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Focus / Hocus Pocus Box / 13CD set

Innovative Dutch rock band Focus see their albums collected in a new and comprehensive 13CD box set called Hocus Pocus Box.

Aside from the very recent Focus 8.5 (issued on their own label in 2016) this new box set collects all ten studio albums from those purveyors of progressive rock/jazz/classical, starting with 1970’s Focus Plays Focus/In And Out Of Focus moving all the way through to 2012’s Focus X.

1973’s live album At The Rainbow is also present and correct, as is 1976’s compilation Ship Of Memories and the 1985 studio album from original members Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer, called simply Focus (what else?!).

The final disc is the ’93 compilation The Best Of Focus. This features 16-tracks and includes the US single version of Hocus Pocus. The albums come in card sleeves with original artwork and are housed in what looks like a clamshell style box. This set also comes with a booklet.

Hocus Pocus Box will be released on 14 July 2017. JPC currently have a great pre-order price.

Compare prices and pre-order

8712944663075

Focus

Hocus Pocus Box

Shop Price GBP Stock
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 31.88
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 33.12
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 34.67
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 39.53
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 34.38
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 34.82
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 37.42
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 31.88
Currency:

Disc: 1 – Focus Plays Focus/In and Out Of Focus (1970)
1. Focus…(Vocal)
2. Black Beauty
3. Sugar Island
4. Anonymus
5. House Of The King
6. Happy Nightmare (Mescaluine)
7. Why Dream
8. Focus…(Instrumental)

Disc: 2 – Focus 2/Moving Waves (1971)
1. Hocus Pocus
2. Le Clochard
3. Janis
4. Moving Waves
5. Focus II
6. Eruption

Disc: 3 – Focus 3 (1972)
1. Round Goes The Gossip
2. Love Remembered
3. Sylvia
4. Carnival Fugue
5. Focus III
6. Answers? Questions! Qustions? Answers!
7. Elspeth Of Nottingham
8. Anonymus II

Disc: 4 – At the Rainbow (1973)
1. Focus III (Live)
2. Answers? Questions! Qustions? Answers! (Live)
3. Focus II (Live)
4. Eruption (Live)
5. Hocus Focus (Live)
6. Sylvia (Live)
7. Hocus Focus – Reprise (Live)

Disc: 5 – Hamburger Concerto (1974)
1. Delitae Musicae
2. Harem Scarem
3. La Cathedrale De Strasbourg
4. Birth
5. Hamburger Concerto
6. Early Birth

Disc: 6 – Mother Focus (1975)
1. Mother Focus
2. I Need A Bothroom
3. Bennie Helder
4. Soft Vanilla
5. Hard Vanilla
6. Tropic Bird
7. Focus IV
8. Someone’s Crying…What?
9. All Together….Oh That!
10. No Hang Ups
11. My Sweetheart
12. Father Bach

Disc: 7 – Focus con Proby (1978)
1. Wingless
2. Orion
3. Night Flight
4. Eddy
5. Sneezing Bull
6. Brother
7. Tokyo Rose
8. Maximum

Disc: 8 – Ship Of Memories (1976)
1. P’s March
2. Can’t Believe My Eyes
3. Focus V
4. Out Of Vesuvius
5. Glider
6. Red Sky At Night
7. Spoke The Lord Creator
8. Crackers
9. Ship Of Memories
10. Hocus Pocus (U.S. Single Version)

Disc: 9 – Focus (by Jan Akkerman and Thijs van Leer) (1985)
1. Russian Roulette
2. King Kong
3. Le Tango
4. Indian Summer
5. Beethoven’s Revenge (Bach-One-Turbo-Overdrive)
6. Ole Judy
7. Who’s Calling

Disc: 10 – Focus 8 (2002)
1. Rock & Rio
2. Tamara’s Move (Allegroadagio-Allegro)
3. Fretless Love
4. Hurkey Turkey
5. De Ti O De Mi
6. Focus 8
7. Sto Ces Raditi Ostatac Zivota?
8. Neurotika – Rehearsal Take
9. Brother
10. Blizu Tebe
11. Flower Shower

Disc: 11 – Focus 9/New Skin (2006)
1. Black Beauty
2. Focus 7
3. Hurkey Turkey 2
4. Sylvia’s Stepson – Ubatuba
5. Niel’s Skin
6. Just Like Eddy
7. Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee
8. Focus 9
9. Curtain Call
10. Ode To Venus
11. European Rap(sody)
12. Pim
13. It Takes 2 2 Tango
14. Brazil Love

Disc: 12 – Focus X (2012)
1. Father Bacchus
2. Focus 10
3. Victoria
4. Amok In Kindergarten
5. All Hens On Deck
6. Birds Come Fly Over (Le Tango)
7. Hoeratio
8. Talk Of The Crown
9. Message Magic
10. Crossroads

Disc: 13 – The Best Of Focus (1993)
1. Hocus Pocus
2. Anonymus
3. House Of The King
4. Focus – Instrumental
5. Janis
6. Focus II
7. Tommy
8. Sylvia
9. Focus III
10. Harem Scarem
11. Mother Focus
12. Focus IV
13. Bennie Helder
14. Glider
15. Red Sky At Night
16. Hocus Pocus (U.S. Single Version)

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25 responses to Focus / Hocus Pocus Box / 13CD set

  1. Rodolfo Martin says:

    Any remastered or new mix sound in this box set, that you know about Paul? Thanks

  2. John Carr says:

    I too would welcome any update on the mastering of this collection. The EMI CD’s were carefully mastered, but lacked something. Not sure if it was the technology in those late 1980’s or not using the best sources. The Japanese Victor CD’s just sounded like the same EMI masters, but louder and more abrasive. I hope someone has pulled together a superior re-mastering, but the low price makes me think this is just a re-packaging, a last attempt to squeeze the last possible profit out of an ageing fan base.

  3. Colin Harper says:

    I absolutely love Focus and I’ve had the great pleasure recording a couple of times with Jan Akkerman, but it’s very unfortunate that there seems to have been no improvement/nothing new done mastering-wise on their 70s recordings since the first batch of CD editions, mastered by their original UK label boss Mike Vernon, in the mid 90s.

    As far as I know, the subsequent Red Bullet album reissues either used that mastering or just ramped it up (i.e. didn’t go back to original tapes but added a bit of brickwalling). The recent 2CD Focus compilation under the ‘Golden Years of Dutch Pop Music’ series branding licensed most of the content from Red Bullet – and added a rare 1970 single with Focus as backing group to Ramses Shaffy. (They did a few of those sort of sessions early on – backing other artists. Their contribution to singer-songwriter Robin Lent’s LP ‘Scarecrow’s Journey’, for instance, is fantastic and very distinctive.)

    The Mike Vernon 90s CD editions of ‘Hamburger Concerto’ and ‘Ship of Memories’ contained the terrific B-side ‘Early Birth’ and the US single version of ‘Hocus Pocus’, respectively, and the Red Bullet CDs repeated that – and it is repeated here. It leads me to the view that we are effectively getting cut-and-paste copies of the 90s editions every time. The smoking gun, in this respect, is the transition on ‘The Best of Focus’ between ‘Anonymous’ and ‘House of the King’. There is a coda to ‘Anonymous’, after a short gap, but whoever put the idents in back in 1993 got it wrong and assumed it was a cadenza (intro) to ‘House of the King’. (It was an easy mistake for someone unfamiliar with the canon to make – the placing of those two tracks in terms of key and mood was perfect!) That smoking gun was apparent on the recent ‘Golden Years of Dutch Pop Music’ 2CD set, where this coda cock-up was repeated. As I said – clearly cut-and-paste.

    Even leaving aside the mastering/audio sourcing, there is one 70s B-side, ‘O Avondrood’, a vocal version of ‘Glider’, that has never yet appeared on CD. Presumably Mike Vernon had forgotten about it when he did the original CD editions – and obviously nobody involved in subsequent editions has given a damn.

    I’d say – if the price was right – this set is probably a good one-stop shop for anyone more than half interested in Focus and who maybe only has two or three, if any, of the 10 albums on CD – and the recent ones, though lacking Akkerman, are terrific, very much in the spirit of the band in the 70s with Thijs and co masters of the fun end of progressive rock. But I doubt if there is any reason for regular fans, who have most/all of the individual albums on CD, to buy it.

    If, to my surprise Paul, you come back and tell us the set has been newly mastered from original tapes by someone who knows what they’re doing, I’ll be first in the queue.

  4. simon says:

    I could do with a good best of Focus but if that dips in price down the road I might be tempted.

  5. Marc says:

    A lot of music in this box, but it’s not complete. A quick look tells me that at least the album Focus did with Ramses Shaffy (Sunset sunkiss) and the single they did with him (The shrine of God/Watch the ugly people) are missing.

    I worked on a boxset of Conny Vandenbos (Het complete oeuvre van Conny Vandenbos, 15 cd’s with 308 tracks) which was released on May 7, 2017. Uptil now, that’s the only boxset of a Dutch artist that’s really complete.
    I think record companies should always involve fans if they want to do a really complete box.

    • Colin Harper says:

      And then there’s the rare Dutch cast recording of ‘Hair’ with Focus, which I think was the first thing they did.

      I don’t have a problem if the content is kept as purely the output under their own name – but there seems no reason to buy everything again if there’s either no new mastering or there is but it’s no good. there’s a Pentangle 7CD coming from Cherry Red and it contains all the albums/singles plus much more – ALL newly mastered from the best sources. It sounds great.

      It’s a shame that the Focus back catalogue seems to be in some kind of limbo, washing around obscure reissue labels with no one concerned with legacy at the helm. Imagine a lovingly remixed-by-Steven Wilson ‘Moving Waves’ or ‘Focus III’…

  6. Meadowmeal says:

    Wow, this sounds interesting! I never bought anything on CD but I do play some of the original LPs occasionally.
    BTW, I recently heard someone pronounce Thijs’ name like Teach or Thidge, or whatever. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dutch language, it’s in between Tace and Tice, if that makes any sense.

    • EW99 says:

      Yes, if you think of a joined-up “ij” as looking like a “y” with an umlaut then that might help. The Dutch call it a “long y”.

    • Nicolaj Schjøtz says:

      If someone needs help to pronounce Thijs’ name they should listen to Hocus Pocus from the Rainbow. Best band member announcement ever!

  7. Jake says:

    For me, the 1985 Focus album is an underrated gem! It wasn’t easy to get that as an import back then. I wouldn’t have expected that disc in a box set like that since it’s not really a true band album, but really happy they decided to include it.

  8. JF says:

    I’ve listened to early Focus quite a lot, there’s great stuff in there for jazz-rock aficionados. “Anonymous 2” and “Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!” on “Focus 3” are benchmarks for recorded jamming (even though the drum solo section on Anonymous 2 drags on a bit to much to my taste… Ah, the seventies!). Those tracks, along with “Fresh Air” on Akkerman’s “Profile”, are landmark recordings in my book!

  9. Lee R. says:

    I just want Steven Wilson to remix Moving Waves. That needs a clean-up so bad.

  10. I think this set will be the existing remasters. I read somewhere the master tapes are AWOL. Shame, as this band deserve the full blown deluxe treatment. Although they were known here in the UK as a slightly yodelling novelty act with hits ‘Sylivia’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’, their album ‘Moving Waves’ is an absolute classic of 70’s prog rock.

  11. Wolf Jordan says:

    Question for Focus experts: there is no song “Focus VI” on this collection or anywhere else that I can see. Is there such a song? What happened to it?

    • Colin Harper says:

      Thijs composed the track ‘Focus 8’ when he rebooted the band for the album of that name – naming the album that because he calculated that it was their eighth album. So he named the track after the album rather than continuing the ‘Focus [Latin number]’ sequence. When they made the Focus 9 album, he did the same trick but – I’m guessing here – must have noticed the gap you mention and wrote another tune he could title ‘Focus 7’, for the same (‘Focus 9’) album, working backwards to fill it. Don’t be surprised if a ‘Focus 6’ appears before too long on a new album.

  12. Jim Galvin says:

    I ordered it from Amazon UK at £43.94 and I wish I knew if it was remastered or not because there’s no point in buying it unless they sound better than what I have already.

  13. Peter says:

    I’ve ordered it from jpc. It’s ended up costing me 39.61 after conversion and postage using paypal. I already own moving waves, 3, hamburger and rainbow on Japanese cd, as I consider these to be their finest albums. But, I couldn’t resist finally getting the rest in this tidy looking box.

  14. Jake says:

    I hope I’m wrong, but so many times when something is remastered and put into a box set like this, they’re not shy about putting it in the description.

    I’ve looked around and I can’t see any listing for this box that mentions anything different about these versions. It feels like shovel-ware… just shovel the old versions into a new package.

    Still, I did pre-order it. I used to have all of these, but over time some have ended up elsewhere or sold when I wanted something new. It’s a nice way to get most of their stuff in one package.

  15. Rik K says:

    I’m a Focus fan, but there is little new here to interest me: No previously unreleased studio or
    concert material. No 5.1 Surround mixes. No video material. No deluxe book. In other words, none of the things that make a box, truly a box.

    Incidentally, did any fans here of euro-rock get the Brain Records box set that was released in March? It’s 8 CDs, includes a great book and numerous rarities, like 2 full live albums that have never been digitally available before. I don’t think I saw any mention of this set in SDE, surprisingly.

  16. Colin Harper says:

    Hold the front page… On the question of the ‘missing’ ‘ composition ‘Focus VI’, my pal Dave From Bangor – whose discographical knowledge of Focus and its members dwarfs my own, and that of most mortals – tells me that it appeared on a Thijs Van Leer solo LP in 1981 called ‘Reflections’ and again on a TVL album called ‘Bolero’ in 1988.

  17. Brian Stanbrook says:

    I too would love that Wilson bloke to remaster Moving Waves. A true prog masterpiece.

  18. Brian Stanbrook says:

    O Avondrood is a vocal version of Red Sky At Night from Ship Of Memories.

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