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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20080209

Track by track 33[U]

Archive number: 33[U]
Title: Britannia
Genre: Live Elizabethan Instrumental
Venue: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, 232 Seven Sisters Road, N4 3NX (recorded using Pye Studios Mobile Unit and edited from the two performances).
Length: 3' 56”
Composer: John Dowland
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Lute
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Phil Dunne
Date of recording/release: May 4, 5 1973/unreleased
Alternative version: A concerto version appears on Akkerman's solo album Tabernakel. He did it much later live and just on guitar (Live at the Priory).
Notes: This was the very final encore and featured only Akkerman. It was apparently an afterthought (though tuning a lute is no quick task) and some had left the theatre by this point. It features Akkerman unaccompanied for 3' 40" with clapping and cheering either side. After the initial enthusiasm Akkerman seems in danger of losing his audience but fights manfully on and eventually wins them.
A note on John Dowland (From Wikipedia)
John Dowland (1563-1626) English composer, singer and lutenist, best known today for his melancholy songs such as "Come, heavy sleep", "Come again", "Flow my tears", etc. His instrumental music has undergone a major revival and has been a source of repertoire for classical guitarists during the 20th Century.
Very little is known of his early life, but it is generally thought he was born in London. He went to Paris, 1580 where he was in service to the ambassador to the French court. He became a Roman Catholic at this time, which he claimed led to his not being offered a post at Elizabeth I's court. However, his conversion was unpublicised and being Catholic did not prevent other important musicians such as Byrd having a court career. Dowland worked instead for many years at the court of Christian IV of Denmark. He returned to England, 1606 and in 1612 secured a post as one of James I's lutenists. Interestingly there are no compositions dating from this time until his death. Most of his music is for his own instrument, the lute. It includes several books of solo lute works, lute songs (for one voice and lute), part-songs with lute accompaniment and several pieces for viol consort with lute. Poet Richard Barnfield wrote that Dowland's "heavenly touch upon the lute doth ravish human sense." He wrote what is probably his best known instrumental work, Lachrimae or Seaven Teares Figured in Seaven Passionate Pavans, a set of seven for five viols and lute, each based on Flow My Tears. It became one of the best known pieces of consort music in his own time. His pavane Lachrymae antiquae was also one of the big hits of the 17th Century. Dowland's music often displays the melancholia so fashionable in music at that time. He wrote a consort piece with the punning title Semper Dowland, semper dolens (always Dowland, always doleful), which may be said to sum up much of his work. His Come Heavy Sleepe, the Image of True Death, was the inspiration for Britten's Nocturnal after John Dowland for guitar, written in 1964 for guitarist Julian Bream. His music became part of the repertoire of the early music revival with Chrisopher Hogwood and David Munrow and the Early Music Consort in the late 1960s and later with the Academy of Ancient Music from the early 1970s.

Track by track 32

Archive number: 32
Title: Hocus Pocus (reprise)
Main Album: Focus at the Rainbow
Track number: 7
Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, 232 Seven Sisters Road, N4 3NX (recorded using Pye Studios Mobile Unit and edited from the two performances).
Length: 2' 43” (or 03' 03” as originally played)
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric guitar (Gibson Les Paul Custom); Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ, Voice; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Pierre Van Der Linden – Drums
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Phil Dunne
Label: LP – Polydor, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC Victor
Date of recording/release: May 4, 5 1973/October 1973 (May 4 concert televised UK July 1973) CD 1988, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006
Alternative version: The original is on Moving Waves
Notes: This reprise of Hocus Pocus immediately follows Sylvia. It begins with Akkerman's chopped guitar (00:00-00:03) playing the opening part from the US single. The guitar is joined by strong bass (00:04) then drums (00:11) then the whole band (00:28). This is followed, after a very caesura, by the main theme (00:35-00:58). The break features Van Leer's voice singing operatically high at first then very low, before breaking into a chanting style, accompanied by the audience's claps. This gets faster and faster until the 'scream' breaks in and (01:43) the band returns with the theme (01:49) at break neck speed. The whole is then brought to a dramatic, climactic and unified end at 02:09. Clapping, cheers and whistles follow and fade. The track has been subject to an edit around 02:17. Some 20 seconds of Akkerman playfully sliding his hand down the guitar neck to a halt have been excised to make for a more satisfying audio experience.

Track by track 31

Archive number: 31
Title: Sylvia (Live)
Main Album: Focus at the Rainbow
Track number: 6
Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, 232 Seven Sisters Road, N4 3NX (recorded using Pye Studios Mobile Unit and edited from the two performances).
Length: 2' 47”
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric guitar (Gibson Les Paul Custom); Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ, Voice; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Pierre Van Der Linden – Drums
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Phil Dunne
Label: LP – Polydor, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC Victor
Date of recording/release: May 4, 5 1973/October 1973 (May 4 concert televised UK July 1973) CD 1988, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006
Alternative version: The original of this is on Focus 3
Notes: A shortened version of the original this live version is slightly quicker in tempo. Akkerman's guitar begins it with very fast chopped guitar chords and some bass accompaniment (00:00-00:14). Some sort of hum is heard early on. The organ comes in at 00:14, then drums (00:17) and at 00:35 we break into the lead theme. At 00:51 the chopped chords return to be followed once again by the guitar-led theme (00:58-01:14). At 01:15-01:18 there is a brief bridge that features again at 01:51-02:02 where it is repeated three times accompanied (unlike the original) both times by Van Leer's vibrato voice. In 01:16-01:50 we revisit the main theme. The track plays out (02:03-02:47) with the ritartando from 02:36. The next track immediately follows.

Track by track 30[U]

Archive number: 30[U]
Title: House of the King (Live)Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, 232 Seven Sisters Road, N4 3NX (recorded using Pye Studios Mobile Unit and edited from the two performances).
Length: 02' 45”
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric guitar (Gibson Les Paul Custom); Thijs Van Leer – Flute, Hammond organ; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Pierre Van Der Linden – Drums
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Phil Dunne
Date of recording/release: May 4, 5 1973/unreleased
Alternative version: This track was originally a single and appeared on In and out and Focus 3Notes: (Possibly "Anonymous 2" and "Love remembered" were also played but there is no record of these tracks.) This track appears to have followed Hocus Pocus but may have come later. Van Leer stands away from the organ at the beginning, playing the flute. The track begins with Akkerman's strummed guitar (00:00-00:09) then the whole band join in at a slightly faster rate than on the original. At 01:11 Van Leer moves to the organ for a guitar-led 'middle eight' that is slightly different to the original (to 01:48). Van Leer then stands behind the organ with his flute again for the final main theme, which begins with Akkerman's strummed guitar (01:49-01:51) followed by a caesura at 01:52 and the flute-led finale (01:53-02:40) with its ritartando ending. This is followed by applause and cheering (02:41-02:45).

20080208

Track by track 29

Archive number: 29
Title: Hocus Pocus (Live)
Main Album: Focus at the Rainbow
Track number: 5
Genre: Live Progressive Rock Instrumental
Venue: Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, 232 Seven Sisters Road, N4 3NX (recorded using Pye Studios Mobile Unit and edited from the two performances).
Length: 8' 29"
Composer: Thijs Van Leer, Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric guitar (Gibson Les Paul Custom); Thijs Van Leer – Hammond organ, Voice; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Pierre Van Der Linden – Drums
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Phil Dunne
Label: LP – Polydor, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet, JVC Victor
Date of recording/release: May 4, 5 1973/October 1973 (May 4 concert televised UK July 1973) CD 1988, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006
Alternative version: The orginal is on Moving Waves
Notes: This live version is based on the US single rather than the album version. The pace is certainly hot. Akkerman begins it with just his guitar (00:00-00:13). The snare comes in at 00:14 and then the full drum kit at 00:34, followed by the full band at 00:46 as they run through the main riff for the first time. At 01:09-01:24 the yodelling and scream come in for the first time and this alternating pattern continues fairly predictably to the four minute mark - Full band (01:25-01:48) Yodelling, etc (01:49-02:04) Full band (02:05-02:27) Strange voice (02:28-02:40) Full band (02:41-03:03) Yodelling, including the low voice then the high voice (03:04-03:27) Full band (03:28-03:50) Flute (helped by guitar) (03:51-04:00). We then have the full band again (04:01-04:23) followed by another yodelling section (04:24-04:58) that includes an extended piece of yodelling (26 seconds altogether!) followed by a big breath at 04:50. After the full band (04:59-05:20) we have whistling with the organ and some guitar (05:21-05:42) the full band again (05:43-06:05) and then the famous introduction sequence (06:06-06:54). The words are
On the bass guitar Bert Ruiter ... and on the drums Pierre Van Der Linden ... Guitar Jan Akkerman ... organ the flute Thijs Van Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer!
Then it is once more for the full band (06:55-07:16) and the guitar-led ending – first comic then dramatic (07:17-07:48). Applause follows with whistles and claps for an encore and a cheer (08:16). Some young men can be heard shouting 'House of the King' as the band returns and prepares to play Sylvia (07:49-08:29).