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.




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.

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