The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, May 05, 2008

Focus


5-5-08 Focus – “Sylvia”

From Holland!

LP FOCUS ('ROCK FLASHBACKS') (Collection) POLYDOR UK 2384 070

CD FOCUS 3 VICTOR JPN VICP-41215

LPx2 FOCUS 3 (3-D cover) SIRE US SAS 3901

LP FOCUS CON PROBY HARVEST US ST-11721

CD HAMBURGER CONCERTO EMI NL 748860.2

LP HAMBURGER CONCERTO POLYDOR UK 2442 124

7" HAREM SCAREM (stereo) / (mono) ATCO US 45-7002

7" HOCUS POCUS / JANIS POLYDOR UK 2001 211

CD IN AND OUT OF FOCUS RED BULLET NL RB 66.187

LP IN AND OUT OF FOCUS POLYDOR UK 2344 003

CD JAN AKKERMAN & THIJS VAN LEER VERTIGO NL 824524.2

LP JAN AKKERMAN & THIJS VAN LEER VERTIGO NL 824524.1

CD LIVE AT THE RAINBOW EMI NL 748969.2

LP LIVE AT THE RAINBOW EMI / IMPERIAL NL 5C 054-24939

LP MOTHER FOCUS POLYDOR UK 2302 036

CD MOTHER FOCUS kami sleeve JVC JPN VICP-61535

CD MOVING WAVES IRS US X2-13060

LP MOVING WAVES POLYDOR DE 2310 150

LP SHIP OF MEMORIES SIRE US SA 7531

CD SHIP OF MEMORIES kami sleeve JVC JPN VICP-63669

7" TOMMY / FOCUS II BLUE HORIZON UK 2096 008

Thijs van Leer

LP O MY LOVE PHILIPS NL 6303 143

LP INTROSPECTION COLUMBIA US KC 32346

LP NICE TO HAVE MET YOU COLUMBIA US JC 35345

Sensational Singles! A friend of mine nominated “Sylvia” (b/w “Love Remembere3d”) by Focus, an instrumental U.S. single from their 3rd album. He swears it sounds better on a 45 than it does on his “Focus 3” double LP (with a 3-D cover).

I am very interested by my friend’s choice of “Sylvia”, a 3rd album Focus 45. We should check the different editions of the “Focus 3” LP and CD – as now everything has been “re-mastered” (I do not have a re-mastered CD of “Focus 3”, however). I know there are divergent versions of their most famous single “Hocus Pocus” (U.S. single version, LP version, “Greatest Hits” version etc.)

I first saw / heard of Focus when they appeared on some late night TV show, like “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” or something like that. The act that was on right before them was the J. Geils Band – who left me absolutely cold – no interest in what they were doing whatsoever. Focus, on the other hand, seemed completely magical – “Hocus Pocus” was what they played (and another song too?) and it wasn’t too hard to find their records and / or hear them on the FM radio of the day – 1973?

Too much other stuff going on in my head at that time – I was smitten by German bands – I confess I didn’t even really have any idea what a band from Holland / The Netherlands would look or sound like. If the Germans were making ‘space rock’ (Amon Duul II, Neu!, Faust etc.), then I guessed that the Dutch were making rock music that was basically following British or American ‘rock’. Took a while for me to discover other Dutch artists (notably Supersister, Earth & Fire and Kayak) – Focus was definitely first for me.

I absolutely love the ’75 album by Thijs van Leer, “O My Love” (not on CD, as of 5/08) – made in L.A. with jazz musicians. And in 2008, I have the first 7 or 8 contiguous Focus albums on CD. There are also numerous solo releases by Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman. Good, solid group. “Hocus Pocus” is their only famous 45, but I would buy any 45 by them that I ever saw. “Harem Scarem” is another great instrumental Focus 45.

2 Comments:

Blogger deepinder said...

Focus appeared on the Don Kirshner show possibly more than once. I have seen them with Colin Allen. they started with Hocus Pocus, and basically played through 'Hamburger Concerto.The performance had to be 1974. Other bands on that broadcast were UFO and New Birth. I think the band played No Hangups from MotherFocus over the credits.

Harem Scarem was composed in the pub next to 'la cathedrale de strasbourg' and I have been reliably told that the title came from the Scottish childhood of Colin Allen, its the name of a firework...when...well Colin was born in the 1930's!

8:42 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

The one I saw was definitely with J. Geils Band, who I did not care for at all. It made Focus seems all that much better.

6:52 AM  

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