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 43 Birth

Archive number: 43
Title: Birth
Main Album: Hamburger Concerto
Track number: 3
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Olympic Studios 'B', 117 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 9HL
Length: 7' 42”
Composer: Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric Guitars (Fenders); Thijs van Leer – Harpsichord, Hammond organ, Flute; Bert Ruiter - Bass, Triangle, Finger Cymbals; Colin Allen – Drums, Flexatone, Cabasa 
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: Bob Hall with David Hamilton-Smith and Rod Thear
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: This grew out of the single Early birth
Notes: Firstly, a harpsichord takes us back to where the album began (00:00-00:46). It is heard again (01:09-11) as is the organ (01:14ff). From Colin Allen's stirring 'Here we go' (00:47) and the sound of the cymbals and drum we know we have suddenly leapt forward in time (00:47-01:01). A flexatone is heard (00:57) and a cabasa before we move into a slow march led by guitar with bass, drums then organ and eventually further back in the mix guitar and harpsichord (01:02-01:41). This builds until a first band-backed mainly flute-solo takes us on (01:42-02:03) before we descend into Akkerman's first band-backed horn-like guitar solo (02:04-02:30). Akkerman then applies an effect and, backed by bass, drums and harpsichord (02:31-02:46) brings us to a second flute-led solo, backed with finger cymbals and perhaps other percussion (02:47-03:31). This then blends into a second band-backed guitar solo (03:32-04:12) to close the first half of the number. At 04:13 we step back briefly to the previous build up with some harpsichord, triangles, finger cymbals and other percussion. At 04:28 the flute again takes the lead (04:28-04:50) before descending to a brief now wailing guitar solo (04:51-05:17). As we approach the climax, the guitar again uses the effect, backed by both harpsichord and organ (05:18-05:34). Gentle percussion again, as well as the full band, backs Van Leer's final flute-led solo, which begins smoothly then becomes increasingly agitated and breathless (05:35-06:37). It eventually slides into Akkerman's final majestic now screaming guitar solo (06:38-07:40). We end with lots of crashing cymbals.
Why birth? Akkerman's first son was not born until 1975. He met his first wife Lammy in 1973. It led to a later track called Virgin Mary so may be he was thinking on a higher plane.

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