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Articles Home » 1975 Articles » Focus - 1975 Mother Focus
Focus - 1975 Mother Focus

ALBUM: Mother Focus
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 2344 053
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: 2001, Red Bullet, 66.192


LINEUP: Thijs Van Leer - keyboards, flute, vocals * Jan Akkerman - guitars * Bert Ruiter - bass, vocals * David Kemper, Collin Allen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mother Focus * 02 I Need A Bathroom * 03 Bennie Helder * 04 Soft Vanilla * 05 Hard Vanilla * 06 Tropic Bird * 07 Focus IV * 08 Someone's Crying.What! * 09 All Together.Oh That! * 10 No Hang Ups * 11 My Sweetheart * 12 Father Bach


In the eyes and ears of many Focus die-hards 'Mother Focus' was the end of an impressive run for the kings of Dutch progressive rock. Following a trio of classic releases - 'Moving Waves', '3' and the universally acclaimed jewel of their catalog 'Hamburger Concerto'; Focus were following the mid-decade trend towards shorter, more concise material much like their British contemporaries ELP and Gentle Giant but trouble was brewing within the band as the arguing between Thijs Van Leer and virtuoso guitarist Jan Akkerman became too much for frustrated drummer Collin Allen who left early in the recording and was hastily replaced by American David Kemper for the remaining sessions and subsequent tour.

The Songs
Up to this point Classical rock was Focus' bread and butter but what we have on 'Mother Focus' was less Bach and more light jazz, treading dangerously close to disco but it wasn't entirely a bad thing. There's only a pair of cuts with voice, the opening title track featuring Van Leer's trademark wordless falsetto (remember 'Hocus Pocus'?) and Akkerman's first vocal appearance on a Focus album 'I Need A Bathroom'. He probably should have kept his desire to sing a secret as he just doesn't cut it, sounding way too much like Bob Dylan to these ears. Ugly, but from here on the side varies with 'Bennie Helder' sounding like Focus of old while 'Soft Vanilla' and its disco-swishy counterpart 'Hard Vanilla' reminds me of fusion outfits Caldera, Nova and the like. The flip fares better with the more typical 'Focus IV' and the sublime 'Someone's Crying.. What!' bookended with the country-ish 'All Together.. Oh That!'. Nicely done and 'No Hang Ups' has that familiar Focus sound with beautiful interplay betwixt Akkerman's soulful guitar and Van Leer's subtle keys although closing with the minute and a half 'Father Bach' only reminds the listener of the grandeur and progressive innovation Focus albums were previously known for, most of which is unfortunately missing on 'Mother Focus'.

In Summary
The excellent odds 'n sods 'Ship of Memories' mopped up unreleased material from previous album sessions although Akkerman was long gone by the time 1978's 'Focus Con Proby' hit the racks. Very much a jazz fusion album featuring soul star PJ Proby on vocals and not one, but two guitarists as well as well as future Journey and GD fave Steve Smith on drums. The overall effect was closer to the late '70s Santana albums but again, light years from the groundbreaking band Focus once was.

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