Looking at the music of Dutch rock band Focus, started in the late sixties by Thijs Van Leer (b /31/03/48) with Jan Akkerman (b 24/12/46). Van Leer still performs and records under the name today (official site here). Akkerman's site here.

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20081203

Longest Focus Tracks

The 10 longest Focus tracks are

1 Anonymus 2 (26:19)
2 Eruption (22:57)
3 Hamburger Concerto (20:15)
4 Beethoven's Revenge extended (18:42, short version 10:49)
5 Who's calling (16:14, short version 07:33)
6 Maximum Live (13:58, studio version 08:40)
7 Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! (13:50, live version 11:28)
8 Virtuous Woman (10:57)
9 Beethoven's Revenge (10:49 - the extended version is 18:42)
10 European (Rap)sody (10:25)

Shortest Focus Tracks

Though famed for their many longer tracks, Focus have plenty of shorter ones, many under 3 minutes. These are the top 10 stand alone tracks:

1 Delitae Musicae (1:12)
2 Father Bach (1:30)
3 Ship Of Memories (1:48)
4 Le Clochard ("Bread") (1:55)
5 House of the King (2:20)
6 Spoke The Lord Creator (2:28)
7 Moving Waves (2:30)
8 Hard Vanilla (2:36)
9 Tropic Bird
Crackers (both 2:38)

Also note: Focus vocal (2.43) Love Remembered (2:45) Sylvia Live (2:47) No Hang Ups, Early Birth (both 2:54) Janis, Soft Vanilla (both 3:00).

20081202

Place Titles

Places specific or not are sometimes mentioned in Focus titles.
Specific
La Cathedrale de Strasbourg
Sugar Island (Cuba)
Vesuvius (See Out of Vesuvius on Ship of Memories)
Rio in Brazil (See Rock and Rio and Brazil Love)

Non-specific
House of the King
Endless Road
The Bridge

Family Titles

In the Focus titles famiy we have

Mother Focus
Father Bach
Brother
Little Sister
Sylvia's Stepson

They have all come to Birth

Non-English Titles

Focus song titles are usually in English. These are the exceptions:

French
La Cathedrale de Strasburg (Strasbourg Cathedral)
Le Clochard (The Tramp)

Spanish
De Ti O De Mi (From you or from me)

Croatian
Sto Ces Raditi Ostatac Zivota (Do everything to survive in life)
Blizu Tebe (Close to you)

Dutch
Avondrood (Red evening)

Latin
Delitae Musicae (Delightful music)
We could add too - Anonymus (Anonymous)

Eponymous Titles


Some 15 Focus tracks refer to individuals real or imaginary.
Orfeus and Euridice are, of course, from Greek mythology as is Orion. Venus is from Roman mythology (as in Ode to Venus on Focus 9).
Nobody seems to know who Bennie Helder is. No doubt, like Elspeth of Nottingham, he is imagined.
Le Clochard (meaning tramp in French) could be included here and may be Anonymus.
Sylvia, of course, is Sylvia Alberts; Tommy, Tom Barlage; Pim, Thijs's grandson (not Pim Jacobs as I had guessed); Eddy, Thijs's father; Janis, Janis Joplin.
Tokyo Rose was the composite name given to a number of Japanese broadcasters of propaganda in World War II.
Father Bach refers to the composer J S Bach.
One should also mention Judy, as in Ole Judy on the 1985 album

20081201

Focus Vocalists


Surprisingly, perhaps, there are over 20 Focus vocal tracks of various sorts. Most of these feature Thijs Van Leer but there are a number of P J Proby vocals, of course, on the Focus Con Proby album and Bert Ruiter sang I need a bathroom on Mother Focus (though it is sometimes said that it is Akkerman). Akkerman can certainly be heard with Van Leer on Avondrood. Cyriel Havermans's voice is heard on Moving Waves. Jan Dumee sings briefly on Focus 8. On Focus 9 Jo de Roeck sings Just like Eddy.

Focus Drummers


The main Focus drummer has been Pierre Van Der Linden who originally worked with Jan Akkerman in Brainbox. After leaving in 1973 he rejoined the band more than once. The original drummer was Hans Cleuver. In the early days on at least one trip Akkerman's late brother Cocky sat in. Other main drummers have been the Englishman Colin Allen, the Americans David Kemper and Steve Smith and the appropriately named Dutchman Bert Smaak. When the current Focus first reformed the drummer was Ruben Van Roon and in 2004 Hans van Oosterhout was playing with them.

Focus Bassists


Of these there are really four. The current player is Bobby Jacobs. The longest serving was Bert Ruiter. The first was Martijn Dresden. On Moving Waves the credit goes to the man best known as Cyriel Havermans, although Jan Akkerman apparently did most of it. One also ought to mention Tato Gomez on the first four tracks of the 1985 Van Leer Akkerman album and Ruud Jacobs and his double bass on Beethoven's Revenge from that album.

Focus Guitarists


Down the years there have been just five Focus guitarists. Head and shoulders above the rest is the best and the original - Jan Akkerman. Since his departure following the Mother Focus album four others have sought to fill the role - Philip Catherine, Eef Albers, Jan Dumée (Focus 8) and Niels Van Der Steenhoven (Focus 9). In 1998 there was an abortive attempt to relaunch Focus with Menno Gootjes.
There has never been a problem with the technical compentency of such guitarists, they simply lack the flair and individuality of an Akkerman. In Catherine's case he was much more a jazz player than a rock axeman. Catherine is the only non-Dutchman, being a Belgian. Akkerman had quite a history before Focus (in various groups including Brainbox) and also after Focus as a solo artist.


20081128

Track by track 77

Archive number: 77
Title: How Long
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 9
Genre: Jazz Rock Vocal
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 05' 16”
Composer: Roselie Van Leer, Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Synthesisers, Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: LP – EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded/released 1978 LP – 1978 CD - 1998
Notes: We begin with a fast paced synthesiser-led introduction (00:00-00:55). Proby then comes in with the lyric (00:56-02:49). The lyrics are

How long
Lasts a love
When does a smile begin?

How far
Is a dream
From remembering?

And how fast is a train of thought?
And I know how long a moment can last.

How high
Can you see in the sky?
And does it never end?

And I think that the world was meant to be
Much better than we've ever seen or hoped for
And I say that each time you can be
Kind or mild you'll know the joy to make it better
And I think we must, and why don't we start now?

How white
How clear and how bright
Is an angel's light?

And how fast is a train of thought
And I know how long a moment can last.

The backing is quite uniformly fast but occasionally begins to break down. There is then an instrumental break at 02:50-03:21 then Proby resumes (03:22-03:58) with the following:

And I think that the world was meant to be
Much better than we've ever seen or hoped for
And I say that each time you can be
Kind or mild you'll know the joy to make it better
And I think we must, and why don't we start now?

Hear, hear
The best of all
I think love never dies

The final upbeat section (03:59-05:16) is shared by the synthesiser and guitar.

Track by track 76

Archive number: 76
Title: Maximum
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 8
Genre: Jazz Rock Instrumental
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 08' 38”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitar; Thijs Van Leer – Electric Piano, Hammond organ, Synthesisers; Voice; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: LP – EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded/released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative version: A longer slightly slower live version is found on Live at the BBC
Notes: The band begin together (00:00-00:17) with a laid back introduction soon supplemented by something more upbeat led by electric piano then guitar (00:18-00:29). The bass then takes us on with the band led sometimes by guitar, sometimes by electric piano (00:30-01:09). Two guitar-led crescendos that tail off (01:10-01:25) are followed by two successive choppy piano riffs (01:26-01:32 and 01:33-01:41). The second is then supplemented by a soaring guitar before reasserting itself (01:42-01:58). We then return to the beginning and a slower pace occasionally lifted by the guitar (01:59-02:43) and getting a little more jaunty at times with some guitar runs (02:44-03:25). A dreamy and meandering middle section (03:26-04:09) comes to an end with the drums announcing a very long and earnest guitar break (03:26-07:12). This eventually comes to an end and we settle back into the original groove to close (07:13-08:38). There is some wonderful playing throughout but it gets lost in the mix and somehow never really gels making it inferior to the live version.

20081124

Track by track 75

Archive number: 75
Title: Tokyo Rose
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 7
Genre: Jazz Rock Vocal
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 5' 05"
Composer: Roselie Van Leer, Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: P J Proby – Vocals; Eef Albers- Electric Guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Flute, Piano, Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: LP – EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded/released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative versions: None
Notes: As with the previous track we begin with a classical introduction possibly stolen from Brahms. This time the flute joins the piano. (00:00-00:44). The band then kicks in at marching pace and Proby (sounding very like Presley at times) begins to half sing half speak the lyric. The vocal is then punctuated by the guitar-led instrumental as indicated.

Hahaha, hey you know something? World War II wasn't all that much fun,
'Specially if you didn't even have a gun. Well, you know you gotta go through
it if you wanna get to it, and I can tell you I did, but no thanks to a little
lady. She was, uh, she, she kept us up all hours of the night. Hell, half the
time we didn't have time to fight. But I don't think I would have to expound
much further 'cause everyone knows 'bout Tokyo Rose.
(Instrumental break at 01:32-02:31)

Hehaha, lemme tell you a little more. Scared? Christ, I was so damned scared I
could crawl under a snake's belly, with a top hat on, without even touching it.
That's how scared I was. Shit, who wants your ass blown off when you don't even
know if it's kosher. You know, kind of like when you went to school. Always
breakin' the rules, thinkin' nobody knows. Haha, but don't kid yourself, baby,
the lady in the classroom knows, and her name? You got it - Tokyo Rose.
Instrumental break at 03:20-04:18

Lord, have mercy. Ha, I feel like I'm teaching class. I gotta go through it all
over again, 'cause you haven't learned your lessons now. I don't want to give
you a bad report card, so I say, do you know that World War II wasn't fun. Have
you got that down, Jim? Right on, especially if you didn't have a gun. Well,
you know you gotta go through it if you wanna get to it. And I can tell you I
did, but no thanks to a little lady, yeah, she kept us up all hours of the
night. Hell, half the time, we never had time to fight. And, uh, yeah, there's
no sense of me expounding any further.
The end is again quite sudden.
Note on Tokyo Rose (from Wikipedia)
Tokyo Rose (or Tokio Rose) was a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda. Their intent was to disrupt the morale of Allied forces listening to the broadcast near the Japanese mainland. The name is most strongly associated withIva Toguri D'Aquino, who broadcast under the pseudonym "Orphan Ann" during the 15-20 minute DJ segment of the 75-minute The Zero Hour programme on Radio Tokyo (NHK). Other women who, separately or together, may have warranted the title include American Ruth Hayakawa (who substituted for Iva on weekends) and Canadian June Suyama ("The Nightingale of Nanking"), who also broadcast on Radio Tokyo, and Myrtle Lipton ("Little Margie"), who broadcast from Japan-controlled Radio Manila.
Tokyo Rose has been the subject of two movies and four documentaries. Both in 1969 and 1976 CBS broadcast documentaires on the subject. 1969: The Story of "Tokyo Rose", CBS-TV and WGN radio documentary written and produced by Bill Kurtis. 1976: Tokyo Rose, CBS-TV documentary segment on 60 Minutes by Morley Safer, produced by Imrel Harvath.

Track by track 74

Archive number: 74
Title: Brother
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 6
Genre: Jazz Rock Vocal
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 05' 16”
Composer: Roselie Van Leer, Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: P J Proby – Vocals; Eef Albers- Electric Guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Piano, Mellotron, Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: LP – EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded/released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative versions: An instrumental version can be found on Van Leer's solo album Introspection 3. Also see the later Focus 8.
Notes: The piece begins with a beautiful, classically informed, piano introduction with some slight mellotron backing (00:00-00:48) possibly stolen from Brahms. After five seconds silence (00:49-00:54) heavy drum beats are heard and the band comes in with a slow march led by Proby's rock ballad vocal (0051-03:35). The angst ridden verses and 1920s American depression influenced chorus are as follows:
I've never been unhappy or alone
Each day daylight came back
I always watched the stars
Not thinking space big and dark
Rains always were my friend
The wind knew all my secrets
Brother do you know that the times are hard
Do you wanna see my eyes
Better Make a start
Cause brother do you see that the times are hard
I need love
Hey yeah (Repeat chorus)
I did not fear the shadows of trees
But city shadows don't move
I saw a child of God. He was
Someday to grow into the world.
Brother do you know that the times are hard
Do you wanna see my eyes
You'd better make a start
Cause brother ...
do you see that the times are hard
I need love (Repeat chorus)
A horn-like guitar leads the band as the music rises (03:36-04:12) until the vocal comes back in very high (04:13-05:01) with the opening six lines. A triumphant classical style piano, organ and cymbals close the piece (05:02-05:16).

Track by track 73

Archive number: 73
Title: Sneezing Bull
Main Album: Focus Con Proby. Also a single in 1977 b/w Eddy.
Track number: 5
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 04' 23”
Composer: Philip Catherine
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Acoustic guitars, Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: LP – EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded/released 1978 LP – 1978 CD - 1988
Alternative version: As found on Live at the BBC (also on Philip Catherine's solo album Guitars)
Notes: A previously recorded Philip Catherine number this track fits very well into the Focus style recalling House of the King. The building up of an atmosphere present on the original track (on the album Guitars) is not attempted on any Focus version. The acoustic guitars, drums and bass begin together (00:00-00:07) then the flute comes in (00:08-00:33, 00:39-01:05, 01:12-01:40 and 01:44-02:09). A shout from Van Leer is heard at 01:59 adding to the excitement and the live feel. After another brief bridge (02:10-02:14) reverbed electric guitars take up the lead for a more jazzy section (02:15-03:17). The flute then comes back to play first a bridge then the original theme but now against an electric guitar accompaniment (03:18-04:24). Another Van Leer shout is heard at 04:05. The piece ends quite suddenly.

Track by track 72

Archive number: 72
Title: Eddy
Main Album: Focus Con Proby. Also a single in 1977 b/w Sneezing Bull.
Track number: 4
Genre: Rock Vocal
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 5' 49"
Composer: Eef Albers
Musicians: P J Proby - Vocals; Eef Albers - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Hammond, Bass Synthesiser; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1977 Released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative versions: Roselie Van Leer (Peters) sings an earlier version on Van Leer's solo O my love and Jo De Roeck sings on a later version on Focus 9
Notes: The band open with bass and drums and 'violined' guitar and organ (00:00-00:09) then Proby comes in pleasantly crooning the lyric as follows
Just like Eddy in the morning
He never said, although he could
I know someone who would, but
He never woke to have an ear

Yes I think of things unnoticed
Like what happens in the egg
As it lies without motion
Just like Eddie's sleeping head

When I come home in the morning
Softly as I tread the dawn
I know things that are important
That have only just begun

I'm gonna fly away
Here I go here I go here I go
I'm gonna fly away
Here I go here I go here I go

Seeing you across the table
Smiles are dying on your face
Being here with my heart open
Seems a little out of place

I'm gonna fly away
Here I go here I go here I go
I'm gonna fly away
Here I go here I go here I go (repeated twice)
All the way, the guitar plays some fine licks against the vocal, which finally becomes breathless, insistent then indistinct, dying with a scream at 4:33, when the band takes over. The vocal is lost a little in the mix.
Note on Eddy
Eddy Van Leer is Thijs Van Leer's father. He plays with Thijs on the track Hommage (Song for pa) on the Thijs Van Leer solo album Reflections. Van Leer senior, a competent classical flautist himself, bought his son a flute and gave him his first lessons when Thijs was around 11 or 12.

Track by track 71

Archive number: 71
Title: Nightflight
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 3
Genre: Progressive Jazz Instrumental
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 3' 35”
Composer: Eef Albers
Musicians: Eef Albers - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Mellotron, Electric piano, Synthesisers; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1977 Released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative versions: None
Notes: This lively but unremarkable and rather jazz track zips straight in led by guitar. The pace quickens and gets jazzier at 00:41. A distinctive hornlike synthesiser sound comes in at 02:44-02:55 followed by a brief guitar solo then a break down and fade.
Note on Nighflight (from Wikipedia)
Nightflight is also the name of a 1975 song with vocals by Led Zeppelin, a 1933 film starring Clark Gable and a 1931 novel by the aviator Antoine Saint-Exupéry.

20081115

Track by track 70

Archive number: 70
Title: Orion
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 2
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 3' 58”
Composer: Eef Albers
Musicians: Eef Albers - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ, Electric piano; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1977 Released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative versions: None
Notes: This atmospheric track fades in with a hypnotic treble guitar and drums. A heavy, distorted power chord is hit at around 00:17 then takes up the lead with the starting theme continuing in the background. A chord change at 01:19 moves things along without the original background music. Things slow and come to something of a halt at 02:03 before the hypnotic guitar and drums return and the sequence is more or less repeated a second time to the dreamy melting end.
Note on Orion (from Wikipedia)
Orion was a giant huntsman in Greek mythology who Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion. Ancient sources tell several different stories about him. There are two major versions of his birth and several of his death. The most important recorded episodes are his birth somewhere in Boetia, his visit to Chios where he met Merope and was blinded by her father, Oenopion, the recovery of his sight at Lemnos, his hunting with Artemis on Crete, his death by the blow of Artemis or of the giant scorpion which became Scorpio and his elevation to the heavens. Most ancient sources omit some episodes, several tell only one. These various incidents may originally have been independent, unrelated stories. It is impossible to tell whether omissions are simply for brevity or represent real disagreement.
In Greek literature he first appears as a great hunter in Homer's
Odyssey, where Odysseus sees his shade in the underworld. The bare bones of his story are told by Hellenistic and Roman collectors of myths but there is no extant mythological record of his adventures comparable to that of others.
Orion served several roles in ancient Greek culture. The story of his adventures as the hunter is the one we have most evidence on (though not very much). He was venerated as a hero, in the Greek sense, in the Boetia region. One aetiological passage suggests he was responsible for the present shape of the Straits of Sicily.

20081111

Track by track 69

Archive number: 69
Title: Wingless
Main Album: Focus Con Proby
Track number: 1
Genre: Rock Vocal
Studio: EMI Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands
Length: 5' 32”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Roselie Van Leer
Musicians: P J Proby – Vocals; Eef Albers - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ, Electric piano; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Steve Smith - Drums
Producer: Yde de Jong
Engineer: Jan Van Vrijaldenhoven/Mike Stavron
Label: EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1977 Released 1978 LP – 1978 CD – 1998
Alternative versions: None
Notes: This vocal track is bookended by a short reverbed instrumental introduction (00:00-00:37) quite dreamy and a heavier, wilder and longer reverbed instrumental conclusion (03:08-05:32) that eventually fades. There is also a reverbed guitar-led instrumental break at 01:33-02:08 between the second and third verses. The words are as follows
I'm a bird but I am wingless
On a treetop way up high
Springtime's coming green and reckless
How I long and long to fly

But my love I get so restless
Thinking of you all the time
While my heart moves free I'm solid
Wish that I could move around

While my heart was fixed forever
Fixed in love without the fear
That one day I'll be without you
Is it true, and is it near?

Sunlight starlight love your laughter
And the love of gentle hearts
And beyond the face of the loved one
There you'll find the face of God
The words are sung well in a yearning rock ballad style but are slightly overwhelmed by the band until the final line, where everything slows and dies down before taking off again for the final section.
A note on P J Proby (from Wikipedia)
Born James Marcus Smith, November 6, 1938, Houston, Texas, this singer, songwriter and actor is noted for theatrical portrayals of Presley and Orbison and interpretations of old standards in the vein of Nat king Cole or Tony Bennett. His stage name was suggested by friend and songwriter Sharon Sheeley who remembered an old boyfriend with the name.
His father was VP of a big bank. He was educated at various military academies and later moved to California to be a movie actor. As Jett Powers he had minor roles and 2 singles on an independent label went unnoticed. In 1962 he began writing and recording demos for artists such as Elvis and Johnny Cash.
Sheeley took him to audition at Liberty Records. He soon created his fashion image of a pony-tail tied back with a ribbon, swashbuckling pirate shirts and buckled shoes. In addition, he wore skin-tight suits of velvet in different colours. London based from 1964 he began to have hits but a royalty dispute broke his run of UK successes.
His career was also affected by controversy. His trousers split during a concert. Women in the audience went wild. Somehow, they split again at the next venue. Critics, and the audience, were divided on whether it was a gimmick or eccentricism. During a 1967 concert they split again and he was dropped from the rest of the tour.
Back in the US he had a hit but poor managerial advice led to him briefly declaring himself bankrupt. He took some rest then but in September '68 recorded Three Week Hero. Released in '69 The Yardbirds (later Led Zeppelin) were his backing band.
In 1971 he had a successful West End run as Casio in a rock musical version of Othello (Catch My Soul). He continued to perform mostly in cabarets and nightclubs, singing 1960s ballads and rhythm 'n' blues material. In 1977, he portrayed Elvis in Elvis - The Musical, which received rave reviews and awards. It was following this that he recorded with Focus, the result chiefly of manager Yde de Jong being a fan.
He then returned to singing in clubs. By 1990 he was suffering from alcoholism, living in Bolton but did produce an album Thanks. He enjoyed minor success with covers of Anarchy in the UK and other unexpected material but was neglected by the media. Following his return to the public eye, in 1991, he suffered a heart attack, curtailing activities until 1993, when he appeared in a Jack Good biomusical Good Rockin' Tonite as himself. In 1995 he was in a Roy Orbison tribute show Only the Lonely. By 1996 he was again doing the Elvis musical. In 1997, he toured with The Who, performing as "The Godfather" in the road production of Quadrophenia. Now into his seventies, he continues to tour. In 2007 he was accused of benefit fraud, something he strongly denies.

20080917

Focus 9 Pie Chart

Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

20080912

Focus 8 Pie Chart


Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

20080911

Focus Live in America Pie Chart

Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

20080829

Focus 1985 Pie Chart

Char t showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

Focus Con Proby Pie Chart

Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

20080718

Live at the BBC Pie Chart


Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

20080713

Mother Focus Pie Chart

Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

Hamburger Pie Chart


20080712

At the Rainbow Pie Chart

This chart shows the proportion of the album taken up by each track

Moving Waves Pie Chart

This chart shows the proportion of the album taken up by each track

In and Out of Pie Chart

This chart shows the proportion of the album taken up by each track

Use of vocals Graph

Appearances on Focus Albums Graph


Track by track 68

Archive number: 68
Title: Hocus Pocus (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 9
Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 5' 45”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer/Roselie Peters
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano, Mellotron, Vocal, Voice; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative versions: There are many of these
Notes: This somewhat unusual rendition of Hocus Pocus is an encore. Philip Catherine had only been playing it around a month at the time so all the emphasis is on Van Leer's antics. All the changes are rung beginning, unusually, with a yodel and scream (00:00-00:16) then interleaving frenetic band work outs, followed by drum breaks, with a second yodel and scream (00:38-00:51), the strange voice and scream (01:14-01:26), a slightly extended yodel with a low then high voice (01:47-02:08), the flute (02:30-02:38), an extended yodel and scream (03:01-03:26), some whistling (03:47-04:08) and introductions (04:30-05:02) ending with “Thijs Van Leeeeeeeer”. Then we have the final riff and close (05:03-05:34) with applause to close the album (05:35-05:45).

20080707

Track by track 67

Archive number: 67
Title: Little Sister/What you see (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 8
Genre: Live Cabaret Jazz Vocal/Live Jazz Funk Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 08' 18”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer/Roselie Peters
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano, Mellotron, Vocal, Voice; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative versions: This track first appeared on Van Leer's solo album O my love!
Notes: The quiet, wistful and undemanding vocal track is segued with the up tempo jazz funk instrumental. The vocal track is bounded by an introduction (00:00-01:04) and conclusion (03:11-03:36) the highly laid back vocal section taking up the rest of the time (1:05-03:10). The intro is very quiet, with keyboards and guitar only. After a brief silence (01:00-01:02) the high hat takes us into the slow and sparse band-backed vocal. The minimalist words are
I'll carry you, I'll carry you
Out into the land,
Go before dusk
My tears are made of diamond,
They are yours
Little sister, do you know?
I have seen into the sky,
Oh how, how I am moved!
We end (03:11-03:36) with an atmospheric signing off on keyboards and guitar before the rumbling thunder of the following track begins. The bass and drums lead the build up on this next track (03:37-04:28). After a few funky false starts the guitar then takes up the lead as the band continue the funk backing (04:29-05:25). Next Van Leer, almost comically, uses his uncanny voice to take things on (05:27-05:53) breaking down briefly to give space to the piano (05:54-06:01) but taking things up again briefly (06:02-00:20). Finally Catherine's guitar comes in again to give a jazzy lead that suddenly crashes (06:43-06:47) and we have a reprise of Little Sister (using the second part) as the coda, dying out with the sound that introduced the second track (06:48-07:50). We then have half a minute of audience applause and a 'thank you very much' from Van Leer yet again (07:51-08:18). During this time the band presumably leave the stage then quickly return for the encore.

Track by track 66

Archive number: 66
Title: Angel wings (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 7
Genre: Live Jazz Rock Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 05' 38”
Composer: Philip Catherine
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative versions: This track first appeared on Catherine's effort with Jasper Van't Hof and Charlie Mariano Transitory by Pork Pie. An acoustic version can be found on his Moods Vol 1. A live Focus version appears on a later greatest hits album.
Notes: All begin together (00:00-00:07) except the drums, which come in a little later, as a melodic atmosphere of mystery is created. This is very much Catherine's track. He breaks in with his guitar to take up the lead at 00:48 and we are then treated to a feast of jazz rock guitar mastery (00:49-05:32) as he rings the changes on his own composition, ably backed by the band. Applause follows (05:33-05:38).

20080626

Track by track 65

Archive number: 65
Title: House of the King (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 6
Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 03' 10”
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Flute, Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative versions: Several other versions of this early Focus favourite exist
Date of recording/release: Recorded 19, released 1978 LP – 1978 CD - 19
Notes: This is a fairly brisk run through beginning with Catherine's strummed electric guitar (00:00-00:07) and continuing with the band in unison. The slow movement (01:18-01:56) features a pretty jazz oriented effort from Catherine. The band end on a triumphant note (02:47). This is followed by applause, sounds of tuning up for the next track and the obligatory 'thank you' (02:49-03:10).

Track by track 64

Archive number: 64
Title: Sonata for Flute (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 5
Genre: Live Classical Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 02' 45”
Composer: J S Bach (Arranged Van Leer)
Musicians: Thijs Van Leer – Flute
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative versions: A quite different fully orchestrated version can be found on Introspection 2 and a new age setting opens Bach for a New Age
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Notes: This is a then rare solo effort from Van Leer on flute that now often features in the live act. Bach wrote a number of three movement sonatas for flute and keyboard. This appears to be the siciliano from J S Bach's Sonata for Flute or Recorder and Harpsichord in E flat Major (BWV 1030). Brief applause can be heard at the end.
A note on the Sonata form (from Wikipedia)
Sonata (from Latin/Italian sonare, to sound), in music, literally means a piece played not sung as a cantata (Latin/Italian cantare, to sing). The term, being vague, naturally evolved over time, designating a variety of forms prior to the Classical era. The term took on increasing importance in the Classical period, and by the early 19th Century came to represent a principle of composing large scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded alongside fugue as one of two fundamental methods of organising, interpreting and analysing concert music. Though the sound of sonatas have changed since the Classical Era, 20th Century sonatas still maintain the same structure and build.
The Baroque period (when Bach flourished) applied the term to a variety of works, though most works then were fugues and toccatas, including works for solo instrument or groups of instruments. In the transition from Baroque to Classical, the term underwent a change in usage, from being applied to many different kinds of small instrumental work to being more specifically applied to chamber music genres with either a solo instrument, or a solo instrument with piano. Increasingly after 1800, the term applies to a form of large-scale musical argument, and it is generally used in this sense in musicology and musical analysis. Most of the time if some more specific usage is meant, then the particular body of work will be noted: eg Beethoven's sonatas refers to works specifically labelled sonata, whereas Beethoven and sonata form applies to all of his large-scale instrumental works, concert or chamber. In the 20th Century, sonatas in this sense would continue to be composed by influential and famous composers, though many works which do not meet the strict criterion of "sonata" in the formal sense would also be created and performed.
In the Baroque period, a sonata was for one or more instruments almost always with continuo. Later, most works designated as sonatas specifically are performed by a solo instrument, most often a keyboard, or by a solo instrument with a keyboard. In the late Baroque/early Classical period, a work with instrument and keyboard was referred to as having an obbligato part, in order to distinguish this from use of an instrument as a continuo, though this fell out of usage by the early 1800s. Beginning in the early 19th Century, works were termed sonata if, according to the understanding of that time, they were part of the genre, even if they were not designated sonata when originally published, or by the composer.
By the time of Corelli, two polyphonic types of sonata were established: sonata da chiesa(church sonata) and sonata de camera ("ordinary" sonata, literally chamber sonata). The sonata da chiesa, generally for one or more violins and bass, consisted normally of a slow introduction, a loosely fugued allegro and a cantabile slow movement, and a lively finale in somebinary form suggesting affinity with the dance-tunes of the suite. This scheme, however, was not very clearly defined, until Bach and Handel, when it became the essential sonata and persisted as a tradition of Italian violin music – even into the early 19th Century, in the works of Boccherini.
The sonata da camera had consisted almost entirely of idealised dance-tunes, but by the time of Bach and Handel such a composition drew apart from the sonata, and came to be called a suite, a partita
, an ordre, or, when it had a prelude in the form of a French opera-overture, an overture. On the other hand, the features of sonata da chiesa and sonata da camera then tended to be freely intermixed. Bach, however, while not using the titles themselves, nevertheless keeps the two types so distinct that they can be recognized by style and form. Thus, in his 6 violin sonatas, Nos 1, 3, and 5 are recognisably sonate de chiesa; and Nos 2, 4, and 6 are explicitly called partitas, but are admissible among the sonatas as being sonate da camera. Bach is also cited as being among the first composers to have the keyboard and solo instrument share a melodic line, whereas previously most sonatas for keyboard and instrument had kept the melody exclusively in the solo instrument.
The genre – particularly for solo instruments with just the continuo or ripieno – eventually influenced the solo movements of suites or concerti that occurred between movements with the full orchestra playing, eg Bach's Brandenburg concertos. The trio sonatas of Vivaldi, too, show parallels with the concertos he was writing at the same time.

20080621

Track by track 63

Archive number: 63
Title: Sneezing Bull
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 4
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 07' 45”
Composer: Philip Catherine
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars (Taped acoustic guitars accompanied by soprano saxophone); Thijs Van Leer – Flute; Bert Ruiter – Bass, cabasa; David Kemper – Cabasa, Cymbals, Gong
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative versions: Catherine's version on Guitars and the later studio recording found on Focus Con Proby. Another short live recording appears on some collections.
Date of recording/release: Recorded 19, released 1978 LP – 1978 CD - 19
Notes: Though a previously recorded Philip Catherine number this track fits well into the Focus style and obviously recalls House of the King. This version retains the building up of an atmosphere present on the original Catherine track (on Guitars) but later abandoned. Ostensibly live, Catherine make use of a backing tape featuring acoustic guitars and soprano sax which he and Ruiter play over in the first part (00:00-02:07) where the atmosphere is built up. We then swing into a jazzy main section (02:08-05:33) where Catherine strums (still accompanied by his taped acoustic guitar), Kemper and Ruiter accompanying on cabasas and Van Leer plays his distinctive flute in varying styles. Besides the main riff there are various bridges in and out, some quite jazzy and others quite plaintive or wild, in what is a quite joyous piece. Kemper crashes his cymbals from time to time. Then for a longish stretch it is just the guitars and percussion (05:34-06:15) but the flute comes back in as the riff continues to come in and lead out (06:16-07:15). At last a final gong is struck accompanied by wild flute sounds (07:16-07:20). Finally (07:21-07:45) we have the audience appreciation and yet another grateful 'thank you' from Van Leer.

20080617

Track by track 62

Archive number: 62
Title: Maximum (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 3
Genre: Live Funk Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 13' 58”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitar; Thijs Van Leer – Electric Piano, Mellotron, Hammond organ; Voice; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Alternative version: A shorter version can be found on Focus Con Proby
Notes: This is a number said to date back to Akkerman days. (Some claim to be able to hear its strains on a much later Akkerman solo album). The band begin together (00:00-00:24) with an introductory groove that is followed by a drum-announced electric piano-led burst (00:25-00:29) and a slower groove (00:30-00:52). Another funkier riff (00:53-01:08) then precedes a similarly slow keyboard-led section (01:09-01:37) ended by the guitar. The guitar then leads us into more funky stuff (01:38-02:10) before the main funky riff breaks in again (02:11-02:17) and another slower meandering section follows (02:18-03:26). Here the mellotron is more prominent. The guitar and keyboard lead off on familiar lines (03:27-03:36) but is then more distinctive and percussive (03:37-03:57). At 03:58 a brand new Bach-influenced keyboard section enters. This is punctuated first by a screaming guitar (at 04:09ff) then Van Leer's screaming voice (04:31ff). At 04:45 we break down with first the more staccato-style guitar then (04:56) the Bach-influenced keyboards. At 05:07 the screaming guitar is backed by distinctive drumming and we move on via screams from the guitar (05:10-05:18) and Van Leer (05:30-05:40) to yet another breakdown (at 05:44). The rises, falls and breaks continue until 07:40-08:27 where there is a decided slowing of pace that eventually picks up in a different vein, led by the guitar (08:28-12:09). Catherine uses pedal effects here and plays some beautiful lines now backed by Van Leer's organ as well as other keyboards. We finally break back into the funky groove again at the end, which alternates with the established tune to the end (12:10-13:49). Applause follows and Van Leer can again be heard – this time saying 'thank you very much' (13:50-13:58)

20080613

Track by track 61

Archive number: 61
Title: Blues in D (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 2
Genre: Live Jazz Rock Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 3' 46”
Composer: Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitar; Thijs Van Leer – Mellotron, Electric Piano; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Notes: We begin with the drums and straight away the band is into a keyboard led (electric piano over mellotron) groove as strummed guitar, bass and drums accompany (00:00-00:51). A guitar chord then breaks in and proceedings hang a little as the riff is repeated until the original groove is re-established (00:52-01:30). A crisp guitar next takes up the lead role in a similar jazzy exploratory style (01:31-03:00) the rhythm never failing all the while. At the three minute mark the electric piano briefly comes back in (03:01-03:11) but the guitar is soon back and leads the descent into the close of the piece (03:12-03:35). Applause follows and Van Leer can be heard saying 'thank you' (00:36-03:46).
A note on the Blues (from Wikipedia)
Blues is a vocal and instrumental form of music based on the use of the blue notes. It emerged in African-American communities of the USA from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The use of blue notes and the prominence ofcall and repsonse patterns in the music and lyrics are indicative of African influence. The blues influenced later American and Westernpopular music, as it became the roots of jazz, R& B, rock, etc, etc.
The phrase "the blues" is a reference to the the blue devils, meaning 'down' spirits, depression and sadness. An early reference to "the blues" can be found in George Colman's farce Blue devils, a farce in one act (1798). Later during the 19th Century, the phrase was used as a euphemism delirium tremens and the police and was not uncommon in letters from homesick Civil War soldiers.
Though the use of the phrase in African-American music may be older, it has been attested to since 1912, when Hart Wand's
Dallas Blues became the first copyrighted Blues composition. In lyrics the phrase is often used to describe a depressed mood.
There are few characteristics common to all blues, because the genre takes its shape from the idiosyncrasies of individual performances. However, there are some characteristics that were present long before the creation of the modern blues.
An early form of blues-like music were call-and-response shouts, which were a "functional expression ... style without accompaniment or harmony and unbounded by the formality of any particular musical structure."
A form of this pre-blues was heard in slave field shouts and hollers, expanded into "simple solo songs laden with emotional content". The blues, as it is now known, can be seen as a musical style based on both European harmonic structure and the African call-and-response tradition, transformed into an interplay of voice and guitar.
Many blues elements, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, can be traced back to the music of Africa. The Diddley bow, a homemade one-stringed instrument found in parts of the American South in the early 20th Century and the banjo are African-derived instruments that may have helped in the transfer of African performance techniques into the early blues instrumental vocabulary.
During the first decades of the 20th Century blues music was not clearly defined in terms of a chord progression. There were many blues in 8-bar form, such as "How Long Blues", "Trouble in Mind", and Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway." Idiosyncratic numbers of bars are also encountered occasionally, as with the 9 bar progression inHowlin Wolf's's "Sitting on top of the world". The basic 12-bar lyric framework of a blues composition is reflected by a standard harmoic progression of 12 bars, in 4/4 or (rarely) 2/4 time. Slow blues are often played in 12/8 (4 beats per measure with 3 subdivisions per beat). By the 1930s, 12-bar blues became the standard. There would also be 16 bar blues, as in Ray Charles's instrumental "Sweet 16 Bars", and in Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man".

20080610

Track by track 60

Archive number: 60
Title: Virtuous Woman (Live)
Main Album: Live at the BBC
Track number: 1
Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LL (now Apollo Victoria)
Length: 10' 57”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: Philip Catherine - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ, Electric Piano, Synthesiser, Voice; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: BBC
Engineer: BBC
Label: Hux Records
Date of recording/release: Recorded March 21 1976 but only released (on CD) June 1 2004
Notes: The applause dies down (00:00-00:13) and we hear Van Leer intoning something like an ancient monk, backed chiefly by organ and some percussive sounds (from the guitarists?). He then becomes more operatic (00:09-02:02). After a further brief section dominated by bass (02:03-02:08) Catherine's guitar takes up the lead in jazz style, the organ and bass playing but still nothing from Kemper (02;09-03:15). His cymbals come in near the start of another atmospheric section that follows, featuring also the voice, electric piano and bass (03:16-03:30) then guitar too (03:31-04:06). This becomes more melodic in time (04:07-04:42), the guitar eventually sounding more clearly in a fairly long exploratory and meandering passage (04:43-07:05). An abrupt change announced by drums comes next with the electric piano and guitar leading at first (07:06-07:29) but being superseded by a jazzy scat section from Van Leer (07:30-08:12). The previous groove then reasserts itself (08:13-08:40) before another abrupt increase of pace and a further more aggressive passage on guitar (08:41-09:56). Yet another final change of pace sees a reversion to something more sedate (09:57-10:44) and it is in this mood that the piece is played out except for three final fast and loud jazz chords in unison (10:45-10:47). The crowd show their appreciation (10:48-10:57).

Albums Graph

The Best Focus Track

This is debatable. Surely Sylvia, Hocus Pocus and House of the King must be in the top three. Anonymous 2, Eruption and Hamburger Concerto must be discounted as they are suites rather than individual tracks. How about

1. Sylvia
2. Hocus Pocus
3. House of the King
4. Focus 2
5. Tommy
6. Birth
7. Focus 1
8. Focus 3
9. All together ... Oh that!
10. No hang ups
11. Anonymus
12. Focus 4

20080607

The Best Focus Album

There are around 13 Focus albums all told (if we include the three live albums - there is a fourth [Live in South America] not widely available).
In chronological order:
1. In and out
2. Moving Waves
3. Three
4. At the Rainbow (Live)
5. Hamburger Concerto
6. Mother Focus
7. Ship of Memories
8. Live at the BBC (Live)
9. Con Proby
10. Focus (1985)
11. Live in America (Live)
12. Eight
13. New skin
Putting these in order of merit is not easy in some respects. Undoubtedly 2, 3 and 5 should be in the top three - but in what order. We all agree that Con Proby must come last. Here are two personal lists, the first only including studio albums, the second the live ones too.
1. Three
2. Hamburger
3. Waves
4. Ship
5. In & out
6. 1985
7. Mother
8. New Skin
9. Eight
10. Proby
1. Three
2. Hamburger
3. Waves
4. Rainbow
5. Ship
6. In & out
7. 1985
8. Mother
9. New Skin
10. BBC
11. Eight
12. America
13. Proby

Track by track 59

Archive number: 59
Title: Father Bach
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 12
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 1' 32”
Composer: J S Bach arranged Van Leer
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter – Bass
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD – 1988
Notes: The title is a nice joke here as it not only balances Mother Focus but also acknowledges the debt to the master. Van Leer's organ, Akkerman's mostly 'violined' guitar and Ruiter's bass run through a short piece from the opening chorale of J S Bach's St Matthew Passion of 1729 (BWV 244). VAn Leer turns to the piece more than once on his Introspection albums.
A note on the St Matthew passion by J S Bach (from Wikipedia)
J S Bach (185-1750) was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he introduced no new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation in composition for diverse musical forces, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France. Revered for their intellectual depth and technical and artistic beauty, Bach's works are many. While his fame as an organist was great during his lifetime, he was not particularly well-known as a composer. His adherence to Baroque forms and contrapuntal style was considered "old-fashioned" by his contemporaries, especially late in his career when the musical fashion tended towards Rococco and later Classical styles. A revival of interest and performances of his music began early in the 19th Century, and he is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.
The St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion) (also, Matthæus Passion), BWV 244, is a musical composition written by Bach for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with a libretto by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). It sets chapters 26 and 27 of Matthew's Gospel to music, with interspersedchorales and arias.
Written in 1727. Only two of the four (or five) settings which Bach wrote have survived; the other is the St John. The St Matthew was probably first performed on Good Friday (April 11) 1727 in the Thomas Kirche in Leipzig, where Bach was Kapellmeister. He later revised it, performing it again on March 30, 1736, this time including two organs in the instrumentation. The St Matthew was not heard outside of Leipzig until 1829, when Felix Mendelssohn performed an abbreviated and modified version in Berlin to great acclaim. Mendelssohn's revival of the St Matthew brought Bach's music, particularly the large-scale works, to a public and scholarly attention that has persisted into the present era.

Track by track 58

Archive number: 58
Title: My Sweetheart
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 11
Genre: Funky Pop Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 28”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric sitars; Thijs Van Leer – Piano, Mellotron, Flute; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums, Congas
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Alternative version: Van Leer repeated this track on his solo album Nice to have met you.
Notes: This bass driven piece of disco-influenced pop music begins with the whole band grooving (00:00-00:15) before the electric sitar strikes out a melody (00:16-02:04). It is the sitar that carries the load for most of the time though the flute (possibly synthesised at first) can also be heard in the background (01:17-01:33). A flute-led bridge then takes us on (02:05-02:16) until the sitar leads again (02:17-02:30). The flute is heard again (02:31-02:43) and things break down (02:44-02:49) until a bass-led break (02:50-03:07) some more flute (03:08-03:20) and a fade (03:21-03:28).

Track by track 57

Archive number: 57
Title: All Together ... Oh That!Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 9
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 36”
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Acoustic guitars, Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Piano; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: As with Ruiter's pair of 'Vanilla' tracks so with these Akkerman tracks we again have a matching title and a livelier second piece. This one is possibly the most commercially accessible track in the whole Focus catalogue. Rather countrified, it begins with double-tracked acoustic guitars (00:00-00:18) supplemented by drums, bass and wandering piano (00:19-01:02) before a very bright and playful electric guitar takes things up at 01:03. The piece then plays out with electric guitar beautifully leading the other guitars and the rest of the band breaking down a little from time to time but then rising again (01:03-03:10) until the piano becomes more insistent and we reach a final fade (03:11-03:36).

Track by track 56

Archive number: 56
Title: Someone's Crying ... What!
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 8
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 16”
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Acoustic Guitars, Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Mellotron, Flute; Bert Ruiter – Bass
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: This slow and highly atmospheric piece has a simple structure with alternating main sections. First two highly reverbed guitars (one plucked, one mostly 'violined') play over the bass (00:00-00:27). A string mellotron then backs the guitars (00:28-00:52) until an alto flute-led section succeeds (00:53-01:33). After the breakdown and a caesura at 01:32-34 the pattern from 00:28 is more or less repeated (01:34-02:00 and 02:01-02:41) including the caesura (02:39-02:41). A final guitar-led section (02:42-03:06) concludes with extended notes on flute and 'violined' guitar (03:07-03:16).

20080605

Track by track 55

Archive number: 55
Title: Focus IV
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 7
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 54”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Piano, Mellotron, Synthesiser; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Alternative version: A variation on the track was later recorded by Akkerman as Soft Focus (on Blues Hearts).
Notes: Perhaps the most quintessentially Focus track on the Mother Focus album this fifth use of the Focus title (the previous attempt was not issued until 1977 and so is called Focus V) showcases both Akkerman and Van Leer. Van Leer begins with a somewhat lengthy introduction first on classically oriented piano and flute (00:00-00:21) then on piano accompanied by bass (00:22-00:46). Akkerman comes in next with a rich lead guitar backed by drums, bass and piano, which comes to something of a climax (00:47-01:37) before the guitar leads again (01:38-01:55). A bird-like piano and flute section breaks in next then flies with a mellotron backing but reverting to piano at the break down (01:56-02:28). Next it is the turn of Akkerman's guitar to lead again but with plenty of piano backing (02:29-02:52). A rather egregious and harsh synthesiser break twice cuts in then (02:53-02:57/03:06-03:21) separated by the aspiring piano-backed flute (02:58-03:05) – conflict and resolution is a big theme in Van Leer's writing. The final guitar-led section brings us nearly to the end (03:22-00:3:31). The final notes feature an again classically styled piano, this time alone (03:32-03:54).

Track by track 54

Archive number: 54
Title: Tropic Bird
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 6
Genre: Laid back Jazz Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 2' 38”
Composer: Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano, Flute, Mellotron; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: This extremely laid back mood piece features Van Leer's keyboards and flute backed by brushed drums and bass. Akkerman appears to be absent.

Track by track 53

Archive number: 53
Title: Hard Vanilla
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 5
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 2' 36”
Composer: Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Acoustic guitars, Electric guitars with talkbox; Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano?; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: This harder edged counterpart to the previous track has the band dominated by guitars – acoustic guitars and especially the talkbox. The main theme is repeated several times until we reach a coda that winds down before going a little wild then fading (02:10-02:31).

20080604

Track by track 52

Archive number: 52
Title: Soft Vanilla
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 4
Genre: Light Jazz Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 01”
Composer: Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano, Synthesiser, Mellotron; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: This gentle song begins with Van Leer's synthesiser (00:00-00:25) but is succeeded by his flute (00:26-01:30). Gentle chopped guitar joins the rhythm section as backing. A harder edged keyboard section comes in (01:31-01:55) to be succeeded by the flute again and then coming to a halt (01:56-03:01). Like the name it is all very light and sweet.

20080603

Track by track 51

Archive number: 51
Title: Bennie Helder
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 3
Genre: Jazz Fusion Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 27”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars, Acoustic guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Electric Piano, Mellotron, Piano, Synthesiser, Voice, Flute; Bert Ruiter – Bass; Dave Kemper - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: Van Leer opens this slightly directionless piece with keyboards and voice (00:00-00:07). The band then come in with some pleasant stuff (00:08-00:58) well mixed keyboards and guitar with an effect leading. Things slow then something similar follows (00:58-01:44) until another break down (01:45-01:43) where we hear a five note interjection featuring voice and keyboards (01:44-01:47) before the flute comes in to lead supported too by acoustic guitar (01:48-02:09). Then comes a series of seven definite unison chords (02:10-02:17) and a return to the main theme (02:18-02:50). Finally we have a few more chords (02:51-02:59) a ritartando (03:00-03:10) and a final bass dominated coda that includes flute and begins to set off in another (perhaps more interesting) direction as it fades (03:11-03:27).

Track by track 50

Archive number: 50
Title: Mother Focus
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 1
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 3' 03”
Composer: Jan Akkerman, Thijs Van Leer, Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Acoustic guitars, Electric guitars with talkbox; Thijs Van Leer – Piano, Hammond organ, Electric piano; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums, Congas
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Alternative version: This is a remake of the track originally recorded as Glider, then abandoned but finally preserved on Ship of Memories
Notes: The track begins with acoustic guitar (00:00-00:04) then piano (00:00-00:07) and a high hat (00:08) then bass (00:11) and soon the whole band is playing together with Akkerman working the talk box upfront. At 00:33 Van Leer adds classical piano chords and an operatic scat vocal. This all comes to a climax at 01:03. It is followed by a riff from Akkerman while Van leer switches to the organ (01:04-01:36). This eventually winds down before getting back to the original rhythm (01:37-02:09) when it is time for the operatic vocal to come in again (02:10-02:39). This again until drums and voice predominate backed by the band and building to a final climax (03:40-03:57) and the briefest talk box coda (03:58-03:03).
A note on the talk box (from Wikipedia)
A talk box is an effects device allowing a musician to modify the sound of his instrument by changing the shape of his mouth. The effect can be used to shape the frequency content of the sound and apply speech sounds (in the same way as singing) onto a musical instrument, typically a guitar or keyboard. An effects pedal is usually used. This contains a speaker attached with an air tight connection to a plastic tube, however, it can come in other forms. The speaker is generally in the form of a horn driver, the sound generating part of a horn speaker with the horn replaced by the tube connection. The box has connectors for the connection to the speaker output of an amplifier and a connection to a normal instrument speaker. A foot-operated on/off switch on the box directs the sound either to the talkbox speaker or the normal speaker. The other end of the tube is taped to the side of a microphone, extending enough to direct the reproduced sound in or near the performer's mouth.
When activated, the sound from the amplifier is reproduced by the speaker in the talkbox and directed through the tube into the performer's mouth. The shape of the mouth filters the sound, with the modified sound being picked up by the microphone. The shape of the mouth changes the harmonic content of the sound in the same way it affects the harmonic content generated by the vocal folds when speaking.
The performer can vary the shape of the mouth and tongue position, changing the sound of the instrument being reproduced by the talkbox speaker. The performer can mouth words, with the resulting effect sounding as though the instrument is speaking. This "shaped" sound exits the performer's mouth, and when it enters a microphone, an instrument/voice hybrid is heard. The sound can be that of any musical instrument, but the effect is mostly commonly associated with the guitar. The rich harmonics of an electric guitar are shaped by the mouth producing a sound very similar to voice, effectively allowing the guitar to appear to "speak".
Pete Drake, a Nashville mainstay on the pedal steel guitar, first used a talk box in 1964. There is controversy over who invented the commercial device. Bob Heil has claimed he invented it but there is clearly a prior example in the form of the Kustom Electronics device, "The Bag", which is the same concept housed in a decorative bag slung over the shoulder like a wine bottle. This appeared in 1969, two years before Heil's Talk Box. The Bag is said to have been designed by Doug Forbes, who states that the exact same concept (horn driver attached to a plastic tube and inserted into the mouth) had previously been patented as an artificial larynx. In 1973, Heil gave his talk box to Peter Frampton as a Christmas present. Frampton first heard it when Stevie Wonder used it. Then when he was playing guitar for George Harrison, he saw Pete Drake use it with a pedal steel guitar. He used it extensively on his album Frampton Comes Alive! Due to the success of the album, Frampton became somewhat synonymous with the device. Other early adopters of the talk box were Jeff Beck and Joe Walsh of the Eagles (in 1973). Akkerman was probably first aware of Joe Walsh though he played with Bogart and Appice who played with Beck.

20080531

Track by track 49

Archive number: 49
Title: Crackers
Main Album: Ship of Memories
Track number: 8
Genre: Jazz Funk Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 2' 38”
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric and acoustic guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Flute; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums
Producer: Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge?
Label: LP – EMI, Harvest, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC
Date of recording/release: 1975. Not released until 1977 (LP). CD – 1988, 1993, 2001, 2006
Alternative version: Other longer fluteless versions appear on Akkerman's self-titled 1977 solo album and his live album of the following year. He also brought it out as a single.
Notes: This jazz funk piece by Akkerman features first his acoustic and electric guitars (with some pedal effect employed) then Van Leer's flute leading the band (00:00-00:30; 00:31-00:45). This pattern is repeated (00:46-01:13; 01:14-01:29). The electric guitar then leads off on a riff (01:20-01:45) before returning to the original funky style with acoustic and electric guitars (01:46-02:12). A final all electric coda, which then fades, brings the piece to a close (02:13-02:38).
A note on Funk (from Wikipedia)
Funk is an American music style that originated in the mid- to late-1960s when African American musicians blended soul, jazz and R&B into arhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasises melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground. Unlike R&B and soul, which have many chord changes, funk songs are often based on an extended vamp on a single chord. Like much African inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments such as electric guitar, bass, Hammond organ and drums playing interlocking rhythms. Funk bands also usually have a horn section, which plays rhythmic "hits". In funk bands, guitarists typically play in a percussive style, often using the wah-wah sound effect and muting the notes in their riffs to create a percussive sound. Influential funk performers include James Brown, George Clinton, Curtis Mayfield, etc. The 1970s was probably the era of highest mainstream visibility for funk music. Notable 1970s funk bands include Earth Wind and Fire, The Commodores and Kool and the Gang, though many of these most famous bands in the genre also played disco and soul extensively. Funk music was a major influence on the development of 1970s disco. In the 1970s, jazz music drew upon funk to create a new subgenre of jazz-funk, which can be heard in 1970s recordings by Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

20080530

Track by track 48b


Archive number: 48b
Title: Avondrood
Main Album: Zing je moerstaal (a compilation). It also appeared with House of the King as a single in 1976.
Track number: 10 (of 12)
Genre: Progressive Rock Vocal
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 5' 48"
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Jules Deelder
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars, Vocals; Thijs Van Leer – Vocals, Bass Moog, Hammond organ, Mellotrons, Piano, Electric Piano, Wind machine; David Kemper - Drums
Producer: Focus
Engineer: Mike Butcher or Eric Prestidge?
Label: LP – EMI, Harvest, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC
Date of recording/release: 1975. Released 1976 (LP)
Alternative version: The instrumental version (Red sky at night [48a])
Notes: Avondrood consists of the backing track Red Sky at Night with chiefly Van Leer, but also Akkerman, singing over it. The words are

O avondrood
vlammengloed
O bloedbad in het westen

O late roos
lege doos
O stoffelijke resten

O medemensch
moederschoot
O onvervulde wensen

O bete broodskind
des doods
O verte
[O evening glow, glow of flames, O massacre in the west
O late rose, empty box, O mortal remains
O fellow-man, mother's lap, O unfulfilled desires
O bite of bread, child of death, O distance]
A note on Zing je moerstaal
Zing je moerstaal (Sing your mother tongue) was a compilation album. The cover shows a Dutch symbol, the frog with the wooden shoes, sitting in a singing mouth with a pen in his hand: the combination of music and poetry. In the word "moers" you can see the colours of the Dutch national flag: red, white and blue. The album was released in Holland by CPNB (Commissie voor de Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek - Commission for the Collective Propaganda of the Dutch Book) on the occasion of the Week of books 1976. On the album various Dutch pop musicians (Focus, Kayak, Maggie MacNeal, Fungus, Bots, Robert Long, etc) recorded works by different Dutch authors (Jules Deelder, Harry Mulisch, Theun de Winter, Wim de Vries, Bert Schierbeek, Simon Carmiggelt, etc). Focus knew of the works of the writer and poet Jules Deelder (from Rotterdam) before this recording was done. "Avondrood" was taken from his poetry collection De zwarte jager (The black hunter). It was chosen because of its regular structure and its positive sometimes unusual perspective.

Track by track 48a

Archive number: 48a
Title: Red sky at night
Main Album: Ship of Memories
Track number: 6
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 5' 48"
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Jan Akkerman, Jules Deelder
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars, Vocals; Thijs Van Leer – Vocals, Bass Moog, Hammond organ, Mellotrons, Piano, Electric Piano, Wind machine; David Kemper - Drums Producer: Focus Engineer: Mike Butcher or Eric Prestidge? Label: LP – EMI, Harvest, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC
Date of recording/release: 1975 but not released in this form until 1977 (LP). CD – 1988,1993, 2001, 2006.
Alternative version: This is the instrumental backing track for the vocal track Avondrood [48b], presumably laid down like this before the vocals were added.
Notes: A wind machine is heard at the beginning and end (00:00-00:13/05:29-05:48) and in the background throughout. The band comes in together (at 00:14) led by Akkerman's guitar soaring over a slow march featuring Van Leer on pianos and bass Moog. There is a beautiful guitar-led bridge (01:53-02:14) before the earlier theme is repeated. The second time the flute leads taking up the bridge part and developing it (02:47-03:51). It is later interspersed with varied fretwork on guitar until a ritartando descends. Things then take off again, led by the piano-backed rising then soaring guitar (03:52-04:18). The section closes with a decisive cymbal crash (04:18) a note from the electric piano (04:19) and a wind machine-backed caesura (04:20-04:22) before the drums and a strong piano chord (04:23-04:26) announce the final section, where the organ is heard with the piano while the guitar (now more horn-like) still leads. A flute is heard at 04:52-04:57 as the piece slowly fades away (04:27-05:28).

Track by track 47

Archive number: 46
Title: Glider
Main Album: Ship of Memories
Track number: 5
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Decca Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (later Studio 55)
Length: 4' 34”
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric Sitar, Drum machine; Thijs Van Leer – Piano, Mellotron, Voice; Bert Ruiter – Bass; David Kemper – Drums
Producer: Focus
Engineer: Mike Butcher or Eric Prestidge?
Label: LP – EMI, Harvest, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC
Alternative version: This is an earlier abandoned version of the track Mother Focus
Date of recording/release: 1975. Not released until 1977 (LP). CD – 1988, 1993, 2001, 2006.
Notes: Using the basic elements found in Sylvia and other tracks an attempt is made here (the title and sound would suggest) to create an atmosphere and even a particular scenario. First we have the early morning arrival at an airfield and preparations for a flight (00:00-00:51). No doubt the use of the drum machine was intended to create a mechanical atmosphere. Akkerman's sitar early on also reminds one of some sort of crankshaft or winch. There are shouts and sneezes from Van Leer too. A croaking sound from Van Leer announces lift off and eventually the glider is set free (01:22) to joyfully glide through the air. This is represented by Van Leer's voice at first but from 01:49 Akkerman's sitar takes up the representative role, including rolling falls (eg 02:15-02:19). At 02:49 Van Leer's voice comes in again. The sitar comes back in though and at 03:32-03:35 we have another rolling fall before the fade.
A note on the electric sitar (from Wikipedia)
A kind of electric guitar designed to mimic the sound of the traditional South Asian instrument. Depending on manufacturer and model, these instruments bear varying degrees of resemblance to the traditional sitar. Most, in fact, resemble the guitar in the style of the body adn headstock, though some have a body shaped to resemble that of a sitar. The instrument was developed in the late sixties when many western musical groups began to use sitar. The sitar is generally considered a difficult instrument to learn. By contrast, the electric sitar, with its standard guitar fretboard and tuning, is easy for a guitarist to play. In addition to the six playing strings, most electric sitars have sympathetic strings, typically located on the left side of the instrument (though some do not have these). These strings have their own pickups and are usually tuned with a harp wrench (a difficult process). A unique type of bridge, a "buzz bridge" (developed by session musician Vincent Bell), helps give the instrument its distinctive sound. Some electric sitars have drone strings in lieu of sympathetic strings. A few models, such as the Jerry Jones "Baby" sitar, lack both, while still retaining the distinctive buzz bridge. Vinnie Bell used the instrument on several songs, including "Green Tambourine" (the Lemon Pipers) and "Band of Gold" (Freda Payne). Because the tone quality and playing technique differ significantly from that of the sitar, it is not used by classical musicians, but typically by rock, jazz, fusion, progressive rock and other pop music groups. Eg Santana, Rory Gallagher, etc. Versions of electric sitar were also developed both in India and Pakistan. These are smaller, look like a sitar and are tuned the same way as the original classical sitar.
Akkerman bought a Coral electric sitar, manufactured by the Danelectro company, in the USA in 1973. (These first appeared in stores at the end of 1967. Danelectro ceased trading the following year. Consequently, prices of second-hand examples began to spiral).

Track by track 46

Archive number: 46
Title: I need a bathroom
Main Album: Mother Focus
Track number: 2
Genre: Rock Vocal
Studio: Morgan Studios, Brussels, Belgium
Length: 3' 03”
Composer: Bert Ruiter
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Electric guitars; Thijs Van Leer – Electric piano, Mellotron; Bert Ruiter – Bass, Vocals; Colin Allen - Drums
Producer: Hubert Terheggen/Focus
Engineer: Eric Prestidge
Label: LP – Polydor, Atco, Philips, EMI
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1975, released October 1975. LP – 1975, 1977, CD - 1988
Notes: This appears to be a humourous parody of early disco - increasingly popular at the time. After a brief introduction featuring guitars, a voice, the piano and finally drums and bass (00:00-00:12) the vocal begins and takes up most of the time (00:13-02:55) with just a few very short breaks. The lyrics are (something like)

Oh I need the bathroom
Oh I need the bathroom
Oh keep on fighting
Oh I need the bathroom

And oh it's keeping on
Oh keep on fighting

Oh I need a bathroom
We're 'bout keeping on
Oh keep on fighting
And you keep me on

Then call again to Alaro
Maybe things will change, things tomorrow,
And call again - keeping on

Oh I need a bathroom
Oh I need a bathroom
Oh keep on fighting
Oh

And yet it seems tomorrow may be'll change things -
I don't know if you're right
Oh keep on rocking
Oh keep on fighting
Oh
The piece finally stumbles out rather than fading or ending with a flourish (02:56-03:03).
A note on Disco (from Wikipedia)
Most people agree that the first disco songs were released in 1973, though some suggest earlier examples. The first article about disco appeared in Rolling Stone in September 1973. In 1974 New York City's WPIX-FM premiered the first disco radio show. Musical influences include funk, soul, salsa and the Latin or Hispanic musics which influenced salsa. The disco sound has a soaring, often reverberated vocals over a steady four on the floor beat, a quaver or semi-quaver hi-hat pattern with an open hi-hat on the off-beat, and prominent syncopated electric bass line. Strings, horns, electric pianos and electric guitars create a lush background sound. Orchestral instruments such as the flute are often used for solo melodies and, unlike in rock, lead guitar is rarely used. Many non-disco artists recorded disco songs at the height of disco's popularity, especially after 1977 and films such as Saturday Night Fever. Early disco hits - Jackson 5/Dancing machine (1973), Hues' Corporation/Rock the boat, Barry White/You're the first the last, my everything, Labelle/Lady Marmalade, George McCrae/Rock your baby (1974). Significant too in this early disco period was Gloria Gaynor and Miami's KC and the Sunshine Band.