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In & Out of Focus Import, Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, February 19, 2001
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Focus ... (Vocal) 2:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Black Beauty 3:08$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Sugar Island 3:05$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Anonymus 6:32$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. House Of The King 2:51$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Happy Nightmare - Mescaline 3:59$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Why Dream 3:57$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Focus ... (Instrumental) 9:43$0.89  Buy MP3 

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In & Out of Focus + Moving Waves + Focus 3
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Red Bullet
  • ASIN: B00005B363
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,316 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Reissue of 1970 debut album for Dutch progressive rock act best known for their 1973 hit single 'Hocus Pocus'. 2001 release. Standard jewelcase.

Customer Reviews

The vocal tracks are great songs, very inspired songwriting.
If you want that, and a laugh at how bad they were at pop music, get the whole album.
Noel Masters
Anonymus is better here than in its longer jazzier version on the album Focus 3.
Michael G. Fox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. L. MILLER on June 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
For the most part, Focus was a jazz duo consisting of Jan Akkerman on guitar and Thijs Van Leer on flute and keys. The rhythm section tended to vary from album to album, with Akkerman doing some of the bass himself. The prog i.d. was added by virtue of tracks like "Anonymous", which used the staple guitar and organ arrangements imitative of ELP, bracketed fore and aft by a Renaissance woodwind theme. A much later 1980s Mercury release called "Focus: Jan Akkerman & Thijs Van Leer" doesn't seem to be available here--it goes deeper into their jazz roots than the original three releases. Back then they didn't have that liberty while they were targeting British and American prog audiences. Certain concessions to culture had to be made, such as the song "Happy Nightmare (Mescaline)". This is a very good jazz number given a dope-oriented title to draw stoner attention. The moral here is: if you know the sound, don't let a badly-chosen title throw you. There's a definite Syd Barret-era Pink Floyd sound to "Why Dream" and Van Leer does a good enough Ian Anderson flute imitation in "House Of the King" that I mistook the song for a Jethro Tull instrumental on an FM prog station. Then I got this album after having bought and loved the second "Moving Waves" release and stumbled on the song by accident. Which I guess is a corollary to the title versus sound hypothesis. It's the latter that matters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey J.Park VINE VOICE on June 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Released in 1970, this debut by the Dutch prog band Focus is fairly well developed and many of the elements of the classic Focus sound are in place - a sound that would come to glorious fruition on the excellent Moving Waves (1971) and Focus III (1972). Featured prominently on this album are the incredible talents of virtuoso guitarist Jan Akkerman and flautist/keyboardist Thijs van Leer (love the Hammond organ work and his flute work is killer). Let us just say that their playing is impressive even at this early stage. Supporting them is a solid bass player and an excellent drummer. Come to think of it, Focus always had good drummers. With respect to the vocals, they are actually pretty good and fit well with the material.

What sets this album apart from their definitive works however, are tinges of 1960's psychedelia, which can be heard to varying degrees on Black Beauty, Why Dream, and especially on the perky, chirpy tune Sugar Island (an anti-Fidel Castro track). I suppose the psychedelia makes sense however - this was 1970 after all. Other tracks, while extremely enjoyable, show evidence of growing pains such as the Jethro-Tull inflected House of the King, along with the jazzy (and mellotron heavy) Happy Nightmare (Jan rips it up on this tune). Because I have no imagination whatsoever, my favorite tracks include those that sound just like classic Focus - the opening track Focus (vocal), the blistering instrumental jam Anonymous, which features excellent solos by Jan and Thijs (although I could have done without the not-so-hot bass solo), and the awesome closing instrumental track Focus. I guess it is worth noting that iterations of the tracks Focus and Anonymous would turn up on subsequent albums (e.g. Focus II and III, and Anonymous II).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Carl G. Tuckwell on August 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is a great mix - even better than my original vinyl, and it has an extra track "House of the King" which was not included on my vinyl. Well done! to Ian Gillespie & Mike Vernon for mastering/producing this CD.

And what a band they were! Intelligent, yet powerful - Jan Akkerman right up there with the best English prog rock (and heavy rock) guitarists, and Thijs van Leer a powerful combination of brilliant flute & keyboards - only ever-so-slightly below Ian Anderson on flute, and only slightly below Keith Emerson on keys; but, Keith couldn't play flute (& didn't sing much) and Ian couldn't play keys like that.

I don't know why they shed their rhythm section for their following album ("Moving Waves") because you can hear that Martijn Dresden & Hans Cleuver are really top notch (but the new guys were brilliant too).

I've read we have American talent scouts to thank for hearing Focus, because the English ones were ignoring them - at least until they broke big in the U.S. first.

I've not long come back from Holland (with forays into Belgium, Paris, Germany, Prague & Vienna), and I'm not surprised that such a friendly & cultured country gave rise to such an excellent band, with such an excellent debut album, and for 1970 - with all the competition around then in one of the pinnacle years of Rock.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Girl.Scout.Heroin on December 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
True, this album, on musical merits alone, does not measure up to later Focus albums. This is before the addition of the cookin' rhythm section (ex-Brainbox) heard on Moving Waves or bass player Bert Ruiter who joined up for album 3. Also worth mentioning is the sloppiness of a few tracks and a vocal flub on Mescaline (pun?) I find these sort of things negligible to my enjoyment of an album. Fact is these glitches were relsults of a small recording budget. Its the music that matters.
Many would say that vocals were not Focus' strong point. I agree. But the vocals fit the music and I don't find Van Leer's voice even slightly annoying.
Why is this a 5 star album , you ask? I judge an album based on content and performance, not budget. I take into consideration what the band has to work with when doing an album. It's about utilizing the tools and talents available in the best way, for maximum effect. A live album would not be judged the same as a big budget studio one. A young band rushed in and out of studio (another pun?) would not be judged the same as a veteran band taking their sweet time. What works for In and out of Focus is that the material is solid. I love the tremendous buildup from a slow and gentle beginning in Focus Instrmental to the absolutely giddy flute solo later on. Then the descrescendo is just as effective, and a final blow of yee-haw country pickin' to end it. An impressive unstructured jam. Great. The vocal tracks are great songs, very inspired songwriting. Great coloration with the instrumentation. Melodic yet with drive. Happy Nightmare (mescaline) is an ode to mood jazz, with another great build up. More free jamming with Anonymous, which features a funky drum/bass workout. Great groove on that song.
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