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Focus - Hamburger Concerto [Atco SD 36-100] (April 1974)

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Hamburger Concerto

Released: April 1974
Label: Atco
Catalog: SD 36-100
Pressing: Monarch Pressing
Genre: Rock, Prog Rock
Note: Small notch cut out on jacket

T R A C K L I S T:
01 Delitiae Musicae
02 Harem Scarem
03 La Cathedrale De Strasbourg
04 Birth
05 Hamburger Concerto
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Album Review

Ben Davies []

Focus had well proven their ability to write rocking instrumentals by the time of this release. Their catalog, although consisting of four albums, rarely had a dull moment between them. Hamburger Concerto is equally consistent, much of it being prime Focus material. The Akkerman-written ''Birth'' and ''Early Birth'' are examples of Focus fully flexing their muscles, featuring superb guitar work and amazing all-round musicianship, as well as sporting some superb riffs. The usual lengthy instrumentals are present also, as well as some manic vocals from the manic but genius Thijs Van Leer. Although Hamburger Concerto is not as unerring as Moving Waves or Focus III, anyone who enjoyed the previous releases would undoubtedly find great satisfaction from this album.

Focus' Biography

Jason Ankeny []

Best remembered for their bizarre chart smash ''Hocus Pocus,'' Dutch progressive rock band Focus was formed in Amsterdam in 1969 by vocalist/keyboardist/flutist Thijs van Leer, bassist Martin Dresden, and drummer Hans Cleuver. With the subsequent addition of guitarist Jan Akkerman, the group issued its debut LP, In and Out of Focus, in 1970, earning a European cult following thanks to the single ''House of the King.'' Dresden and Cleuver were replaced by bassist Cyril Havermanns and drummer Pierre Van der Linden for the English-language follow-up, Moving Waves; the record generated the hit ''Hocus Pocus,'' a hallucinatory epic distinguished by Akkerman's guitar pyrotechnics and van Leer's demented yodeling. Easily one of the flat-out strangest songs ever to crack the American pop charts, the single peaked at number nine in the spring of 1973, by which time Focus had already exchanged Havermanns for bassist Bert Ruiter and issued their third album, Focus III, which yielded the minor hit ''Sylvia.'' In the wake of 1974's Hamburger Concert, the band streamlined the classical aspirations of earlier efforts to pursue a more pop-oriented approach on records like Ship of Memories and Mother Focus; though roster changes regularly plagued Focus throughout the period, none was more pivotal than the 1976 exit of Akkerman, who was replaced by guitarist Philip Catherine for 1978's Focus con Proby, cut with British pop singer P.J. Proby. Focus then disbanded, with the original lineup reuniting in 1990 for a Dutch television special. After splitting again, they reunited for one-offs in 1995 and in 1999. In 2002, Van Leer reformed Focus with a new line-up releasing the albums Focus 8 (2002), Focus 9 / New Skin (2006), and Focus X (2012). In 2010, Nike used ''Hocus Pocus'' in its Word Cup commerical, Write The Future, renewing global interest in the band. In 2016, Van Leer shifted personnel again to include drummer Pierre van der Linden, guitarist Menno Gootjes, and bassist Udo Pannekeet and released the studio album Focus 8.5 / Beyond the Horizon and Live In England. A year later, Cherry Red issued The Focus Family Album compilation.
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