969 ? 1973" from 1975. All three compilation albums only have tracks that belong to the first three studio albums of Focus, "In And Out Of Focus", "Moving Waves" and "Focus 3". It means that they're only focused in what is considered the golden prog era of the band. So, as happened with the other two compilation albums, "House Of The King" has some of the best and most known progressive tracks of Focus like "Hocus Pocus", "Tommy", "House Of The King", "Sylvia", "Focus II" and "Focus III". So, also the same 3 stars to it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978 by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1979
3.08 | 5 ratings

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Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 616

'Focus On Focus 1970 - 1978' is a compilation album of Focus. It has tracks that were taken from all studio albums of the band in the 70's, with the exception of 'Ship Of Memories'. So, it covers almost the entire career of the band in that time, including their golden years. Thus, here we have tracks that belong to 'In And Out Of Focus' from 1970, 'Moving Waves', from 1971, 'Focus 3' from 1973, 'Hamburger Concerto' from 1974, 'Mother Focus' from 1975 and 'Focus Con Proby' from 1978. The last one is an album already without the participation of Jan Akkerman as a band's member.

'Focus On Focus 1970 - 1978' was released in 1979 and has fourteen tracks. 'Tommy' is from 'Moving Waves'. It's a small excerpt of their multi-part suite 'Eruption', which is divided into several parts. 'Eruption' is a real progressive masterpiece with great organ sounds, tons of drums, very melodic bass and straightforward hard rock electric guitars. There are some intensely floating Mellotron and backing vocal parts too. 'House Of The King' is from 'In And Out Of Focus'. This is a legendary track. It shows the compositional abilities of Jan Akkerman and the harmony between the flute of Thijs van Leer and the acoustic guitar of Jan Akkerman. Despite be short, it shows their compositional mastery, creative experimentalism and instrumental virtuosity. 'No Hang Ups' is from 'Mother Focus'. It's a pleasant song with good guitar and keyboard works, performed by Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman. This is one the songs where both better played together on that album. 'Sneezing Bull' is from 'Focus Con Proby'. It's an energetic excellent track with a great flute work that becomes its key attraction. As far as I'm concerned, this is easily just as good as anything Focus ever made. It reminds me the earlier Focus' albums. But, this time, it has intense flavours of jazz-rock fusion. 'Focus IV' is from 'Mother Focus'. It's less good as the other Focus' series but doesn't embarrass them. It has almost the same quality of the previous tracks of that series. Still, it's too short and less inspired. 'Anonymous' is from 'In And Out Of Focus'. It's the first great musical moment on their debut album that sounds like Focus that we all know and love. This is a typical Focus track that became as one of the classic songs of the band. The performance of all band's members is absolutely extraordinary and shows clearly the amazing musical talent of all them. 'Bennie Helder' is from 'Mother Focus'. This is a great song where the main characteristics of the group are present. It's well constructed, with nice performances, and a touch of medieval music. 'Sylvia' is from 'Focus 3'. It's a classic from Focus. It's a melodic song conducted by the electric guitar of Jan Akkerman and with great performances by all other band's members, in the supporting role. It's basically a flurry of sounds all meticulously connected. This is a memorable catchy song with an emotive melody. 'Focus II' is from 'Moving Waves'. It's an interesting and melodic piece dominated by the guitar of Jan Akkerman. This is a song that continues the Focus' series, with good song writing and great musical performance by all band's members, as is usual. It has a fantastic interplay between all band's members. 'Wingless' is from 'Focus Con Proby'. It's a nice dreamy and atmospheric track with a nice melody. The guitar work is really stunning and becomes the critical attraction of this track. The vocal work isn't bad despite it doesn't please to everybody. 'Hocus Pocus' is from 'Moving Waves'. This is a legendary track from the band with intensity and some beautiful insanity on it. It's a track that soon we heard it, soon we sing it, and that, in the end, we remain completely free from all tensions and stress after a day's work. This always was one of my favourite progressive tracks of them. 'Harem Scarem' is from 'Hamburger Concerto'. It's a rock oriented song, with some jazzy influences, frantic from the start to end. Here we can see, on the vocals, some the usual 'insanity' of Thijs van Leer. It's a great piece with some impressive guitar and piano works. 'Mother Focus' is from 'Mother Focus'. This is a good and interesting song. It has a groovy and jazzy moody very pleasant to hear and represents one of the highest moments on that album. 'Brother' is from 'Focus Con Proby'. It's a mellow track that provides a nice break on that album. This is a ballad with a vocal work. It's not bad but it isn't great too. The vocal work isn't bad too. Still, I think it isn't for everybody, being more a question of an acquired taste.

Conclusion: 'Focus On Focus 1970 - 1978' is a good compilation album from Focus. It almost covers the career of Focus in the 70's with tracks from 'In And Out Of Focus', 'Moving Waves', 'Focus 3', 'Hamburger Concerto', 'Mother Focus' and 'Focus Con Proby'. The only exception is 'Ship Of Memories'. But, as we know, 'Ship Of Memories' is a very special album of the band, a compilation of unreleased leftover tracks from Focus. So, we can say that 'Focus On Focus 1970 - 1978' is a very well representative compilation album from the band where many of their most classic and progressive tracks are present, I mean, the tracks from their first four studio albums. It's true that 'Mother Focus' and 'Focus Con Proby' are weaker and less progressive too. But, they don't spoil the good quality level of this compilation.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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