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Focus!
March 4, 2006 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Focus! some high nrg rock video from the 70's via YouTube via WFMUs beware of the blog.
posted by celerystick (25 comments total)

 
Moving Waves ... Hocus Pocus, etc.
posted by ericb at 10:22 PM on March 4, 2006


This performance is a lot more nuts then I remember the original studio recording sounding. And the studio recording I remember hearing on AOR radio regularly until about 1983 or so. Then it seem to fall out of the classic rock cannon.

The way this video is meme-ifying, it stands to be the next "more cowbell"
posted by bendybendy at 10:36 PM on March 4, 2006


I heard this song on the radio a couple years back and immediately had to look it up. Yodeling, whistling, flute solo, random incomprehensible gibbering... what's not to love?
posted by Stauf at 11:06 PM on March 4, 2006


And lovingly covered by the Vandals way back when.
posted by billder at 11:39 PM on March 4, 2006


I remember the song well. It was a big hit in 1973 when it peaked at #9 on Billboard's singles chart. While the yodeler was the focus, the guitarist was the real standout to me. I like Billboard's description: "demented yodeling."
posted by wsg at 12:30 AM on March 5, 2006


Cool. Really great guitar.
posted by bardic at 1:32 AM on March 5, 2006


Guitar player Jan Akkerman is still an active musician, and has his own website [warning: with embedded music]
posted by ijsbrand at 2:50 AM on March 5, 2006


On YouTube.
posted by insomnus at 4:45 AM on March 5, 2006


I'm thrilled by this post - for years, the LP with that song ("Hocus Pocus") was extremely hard to find, and during one fateful trip to the Englishtown flea market n Jersey in the early 80s, I found not one, but two copies of the record. I was beyond thrilled, and still have one of them to this day. Upon watching the video, it also occurred to me that the song might just be Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" sped up 250%, sans yodeling. Heh.

I'm feeling old right about now.
posted by dbiedny at 6:35 AM on March 5, 2006


Here's an interview with the band's singer/yodeler/flutist Thijs van Leer.
posted by prolific at 6:46 AM on March 5, 2006


Hocus Pocus by Focus! Hooray!
I love this song.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:10 AM on March 5, 2006


Dear Lord, that was fucking awesome. Does anybody own that album, is it all that worthwhile?
posted by dgaicun at 8:34 AM on March 5, 2006


And somewhere right now, in the year 2036, someone is laughing at our pop culture too.
posted by ktoad at 9:14 AM on March 5, 2006


I'm confused by the word 'too', since every comment thus far has expressed genuine appreciation.
posted by dgaicun at 9:26 AM on March 5, 2006


Are ya knackered, man? No, I'm Jan Akkerman!

A classic. I remember learning to play that and "Sylvia" waaaay back in the seventies. It was great when I finally worked out those mad chords in the riff there. My version of the solo was...errr... slightly less impressive than Mr. Akkerman's, though. Ahem.
posted by Decani at 9:28 AM on March 5, 2006


I love how he gives his head a good shake before the song starts.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:42 AM on March 5, 2006


The lead singer/yodeler/keyboardest looked absolutely crazed.

As any good lead singer/yodeler/keyboardest should.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:15 AM on March 5, 2006


Does anybody own that album, is it all that worthwhile?

the rest of it's not quite the same, being a lot less goofy and a bit more arty ... side one has some pretty stuff on it ... side two is a long song called "eruption" that isn't bad, but isn't necessarily great either ... if you like prog, it's worth getting, if not ...

their next album, focus 3, is generally harder rocking and more jam worthy ... "sylvia" is a lovely instrumental ... and "questions? answers! answers? questions!" is a 13 minute jam that starts off slow and moody and ends with jan akkerman shredding the crap out of his guitar ... there's also a 30 minute jam called anonymous ... it's well played for a 30 minute jam, but i guess it depends on how you feel about things like that

that video was a gas, though
posted by pyramid termite at 11:28 AM on March 5, 2006


As I recall, this seemed very mainstream when it was first released. I guess that was a long time ago!
posted by Ochiee at 1:50 PM on March 5, 2006


Check out Live at the Rainbow, much like the FPP link (maybe a bit better), but without the pictures. At one stage the yodeller gives a demonstration of that weird breathe-in-breathe-out-keep-yodelling technique that lets them go on for ever (well, till you get a cheer). Hocus Pocus and Sylvia on one album. Great Stuff.
posted by StephenB at 3:07 PM on March 5, 2006


As I recall, this seemed very mainstream when it was first released.

Ah God, but that's so sad and true. Yeah, it's easy (and fun!) to slag off the late sixties/ early seventies (and prog in particular) but the fact is that there's more utterly mad and thoroughly fascinating music from that era than any other I can think of. And there's a hell of a lot of great stuff that simply wouldn't get recorded today. Current rock/pop/whatever music is so damned safe. So damned safe.

Can you imagine Captain Beefheart walking into a record company today and playing 'em "Trout Mask Replica"? Daevid Allen? Lydia Lunch? Genesis P. Orridge?

I can, and it's not pretty.
posted by Decani at 4:31 PM on March 5, 2006


I bought the vinyl LP when it first came out. I loved it so much that I only smoked pot while that album was playing!!! Ah,the days of our youth...... Thanks for posting this. It definitely brought back memories.
posted by VTscapes at 5:10 PM on March 5, 2006


Wicked chops.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:14 PM on March 5, 2006


holy crap. i had no idea focus ever performed that live. i thought it was all some kind of studio trick. that's beyond astounding. before i just liked them a lot. now, all respect. that's crazy great musicianship.
posted by 3.2.3 at 10:38 PM on March 5, 2006


I adore Focus. I found the LP in a used record shop, and bought it. I enjoyed the rest of the material so much, i went back and bought every Focus album they had. Still enjoy a listen now and then. One of the first bands I sought to get MP3s of, since my turntable isn't working.
posted by Goofyy at 11:23 PM on March 5, 2006


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