Focus was one of those rare progressive bands blending unconventional Rock n Roll styles, and still get an edited Top 10 hit single out of it. While “Hocus Pocus”, with its manic guitar riffing, and yodeling for vocals, was one of the band’s only two singles that did respectably on the important charts, lack of any other singles did not deter the band from producing a fine array of studio albums. The other big hit was the instrumental “Sylvia” from the double LP, Focus III (1972).

“Hocus Pocus” came from the band’s second album (Moving Waves in the US, Focus II elsewhere – 1971). The song, with an album cut tracking at nearly seven minutes in length, was heavily edited (without detriment) for radio with playing time of slightly over three minutes. It was satisfying because Jan Akkerman’s searing riff provided the ‘straight to the vein’ guitar, while the Van Leer’s yodeling gave an element of something different yet effective. But it was the album cut that did the best justice to the song.

Hamburger Concerto (1974) was another classic recording for the band generating their 20+ minute, six movements of “Hamburger Concerto” track that could keep you glued to the stereo as easily as Works by ELP.

Focus delivered eleven studio works including their recent set, 8.5 Beyond The Horizon (without the guitars of Akkerman, who hasn’t been with the band since 1985’s Focus album).

On July 14, a massive 13CD Box will be issued containing sleeved versions of all their released studio sets PLUS the live At The Rainbow (1973), and The Best of Focus (1993). Also included is Ship of Memories from 1976. A booklet is included to tie it all together.

I simply cannot tell you how much I mellowed at “Focus II” from the glorious Moving Waves album.


By MARowe