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 123 European Rap(sody)

Archive number: 123
Title: European Rap(sody)
Main Album: Focus 9 (New Skin)
Track number: 11
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Fieldwork Studios, Schoten, Belgium
Length: 10:19
Composer: Thijs van Leer, Gordon Taylor
Musicians: Thijs van Leer – Piano, voice, handclaps, synthesiser, organ, flute; Niels van der Steenhoven – Guitars; Bobby Jacobs – Bass; Pierre van der Linden – Drums
Producer: Bobby Jacobs and Thijs Van Leer
Engineer: Han Nuijten
Label: Red Bullet
Date of recording/release: Summer 2006
Alternative version: None (although there is a clip of a Focus jam in Kasteel Groeneveld on Youtube where they play something similar to one of the sections)
Notes: This song is in several parts. First comes a slow, even halting part led by the guitar backed by piano and keyboard set to choral (00:00-00:42). It leads into a second slow part, backed by the organ (00:43-01:07). We then turn east for an increasingly fast, Russian style dance tune led by the flute with the guitar and backed by the rhythm section (01:08-02:10). This is further developed from 02:11 with the use of the voice and handclaps, the guitar giving balalaika-type riffs. At 02:37 a shout or laugh takes us back to the flute-led tune, this being brought to an end by a couple of piano arpeggios (02:38-02:59). The slow and introspective guitar then leads off again followed by the cymbals, organ, bass and then piano too (03:00-03:34). This segues into the next part, still slow, led first by piano then with guitar and backing from the rhythm section and organ (03:35-05:20).
A crash of cymbals abruptly announces a new and jaunty fast section, which features a first litany of about 12 titles of previous Focus tracks from Van Leer (05:21-06:27). The list with the few additional words is as follows:

Spoke the Lord Creator, Can't believe my eyes, Out of Vesuvius, Red sky at night, Round goes the gossip, (of) Eruption, Well done, Dayglow (to break), (Creating) Moving Waves (for how long?), Answers, questions ..., (of) Love remembered, … Questions, Answers, Ship of memories, ??? (06:28-06:13)

This is followed by an instrumental section in the same vein (06:14-06:28)

At 06:29 we come into a new section that begins slowly then becomes jaunty again but this time we are looking west and the style is very French, the keyboards in a very accordion-like mode. At 07:33 this comes to an end with the same slow piano, cymbals and bass conclusion as before, ending at 07:47.
A crash of cymbals announces the second part of the litany. This time we have around 35 further tracks

Carnival Fugue, (on an) Endless Road, (it's an) Early birth, (like a fugue of the) Sneezing bull, Hocus Pocus (and) Birth (and Birth, and Birth), No Hang ups, (with the) Russian Roulette, (surely) Harem Scarem (dreams, dream), (and a) Cathedrale de Strasbourg, Anonymus (it seems), Maximum, (or) Medium, (or) One for the Road (but) Someone's Crying … what? (in the) House of the King, (it's a) Happy nightmare, Altogether … Oh that!, (Let's) Focus (on) Who's calling?, (Is it) Beethoven's Revenge, (or may be) Father Bach, (is it) Tommy, Benny, Eddy (or) Judy or Sylvia, My Sweetheart (My Sweetheart), It's an Indian Summer, (I'm the) Glider, The Tango, (with) Tokyo Rose, Night flight (with a) Black Beauty, (such a) Tropic Bird, (With movement, with movement, with movement; that's the Lord, that's the Lord, that's the Lord) (07:48-09:15)

We then play out with the band led by van Leer's rocking flute (09:16-10:10). The closing nine seconds are left to the solo flute.

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