Saturday, June 22, 2013

Focus - Focus III (1972 holland, extraordinary experimental prog rock with folk shades, japan mini lp release)

 Riding on the success of their hit single "Hocus Pocus" from the revolutionary Moving Waves album, Focus got to work on this, their third LP in four years. While the debut album featured a style not too dissimilar to the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Focus' second LP, Moving Waves, was purely instrumental and wholly serious-minded.

Focus III kept this same sound, but approached it with a jollier, more accessible tone. As with its predecessor, Focus III featured only one tune that would have a chance of being a hit single. The enjoyable rhythm of "Sylvia," partnered with Jan Akkerman's victorious guitar solo, some of Van Leer's finest organ work, Bert Ruiter's tight basslines, and Pierre Van Der Linden's mellow drumming, assured the track classic status. "Sylvia" found worldwide success and gained the band valuable radio and press exposure.

The song remains one of the most loved and best remembered songs from Focus' catalog. The consistency in musical quality throughout Focus III is enough to merit any listeners' respect. To be frank, this LP has it all: diverse songs, astounding musicianship, one of the finest singles ever released -- Focus III should unquestionably be ranked alongside the likes of Revolver, Dark Side of the Moon, and any others of rock's greatest.
by Ben Davies
1. Round Goes The Gossip..(Virgil AENEIDOS LIBER IV) (Thijs Van Leer)  - 5:16
2. Love Remembered (Jan Akkerman) - 2:49
3. Sylvia (Van Leer) - 3:32
4. Carnival Fugue (Van Leer) - 6:02
5. Focus III (Van Leer) - 6:07
6. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! (Akkerman, Bert Ruiter) - 14:03
7. Anonymus II (Part 1) (Van Leer, Akkerman, Ruiter, Pierre Van Der Linden) - 19:28
8. Anonymus II (Conclusion) (Van Leer, Akkerman, Ruiter, Van Der Linden) - 7:30
9. Elspeth Of Nottingham (Akkerman) - 3:15
10.House Of The King (Akkerman) - 2:23

*Thijs Van Leer – Vocals, Piano, Organ, Alto Flute Piccolo, Harpsichord
*Jan Akkerman – Electric, Acoustic Guitar
*Bert Ruiter – Bass Guitar
*Pierre Van Der Linden – Drums

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  1. "Focus" was a Dutch band that was one of the great hopes of the continental Europe music scene in the early seventies. They played a Hammond-heavy eclectic mix of what was then called "Hard Rock", classic rock and jazz elements with occasional jazzy excursions.

    Focus is probably one of the most recognizable brands of Dutch rock industry. The band began her career in the late 60's and 70, and his two musical brains were: playing piano and flute, Thijs van Leer and guitarist Jan Akkerman. Now, the latter is no longer on the team, but the focus under the leadership of van Leer some time experiencing a true "second youth" (if not a little overdone? Artist was about to turn 65 years old!). This great group remember the big hits of the 70s, "Sylvia", "Hocus Pocus", "House Of The King" and regarded today as one of the most important albums of the decade: "Moving Waves" (1971), "Focus 3 "(1972) and" Hamburger Concerto "(1974).

    "Focus III" could build on the virtues of the previous album "Moving Waves" and led the line of ornate instrumental Rocks sent away. A concoction of living again symphonic rock, loose-fuzzy jazz and classical influences bonds represents the unmistakable style that the Dutch had brought within just two years to perfection. The transition between a bubbling dynamics and voluptuous, delicate soundscapes turn runs fluently.

    This record - a double LP on a CD - is essentially instrumental, so that In the spirited opener "Round Goes The Gossip" with its sing-along chorus about quite delicate accompaniment and the Latin falsetto vocals of keyboardist and flautist This Van Leer something in leads astray. After finished from faraway flute entitled "Love Remembered", the third album with the catchy "Sylvia" contains a true ever greens in the repertoire of the band, which should advance to a live bomb. Thijs van Leer demonstrates his skills below with sparkling piano. Akkermans behave plucked guitar can advance to a pleasant haven, which undergoes a dynamic change to the jazzy-end "Carnival Fugue". However, the music is quite varied. Between rock passages, virtuoso instrumental solos contains gentle places with beautiful melodies, but the strip partially the border to music hard. So for example the guitar chorus of "Focus III", the m.E. to the evocative elegiac beginning fits like hand in glove. "Anonymous Two" is really just a vehicle for extended improvisations of all band members, the drum solo by Pierre Van Der Linden on the longest, most unnecessary drum solos is one that I know of. But flute and bass solos are structured and well worth listening to. Real star of this piece is as with the number "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" Guitarist Jan Akkerman: prove his lightning quick, never even clichéd solos that the conservatory scholarship could play many star guitarists of his time loosely to the wall. But he mastered not only showy electric guitar soloing show (listen carefully!) His brilliant, fingers nimble acoustic guitar accompaniment in "Love Remembered" and the quiet, medieval-inspired sound track "Elspeth Of Nottingham". Nevertheless, despite these small weaknesses here is a beautiful album from a band before, which seems to be a little on the unfortunately unjustly forgotten.
    @Marios,Thx for the reminder the group Focus.