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 42 Early Birth

Archive number: 42
Title: Early Birth
Main Album: Single with Harem Scarem 1974. Also on Hamburger Concerto (CD). Hamburger Concerto (CD version).
Track number: 6 (CD)
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Olympic Studios 'B', 117 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 9HL
Length: 2' 53”
Composer: Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric Guitars (Fenders), Acoustic guitars; Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, Flute; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Colin Allen – Drums
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Bob Hall
Label: Polydor, Atco, EMI, Red Bullet, JVC, JVC Victor Date of recording/release: January/March 1974; April 1974. CD – 1998, 2001, 2001, 2002, 2006
Alternative version: Birth (note also Virgin Mary)
Notes: This appears to be the original 'demo' of Birth – shorter, simpler in execution and with more of a live feel. The retronymic title shows it to be a more primitive version. Certainly the additional percussion is gone, as are the harpsichord, synthesiser and some of the production. There also appears to be an acoustic guitar present not discernible on Birth itself. This acoustic guitar riff provides the basis for Akkerman's later track Virgin Mary (Blues Hearts). Guitars, bass, organ and cymbals set the scene (00:00-00:23) then a drum-led beat kicks in with some funky electric guitar (00:24-00:43) building to a first flute-led solo (00:44-01:03) followed by one led by soaring electric guitar (01:04-01:31). A bridge follows featuring flute and acoustic guitar (01:32-01:46) before one more flute-led solo (01:47-02:17) and a rather truncated electric guitar-led solo (02:18-02:53) still rather far back in the mix and that never quite gets going before the fade.

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