MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

FOCUS

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Focus picture
Focus biography
Of all the groups in the 1970s that combined elements of rock and classical music, FOCUS is, without a doubt, the most notable Dutch group widely known outside the Netherlands. This band has created excitement all over the world during the past few years with their unique sound and musical approach. The two main musicians in the band were flutist/keyboardist/singer Thjis Van LEER and guitarist Jan AKKERMAN. They played a stylishly inventive rock with flutes, keyboards & dazzling guitar, defining the Dutch prog sound. An inspiration to FINCH, TRACE & numerous others. In 1978, the group finally split up, without making too much noise.

Best albums are "Moving Waves" (1972), "3" (1973), "Live at the Rainbow" (1973), and "Hamburger Concerto" (1974). "Waves" and "3" represent the best of the band's earlier intensely progressive period with plenty of sidelong tracks and healthly extended solos. Most will agree that "Live at the Rainbow" and "Hamburger Concerto" (last good album) were their best, moving into a period of more pure classical and jazz influence.

"Focus 8" marks the return of Thjis Van LEER in the true nature of music: tuneful, memorable and a little bit rocky when they want to be. This album contains everything you might want from a FOCUS album ... plenty of flute and keyboards from Thijs, tasty guitar playing from Jan DUMÉE and even some yodeling vocals. Perhaps in summary, the band could have veered a little from the safety of the FOCUS blueprint but "Focus 9" may yet further develop their own voice. No doubt about it, we'll have to count on FOCUS in the new millennium to all of the true Progressive Rock lovers.

Focus official website

FOCUS MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

FOCUS forum topics / tours, shows & news


FOCUS forum topics Create a topic now
FOCUS tours, shows & news Post an entries now

FOCUS Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all FOCUS videos (4) | Search and add more videos to FOCUS

Buy FOCUS Music


Hocus Pocus BoxHocus Pocus Box
Box set · Import
Red Bullet 2017
Audio CD$55.76
$62.34 (used)
Hocus Pocus: Best ofHocus Pocus: Best of
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.35
$8.06 (used)
Moving WavesMoving Waves
Import · Remastered
RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$9.68
$9.75 (used)
Live in EnglandLive in England
Import
Cherry Red 2016
Audio CD$13.08
$13.14 (used)
In & Out of FocusIn & Out of Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$9.59
$9.69 (used)
Hamburger ConcertoHamburger Concerto
Import
MSI:RED BULLET 2001
Audio CD$10.69
$10.80 (used)
Mother FocusMother Focus
Import · Remastered
Red Bullet 2001
Audio CD$11.77
$7.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Fuck Buttons Slow Focus vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $44.45 Buy It Now
FOCUS HAMBURGER CONCERTO CD NEW USD $19.75 Buy It Now
FOCUS HAMBURGER CONCERTO DIGIPAK K2HD CD NEW different obi to one shown USD $51.51 Buy It Now
ROCK LP - Focus, Focus 3, Double Vinyl, Gatefold USD $14.50 Buy It Now
ROCK LP - Focus , Mother Focus USD $11.50 Buy It Now
Stan Getz SEVEN CLASSIC ALBUMS VOL 2 In Stockholm FOCUS Jazz Samba NEW 4 CD USD $10.99 [0 bids]
FOCUS FOCUS III DIGIPAK K2HD CD NEW different obi to one shown USD $51.51 Buy It Now
FOCUS AT THE RAINBOW DIGIPAK K2HD CD NEW includes obi USD $51.51 Buy It Now
PHILIP JONES BRASS ENSEMBLE Focus on LP ARGO STEREO USD $14.25 Buy It Now
FOCUS IN AND OUT OF FOCUS K2HD CD NEW includes obi USD $51.51 Buy It Now
Focus on Hollywood by Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra (CD, 1991, Laserlight) USD $5.39 Buy It Now
FOCUS - HOCUS POCUS / SYLVIA Very rare 1973 Aussie PROGROCK Single Release! EX- USD $19.85 Buy It Now
GIGANTA Force 12" NEW VINYL Werk Discs Actress Sensate Focus Akufen USD $16.99 Buy It Now
FOCUS "AT THE RAINBOW", LP, TRIFOLD DIE-CUT COVER, 1973, RARE! USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Focus - Hocus Pocus - 7" RSD 2016 Numbered Yellow Vinyl 45 - New USD $32.59 Buy It Now
FOCUS "FOCUS 3" 2 LP ORIGINAL 1972 SIRE GATEFOLD DIECUT PROG ROCK DOUBLE LP VG+ USD $24.00 Buy It Now
SUB FOCUS-TORUS CD ***MINT CD*** FREE POST USD $9.12 Buy It Now 21m
FOCUS 7" PS Japan HAREM SCAREM x0029 USD $32.00 Buy It Now 27m 40s
FOCUS at the rainbow 1973 UK POLYDOR STEREO VINYL LP USD $33.89 Buy It Now 29m 8s
Focus 8.5/Beyond the Horizon by Focus & Friends (CD, Jul-2016, In and Out of... USD $10.88 Buy It Now 33m 5s
NIGHT EDITION: 24H - MEIN TAG - MEINE MUSIK (FOCUS 5 CD NEW+ USD $42.78 Buy It Now 50m 41s
Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon - Focus & Friends (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.14 Buy It Now 1h 3m
FOCUS At The Rainbow JAPAN CD CP28-1049 w/GREENLINE 2800 OBI+INSERT Free S USD $39.99 Buy It Now 1h 17m
FOCUS - Focus 3 / Cassette Album Tape / UK 1972 Polydor/ 1567 USD $3.90 Buy It Now 1h 33m
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto / Cassette Album Tape / UK 1974 Polydor/ 1566 USD $3.90 Buy It Now 1h 33m
Sub Focus - Sub Focus - Sub Focus CD IMVG USD $8.93 Buy It Now 1h 42m
Focus - SIGNED Flyer 2008 USD $14.02 [0 bids]
2h 28m
Focus - III (Digitally Remastered, 2002) USD $5.20 [0 bids]
2h 40m
Blue Cheer 45 Summertime Blues / Out Of Focus Nice 1968 Psych Rock Orig! USD $6.99 [0 bids]
3h 5m
Ted Heath ?- Focus On Ted Heath Decca ?- FOS 29/30 2 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation, USD $3.20 Buy It Now 3h 8m
HAMBURGER CONCERTO FOCUS Vinyl Record USD $16.89 Buy It Now 3h 9m
FOCUS ON FUSION LP USD $19.55 [0 bids]
3h 9m
FOCUS ON FUSION VOL 2 LP USD $13.03 [0 bids]
3h 10m
FOCUS - HOCUS POCUS, 7" YELLOW VINYL Record Store Day 2016 RSD USD $39.99 Buy It Now 3h 15m
Focus - Moving Waves LP. SAS 7401. VG+ vinyl - plays nice USD $10.99 Buy It Now 3h 16m
Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus - ATPRLP49 - 2-LP Vinyl Record USD $23.83 Buy It Now 3h 33m
ROCK OF AGES FOCUS MUSIC LIBRARY FCD 156 UK CD A7010 SAMPLING LIBRARY MUSIC USD $3.25 Buy It Now 4h 6m
Ennio Morricone & Dulcepontes - Focus - Pop Vocal USD $20.52 Buy It Now 4h 12m
Chris Christian - Focus - Home Sweet Home - 1989 - Cassette Tape USD $10.77 Buy It Now 4h 17m
FOCUS moving waves 1971 US POLYDOR STEREO VINYL LP USD $14.33 Buy It Now 4h 33m
FOCUS ~ MOTHER FOCUS ~ 2302 036 ~ EX+/EX- ~ 1975 UK 1ST PRESS VINYL LP JAZZ ROCK USD $14.33 Buy It Now 4h 38m
FOCUS FOCUS 3 ORIGINAL POLYDOR GERMAN 2LP 1972 PRESS EX/EX/EX USD $30.00 Buy It Now 4h 41m
Focus on The Family--Teaching Truth in A Modern Day Culture 2CD 2006 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 4h 48m
Focus At The Rainbow 1973 LP Polydor Super Gatefold 2442 118 DELUXE USD $2.99 [0 bids]
USD $4.29 Buy It Now
5h
Focus at the Rainbow [Remaster] by Focus (CD, Feb-2001, Red Bullet) USD $10.73 Buy It Now 5h 3m
Vol. 1-Distant Focus - Toydrum (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $15.25 Buy It Now 5h 5m
MUSIC LIBRARY CD - FOCUS - DANCE DIVAS - FCD 214 - MINT USD $6.51 Buy It Now 5h 12m
Taiwan Promo CD Single Korea F.CUZ (Focus-JINON-LEEU) Midnight Sun 2010 Gorgeous USD $19.99 Buy It Now 5h 29m
Taiwan Promo CD Single Korea F.CUZ (Focus-JINON-LEEU-KAN-YEJUN) JIGGY 2010 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 5h 29m
Focus: Sylvia 7": UK Repress USD $1.96 [0 bids]
5h 38m
Focus-Live in Rotterdam 1971 Dutch prog cd USD $18.99 Buy It Now 6h 3m
Brainwave Symphony: Energize & Focus - Dr. Jeffrey Thompson (CD Used Very Good) USD $9.14 Buy It Now 6h 9m
Shugo Tokumaru - In Focus [New Vinyl] Digital Download USD $19.62 Buy It Now 6h 11m
Thijs van leer 2CD BOX Introspection 1 & 2 DISKY Europe all 18 tracks FOCUS USD $10.95 [0 bids]
6h 17m
FOCUS - MOVING WAVES CD USD $13.04 [0 bids]
6h 17m
THE PAPERHEAD FOCUS IN ON. THE LOOKING GLASS OOP DEBUT PROMO LP TROUBLE IN MIND USD $31.00 [11 bids]
6h 26m
Focus by Chris Christian (CD, Jun-2000, Home Sweet Home) USD $1.00 Buy It Now 6h 59m
MY MOUTH IS THE SPEAKER In Focus 7" NEW clear gold vinyl Escapist w/download USD $5.99 Buy It Now 7h 13m
Eternity Focus - Nothing to Lose [New CD] USD $17.71 Buy It Now 7h 15m
MICK JAGGER Out Of Focus OOP 1992 GERMANY CD single rolling stones USD $7.49 Buy It Now 7h 25m
FOCUS IN AND OUT OF FOCUS LP ON SIRE RECORDS EX COPY USD $11.11 Buy It Now 7h 32m
Focus 3. Rare Sealed 8 Track Tape. New! USD $25.00 Buy It Now 7h 41m
FOCUS HOCUS POCUS 7" 45 VINYL NEW RSD RECORD STORE DAY 2016 LIMITED LOW #000323 USD $34.99 Buy It Now 7h 41m
FOCUS HOCUS POCUS 7" 45 VINYL NEW RSD RECORD STORE DAY 2016 LIMITED LOW #00O209 USD $36.99 Buy It Now 7h 41m
Focus - Moving Waves - Vinyl LP UK 1971 USD $12.98 [0 bids]
7h 52m
APIARY - Lost in Focus (CD 2006) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 7h 52m
STAN GETZ: Focus VERVE Japan Import Stereo UMV 2071 Vinyl LP NM- USD $25.00 Buy It Now 8h 4m
FOCUS - SYLVIA - RARE ORIGINAL UK POLYDOR 7" SINGLE USD $3.90 [0 bids]
8h 12m
Focus Laidback Luke MUSIC CD USD $12.97 Buy It Now 8h 33m
(CD) Focus / Fluid / Daub [Japan Import] - Gaji ? / Alternative Rock USD $15.00 Buy It Now 8h 34m
Focus - X. [New CD] UK - excellent condition classic prog dutch rock USD $10.42 [0 bids]
8h 40m
FOCUS 45 " Hocus Pocus / Hocus Pocus II " SIRE Canada 1973' USD $7.93 Buy It Now 9h 5m
SKYMAN I Focus 12" NEW VINYL Dance Mania reissue Parris Mitchell Paul Johnson USD $17.99 Buy It Now 9h 9m
Shugo Tokumaru - In Focus [New Vinyl] Digital Download USD $27.67 Buy It Now 9h 13m
FOCUS/BRAINBOX House Of King/Down Man 12" VINYL Dutch Emi 4 Track EP Split USD $11.59 Buy It Now 9h 16m
MOTHER EARTH (ACID JAZZ) Compare Yourself 12" VINYL UK Focus 1996 3 Track USD $4.10 Buy It Now 9h 16m
FOCUS - SYLVIA / HOUSE OF THE KING - POLYDOR 1972 USD $1.29 [0 bids]
9h 26m
SmartSound Audio - "Business/Focus/Vitality" -Royalty Free Music CD *NEW SEALED* USD $12.99 Buy It Now 9h 48m
Quantum Learning Music - to enhance focus, memory and retention 2 CD Set SEALED USD $14.00 Buy It Now 9h 54m
FOCUS - HAMBURGER CONCERTO VINYL LP AUSTRALIA USD $9.53 Buy It Now 9h 55m
FOCUS harem scarem/early birth 2058 466 uk polydor 1974 7" WS EX/ USD $7.81 Buy It Now 9h 56m
Losing Focus - Demrick & Cali Cleve (CD Used Very Good) Explicit Version USD $12.60 Buy It Now 10h 10m
CHET ATKINS HI-FI IN FOCUS EPA 1-1577 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 10h 12m
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto MP2385 LP GT3188 USD $0.99 [1 bids]
10h 13m
JOE HENDERSON / TOM GRANT / RICK LAIRD-SOFT FOCUS-JAPAN CD Ltd/Ed B63 USD $12.50 Buy It Now 10h 23m
Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD 90's US press deep purple budgie queen focus USD $9.99 Buy It Now 10h 24m
FOCUS Moving Waves MP2311 LP Gr1319 USD $0.99 [1 bids]
10h 25m
ALAN PRICE - FOCUS ON - DECCA - U.K. - 2 LP SET - 1979 USD $19.95 Buy It Now 10h 28m
FOCUS Moving Waves LP VINYL UK Blue Horizon 1971 6 Track Matrix A1/B1 (2931002) USD $28.04 Buy It Now 10h 29m
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto LP VINYL US Atco 1974 10 Track Still In Original USD $12.96 Buy It Now 10h 29m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Mixing With Wildlife LP VINYL UK Focus 1982 10 Track But Sleeve USD $6.51 Buy It Now 10h 29m
MANTOVANI Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1975 24 Track Gatefold Best Of USD $4.10 Buy It Now 10h 29m
FOCUS Hamburger Concerto LP VINYL UK Polydor 1974 10 Track Gatefold Sleeve USD $14.35 Buy It Now 10h 30m
GRACIE FIELDS Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 24 Track Gatefold Sleeve Has USD $6.51 Buy It Now 10h 31m
MANTOVANI Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1975 24 Track Gatefold Sleeve Has USD $6.51 Buy It Now 10h 31m
WINIFRED ATWELL Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1978 28 Track In Gatefold USD $6.51 Buy It Now 10h 31m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Touching My Heart Again 12" VINYL UK Focus 1982 2 Track B/W In USD $4.10 Buy It Now 10h 31m
PERFECT ZEBRAS Zebra LP VINYL UK Focus 1983 9 Track Edgewear On The Top Of The USD $6.51 Buy It Now 10h 31m
BILLY MITCHELL In Focus LP VINYL German Optimism 1988 8 Track Sleeve Has USD $6.51 Buy It Now 10h 31m
VERA LYNN Focus On DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Decca 1977 24 Track In Gatefold Sleeve USD $10.22 Buy It Now 10h 32m

More places to buy FOCUS music online Buy FOCUS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
FOCUS has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

FOCUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.46 | 256 ratings
Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus]
1970
4.07 | 612 ratings
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
1971
3.78 | 423 ratings
3
1973
4.25 | 897 ratings
Hamburger Concerto
1974
2.61 | 177 ratings
Mother Focus
1975
3.08 | 134 ratings
Ship Of Memories
1976
2.47 | 77 ratings
Focus Con Proby
1978
3.53 | 60 ratings
Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer: Focus
1985
3.71 | 117 ratings
Focus 8
2002
3.10 | 82 ratings
Focus 9 / New Skin
2006
3.48 | 105 ratings
X
2012
3.50 | 44 ratings
Golden Oldies
2014
3.76 | 25 ratings
Focus and Friends: Focus 8.5 / Beyond The Horizon
2016

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

3.44 | 119 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
1973
3.32 | 20 ratings
Live at the BBC
1996
3.94 | 16 ratings
Live in America
2003
3.07 | 6 ratings
Live Legends - The Greatest Hits of Focus
2004
2.71 | 15 ratings
Focus The Greatest Hits
2004
4.67 | 6 ratings
Live In Europe
2009
4.09 | 3 ratings
In Concert 1973
2016
4.71 | 7 ratings
Live In England
2016

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

4.07 | 21 ratings
Masters From The Vault
2002
3.98 | 25 ratings
Live In America
2003
4.04 | 14 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
4.80 | 5 ratings
Live in England
2009

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
Masters of Rock 1971 - 1973
1974
4.34 | 4 ratings
The Story of Focus
1974
4.15 | 4 ratings
Focus - Special Polydor
1975
4.94 | 12 ratings
Dutch Masters 1969 - 1973
1975
4.00 | 2 ratings
Focus on Focus 1970 - 1978
1979
4.33 | 3 ratings
House of the King
1983
2.57 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits of Focus
1984
3.53 | 59 ratings
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
1994

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

3.39 | 8 ratings
Hocus Pocus / Janis
1971
2.60 | 6 ratings
Sylvia
1972
3.07 | 5 ratings
Harem Scarem
1974
3.14 | 5 ratings
House Of The King / O Avondrood
1976

FOCUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ship Of Memories by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.08 | 134 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.

 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.61 | 177 ratings

BUY
Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars At the time I did not have this album and for a long period I also did not know why the great guitarist Jan Akkerman left the band. Now listening to other Focus I can understand: after the glorious Hamburger Concerto, this was a major blow. Lots of prog bands were stuck in a rut one time or another during their career, but clearly Focus was one of the first. It seems that This Van Leer�´s jazz/rock leanings and Bert Ruiter�´s love for funk music gained the upper hand here over their previous symphonic sound. I understand that the guitarist was losing ground after the departure of Pierre Van Der Linden (who also wanted to remain in the classic symphonic sounds of old) and now it showed. In any case, Mother Focus is proof that the band (or part of it) wanted to try other things. The results were dismal, however: longe jazz, funk and soul tracks, a little jazz/rock fusion too, but everything way below anything they had created before. Only two tracks here justify their former glories: Focus IV and No Hang Ups, both still inspired (but not much) and bearing all Focus trademark sound: beautiful guitar solos, nice organ background, excellent flute interventions.

But there are truly awful tracks too, like I Need A Bathroom (fitting title!) and the pseudo funk My Sweetheart. Overall the feeling remains of a great group who just menage to release a mediocre album to fulfill their contractual obligations, for the LP lacks any real direction, inspiration or energy. A real let down after the fine Hamburger Concerto. And the end of an era for this classic band. Now I truly understand and have to agree that it was better for Akkerman to leave the band then to stay aboard, if that meant another album like this one.

Rating: two good songs to justify a 2 star rating. For collectors, completionists and hardcore fans, only.

 Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus by FOCUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
3.53 | 59 ratings

BUY
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

3 stars Unlike some prog fans, I actually like compilations if they are done well. Unfortunately, Hocus Pocus Best of Focus is a bit of a wasted opportunity. For starters it includes too many tracks from their first rather average debut album. "House of the King" is admittedly a great Tull-like instrumental and no compilation would be complete without it. But the inclusion of "Anonymous" which is essentially a jam based on the introduction section of "House of the King" wastes valuable playing time especially when so many more essential tracks have been left off the album.The track "Focus" is actually a pleasant track but at nearly ten minutes again takes up too much time in my opinion. The Moving Waves album is well represented with the full version of "Hocus Pocus","Janis", "Focus2"and "Tommy". Particularly annoying though is the fact that the double Focus3 album is only represented by "Sylvia" and "Focus3".I wish the compilation had included the quirky opening track from that album "Round Goes the Gossip" and maybe even "Elspeth of Nottingham" which showcased the more folky side of the group. The Hamburger Concerto, one of the group's strongest albums is only represented by the exciting opening track "Harem Scarem".This is again annoying especially when the somewhat weaker follow album Mother Focus is over represented with three tracks as is their final album, Ship of Memories.And do we really need another version of "Hocus Pocus"? I am still giving this album a solid three stars because there is a lot of enjoyable music on display here but really it could have been a five star one stop shop if a bit more thought had gone into the track selections.The Polydor Special compilation which is only a modest single vinyl album is a far better representation of the group- maybe that album should be re-released on CD.
 Focus Con Proby by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.47 | 77 ratings

BUY
Focus Con Proby
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars When I first saw the cover of this album back in the seventies I had the feeling that Focus would fall in the same trap as several other acts fo that era: a commercial take of an ex great prog band. I did not listen to it at the time. I had enough disillusion with a number of bands at the period (Triumvirat and Camel just to name two) to add another one. Focus with a british one hit wonder singer? Without Jan Akkermann? That could not be good! So it was over 30 years before I had the patience and curiosity to try it.

Looking back, I found that Focus Con Proby was not nearly as bad as I thought. But I guess I´d be disappointed anyway: it sounds way too different from the Focus I knew and loved. Their sound changed from symphonic prog to a much more jazz rock/fusion direction, thanks largely to Akkermann´s replacement, the belgium guitarist Philp Catherine. Although some songs are really good, the instrumentals (always Focus strong point) are also the average jazz-rock you would expect from almost everyone in the area (Soft Machine with Allan Holdsworth, Jean Luc Ponty and so on). Only Sneezing Bull is somewhat different, probably because of Van Leer´s flute playing.

As for P.J. Proby himself, he has a nice voice and does a good job overall, depending on the quality of the songs he sang: the opener Wingless is very good, while Eddy is a boring, throwaway pop tune. Tokyo Rose is a strange mix: sounds like classic Focus tune with added lyrics. Interesting experiment, I guess, but it did not work. Brother is nice and I remember Focus playing it in my hometown during their brazilian tour in 2002. How long is a mediocre tune. And so it goes.

Conclusion: not a total disaster, but too different and inconsistent to be considered a valid statement from this great band. As anyone else at the time Focus tried to do something to get them out of the rut they´re in but was not successful. If you´re into jazz rock/fusion maybe you´ll enjoy the instrumentals. But the uneven quality of the vocal tracks spoil the overall feeling of the album. This one is definitely for collectors and fans only. And not one for the newbies.

 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 423 ratings

BUY
3
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Most people are introduced to Focus through the Hocus Pocus single, which thanks to its yodelling makes people think of them as, if not an outright novelty group, at least a somewhat comedic lot. The more serious side of Focus, however, gets perhaps its best workout on Focus 3, a double album of instrumental prog with jazzy inflections. Album closer House of the King, borrowed from the debut album to avoid side 4 becoming weirdly short, nicely illustrates how far the band have come from their early days; the piece sounds like an unabashed attempt to riff on the style of early Jethro Tull, whilst the rest of the double album showcases a much more original sound.
 Focus Plays Focus [Aka: In And Out Of Focus] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 256 ratings

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

Review by poito

2 stars This is the inaugural album by this legendary band, in which we may already feel the multiple compositional souls. Tracks are highly diverse in style and mood. Here you'll find the few sung themes in the Focus career, which are very immature in my view, tasteless, lingering between ambient, pop and prog. In other themes we can also appreciate the seed of what later would be the stylistic trademarks of the band, such as in Anonymous, and the opening and closing eponymous tracks. The legendary instrumental mastery of leaders van Leer and Ackerman is still on the way, but not yet. This album has mostly an historical significance, for fans and collectors; it does not have much musical interest. It does not even anticipate how big these guys would become or what they would be doing a few months later.
 Hamburger Concerto by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.25 | 897 ratings

BUY
Hamburger Concerto
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars For those familiar with Focus early production during Thijs van Leer and Ackerman era, this is probably the climax of their musical production. Entirely instrumental as the other albums, it has something that makes this album unique. Although it uses the typical elements of the band, it sounds different to all its predecessors, smoother, more intimate, full of musical subtleties. The band adventures in musical avenues never tried, it is a true compositional work from start to end. The music is cheerful, inspired, evoking, hard to classify, with tunes and motifs that we hadn't heard before, and probably we won't, ever. One of a kind. The smooth air may distract the first time, it has to be played several times to realize that you are enjoying an all-time masterpiece. All tracks are impressive, but you may start by Birth and continue with the Hamburger Concerto. For reviewing, I have listened four times in a row, and I think I'll keep it running the rest of the day. Why wouldn't they keep in the same track, dammit! This is no doubt one of the gems of any genre in the history of music, and one of the reasons why we shouldn't be so generous giving 5s.
 Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves] by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 612 ratings

BUY
Focus II [Aka: Moving Waves]
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars 4.5 There are hundreds perfect songs in the history of modern Rock music, but if I had to highlight a bunch, I would choose these five: Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, La Grange by ZZ Top, Hotel California by The Eagles, My Sharona by The Knack, and Hocus Pocus by Focus, included in this album. These are immortal titles that will be played once and again as long as the mankind has ears, and beyond. The popularity of Hocus Pocus is such that made Focus to break in the international scene. It also helped pushing up the ratings of this album in PA. It is an excellent one, but not as much accomplished as the Following #3, for instance. Besides the mentioned one, there is another track, this one yes, deserving the Olympo of Prog, called Eruption, a 23 min making the B-side of the album that contains all the elements of the band, amazing musicianship, great melodies, impressive guitar and Hammond riffs, and surprising innovative tunes that pushed ahead the music of their times. There are a few softers not much of my taste in the A- side by which I didn't give 5 stars.
 3 by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.78 | 423 ratings

BUY
3
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars Focus is probably the legendary band more difficult to describe. Instrumental, that one was easy, but their music had many souls. They had a rocker side and a softer melodic ambient weird whatever side. Ackerman and Thijs van Leer are amazing musicians and the rest of the band, Ruiter at the bass and van der Linden at the drums were also incredible, and deploy here some of their more enjoyable pieces. This album contains two of the major hits of the band, and stretching through their schizoid soul, the softy one incarnated by the classic hit Silvia, which begins with some of the best known intro guitar notes in the history of music. The hard prog-rock side comes from the 26 min long Anonymous II, a piece for live concerts including drum and bass solos where the instruments excel. A bunch of Other tracks are also memorable, as Love Remembered, a soft strange blending with flute and Spanish guitar with Mediterranean/Arabian flavors. Carnival Fugue is a smooth delicatessen that begins with 15 seconds to remind, a few piano notes in the front and beautiful guitar motifs interposed as a counterpoint in the background, it then continues mixing baroque and an exquisite instrumental for dancing. Focus III is one of a saga, prelude of their later music for grannies in75's Mother Focus, but still with several interesting melodies and variable tempos. Answers and questions contains a major solo guitar, not to miss, Ackerman is here at his best. This album is a masterpiece of prog, for the musicianship, variety, composition and the memorable tracks.
 Mother Focus by FOCUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.61 | 177 ratings

BUY
Mother Focus
Focus Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars This is one of the first albums in my collection; I bought it as a tape back in 76 or 77, before the CDs were released. At that time I hadn't listened much of the band, just about what was being broadcasted in radios, Hocus Pocus, and Silvia. I first thought someone had made a mistake and swapped labels with another band. But they were the real Focus! But completelly freed of their rocker side. How to describe this. It is as if the grandmothers of the band members had asked to write some music (may be that's where the album title comes from). Others would say this is ambient music for supermarkets or elevators. But if you are familiar with their former production, you know they always had a schizoid musical soul. Anyway, this is probably the best supermarket music ever. Don't need to check it all, you may be disappointed, but it contains a jewel: if you want to wake up in the morning in a good mood, just listen to the theme All Together? Oh That! It is pure joy, you'll feel good at least till you get to your workplace.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives