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 17 Round goes the gossip

Archive number: 17
Title: Round goes the gossip
Main Album: Focus 3
Track number: 1
Genre: Jazz Rock Instrumental/Vocal
Studio: Olympic Studios 'B', 117 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 9HL
Length: 5' 12"
Composer: Thijs van Leer
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric guitars (Gibson Les Paul Customs?); Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, Vocals, Speaking voice; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Pierre van der Linden – Drums; Mike Vernon, George Chkiantz - Vocals
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: George Chkiantz
Label: LP – Imperial, Polydor, Sire CD – Capitol, EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet , JVC Victor
Date of recording/release: July 1972/November 1972, 1975 CD - 1988, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2004
Notes: This pretty unique offering begins with drums (00:00-00:08). The band then come in (00:17-00:35) followed by a multi-tracked and reverbed chant of the lyric 'Round goes the gossip' (00:36-00:51). Band and vocal alternate (00:52-01:02; 01:03-01:19; 01:20-01:29) until a quieter section, beginning at 01:30, where (01:40-02:31) appropriate words from Virgil's Aeneid (Book 4 lines 173-177), as below, are intoned in Latin by van Leer. The words are again multi-tracked and have strong reverb. The drums then bring in the chanted vocal again (02:32-02:54) to be followed by another instrumental break on guitar and organ with the rhythm section (02:55-03:14). The lyric is then given out just once (03:15-03:18) and a change of pace follows with a stop, start section (03:19-04:22) that includes some furious jazz guitar bringing us to a final section (04:23-05:12) where the vocal reasserts itself in an increasingly disjointed and manic way until a fade beginning around 4:42. The Latin words are
Extemplo libyae magnas it fama per urbes, Fama, malum qua non aliud velocius ullum. Mobilitate viget virisque adquirit eundo; Parva metu primo, mox sese attollit in auras. Ingrediturque solo et caput inter nubila condit.
[Forthwith rumour runs through Libya's great cities - Rumour of all evils the most swift. Speed lends her strength, and she wins vigour as she goes; Small at first through fear, soon she mounts up to heaven, And walks the ground with head hidden in the clouds.]
Note on the Aeneid (from Wikipedia)
The Aeneid is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st Century BC (29-19 BC). It tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy and became ancestor to the Romans. It is written in dactylic hexameter. The poem's first 6 books (of 12) tell of Aeneas' wanderings from Troy to Italy. The second half treats the Trojans' ultimately victorious war against the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The hero Aeneas was already known to Graeco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad. Virgil took the disconnected tales of his wanderings, his vague association with Rome's foundation and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or nationalist epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimised the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and Troy.

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