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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20170713

Box Set Listing

Disc: 1 – Focus Plays Focus/In and Out Of Focus  (1970)
1. Focus…(Vocal)
2. Black Beauty
3. Sugar Island
4. Anonymus
5. House Of The King
6. Happy Nightmare (Mescaluine)
7. Why Dream
8. Focus…(Instrumental)

Disc: 2 – Focus 2/Moving Waves (1971)
1. Hocus Pocus
2. Le Clochard
3. Janis
4. Moving Waves
5. Focus II
6. Eruption

Disc: 3 – Focus 3 (1972)
1. Round Goes The Gossip
2. Love Remembered
3. Sylvia
4. Carnival Fugue
5. Focus III
6. Answers? Questions! Qustions? Answers!
7. Elspeth Of Nottingham
8. Anonymus II

Disc: 4 – At the Rainbow (1973)
1. Focus III (Live)
2. Answers? Questions! Qustions? Answers! (Live)
3. Focus II (Live)
4. Eruption (Live)
5. Hocus Focus (Live)
6. Sylvia (Live)
7. Hocus Focus – Reprise (Live)

Disc: 5 – Hamburger Concerto (1974)
1. Delitae Musicae
2. Harem Scarem
3. La Cathedrale De Strasbourg
4. Birth
5. Hamburger Concerto
6. Early Birth

Disc: 6 – Mother Focus (1975)
1. Mother Focus
2. I Need A Bothroom
3. Bennie Helder
4. Soft Vanilla
5. Hard Vanilla
6. Tropic Bird
7. Focus IV
8. Someone’s Crying…What?
9. All Together….Oh That!
10. No Hang Ups
11. My Sweetheart
12. Father Bach

Disc: 7 – Focus con Proby (1978)
1. Wingless
2. Orion
3. Night Flight
4. Eddy
5. Sneezing Bull
6. Brother
7. Tokyo Rose
8. Maximum

Disc: 8 – Ship Of Memories (1976)
1. P’s March
2. Can’t Believe My Eyes
3. Focus V
4. Out Of Vesuvius
5. Glider
6. Red Sky At Night
7. Spoke The Lord Creator
8. Crackers
9. Ship Of Memories
10. Hocus Pocus (U.S. Single Version)

Disc: 9 – Focus (by Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer) (1985)
1. Russian Roulette
2. King Kong
3. Le Tango
4. Indian Summer
5. Beethoven’s Revenge (Bach-One-Turbo-Overdrive)
6. Ole Judy
7. Who’s Calling

Disc: 10 – Focus 8 (2002)
1. Rock & Rio
2. Tamara’s Move (Allegroadagio-Allegro)
3. Fretless Love
4. Hurkey Turkey
5. De Ti O De Mi
6. Focus 8
7. Sto Ces Raditi Ostatac Zivota?
8. Neurotika – Rehearsal Take
9. Brother
10. Blizu Tebe
11. Flower Shower

Disc: 11 – Focus 9/New Skin (2006)
1. Black Beauty
2. Focus 7
3. Hurkey Turkey 2
4. Sylvia’s Stepson – Ubatuba
5. Niel’s Skin
6. Just Like Eddy
7. Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee
8. Focus 9
9. Curtain Call
10. Ode To Venus
11. European Rap(sody)
12. Pim
13. It Takes 2 2 Tango
14. Brazil Love

Disc: 12 – Focus X (2012)
1. Father Bacchus
2. Focus 10
3. Victoria
4. Amok In Kindergarten
5. All Hens On Deck
6. Birds Come Fly Over (Le Tango)
7. Hoeratio
8. Talk Of The Crown
9. Message Magic
10. Crossroads

Disc: 13 – The Best Of Focus (1993)
1. Hocus Pocus
2. Anonymus
3. House Of The King
4. Focus – Instrumental
5. Janis
6. Focus II
7. Tommy
8. Sylvia
9. Focus III
10. Harem Scarem
11. Mother Focus
12. Focus IV
13. Bennie Helder
14. Glider
15. Red Sky At Night
16. Hocus Pocus (U.S. Single Version)

New Focus Box Set


A full set of Focus albums has been collected in a new and comprehensive 13 CD box set called Hocus Pocus Box.
With the very recent Focus 8.5 (issued on their own label in 2016) the new box set collects all 10 studio albums, starting with 1970’s Focus Plays Focus/In And Out Of Focus moving all the way through to 2012’s Focus X. 1973’s live album At The Rainbow is also present, as is 1976’s compilation Ship Of Memories and the 1985 studio album from original members Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer, called simply Focus.
The final disc is the 1993 compilation The Best Of Focus. This features 16-tracks and includes the US single version of Hocus Pocus.
The albums come in card sleeves with original artwork and are housed in what looks like a clamshell style box. The set also comes with a booklet. Hocus Pocus Box is released on 14 July 2017.
There is very little misisng from this set. O Avondrood the lyrics verion of Red Sky at Night is the only obvious one, although one could mention others.

20170705

Hocus Pocus used in new film


The Focus track Hocus Pocus features alongside a host of other tracks in the new film Baby Driver. Most of the track is played and becomees integral to the shoot out taking place among police adn rival gang members. This is not the first time the track has been used in this sort of way. It also features in a shoot out scene in the 2014 version of Robocop. (It wa also used for  aNike advert remixed some years back).
This time round one especially notes the way at one point gunshots and guiter chords are synchronised. Hopefully it will be a means of introducing younger people to the work of one of the greatest bands ever.
In an interview for Variety director Edgar Wright is asked
Is there an evangelistic element for you, that you might be introducing millennials or even younger people to some classic rock and soul and jazz they wouldn’t otherwise hear? Who wouldn’t want to be introduced to Focus and “Hocus Pocus”?
He answers
I keep saying to people, “If you love the song, watch them performing it on YouTube. It’s astonishing.” I mean, that’s how I know that song, is because there used to be a British music show called “The Old Grey Whistle Test,” which is slightly before my time, but there’s a great DVD of that, and the clip of Focus is amazing.
They go on
“Hocus Pocus” was famous in the ‘70s but hasn’t been kept alive much since then, so it’s hard to explain to people that it’s one of the most exciting rock songs ever recorded… and it has both yodeling and flute.
He adds
Yes. And accordion!
I speak no Dutch but I also liked this comment on one Dutch website.
De 46 jaar oude hit Hocus Pocus van de Nederlandse rockgroep Focus is prominent aanwezig in de actiefilm Baby Driver.
Wright says that the Hocus Pocuus part was his favvourite part - mine too. He also claims the studio was not going to use the track but he was so keen to use it that he paid himself for two extra days of filming. Good call.
Check out this video from 8 minutes to get a tiny taste of the scene.

20170202

In and out of Focus played by alternative artists

New Bassist for Focus

We understand that after many years faithful service Bobby Jacobs has stepped down as bassist. The new bassist is jazz musician Udo Pannekeet.