Here's a great 2CD compilation from Dutch progressive rock legends Focus that brings together rare and unreleased material from various band & solo sessions, which is why it's very appropriately titled The Focus Family Album. Adorned with some pretty cool artwork from the equally legendary Roger Dean, The Focus Family Album contains a wealth of material that includes the Focus X sessions, solo tracks from all the current members, as well as recordings from the upcoming Focus 11 album.
The current line-up of Focus features:
Thijs Van Leer- Hammond organ, flute, vocoder, vocals
Pierre Van der Linden- drums, bass drum, percussion
Menno Gootjes - guitars
Udo Pannekeet -bass
Pannekeet now takes over for longtime bassist Bobby Jacobs, who does appear on much of the band material here but has recently stepped down from Focus to pursue other projects. There are a wealth of styles and flavors to be found on this enjoyable set, with the unreleased band material probably the most of interest to fans but there's also a wealth of great solo tracks and the experimental/improvisational Swung stuff, which was all recorded at various soundchecks as a way for the guys to get loose before Van Leer would show up. Through it all, Gootjes proves to be a beast on guitar, whether he's laying down some delicate jazz licks or distorted rock firepower, and he shines on "Raga Reverence 1" and the gorgeous "Song for Eva". As a unit, the current line-up can rock pretty hard, as they do on "The Fifth Man", complete with heavy guitar riffs and Van Leer's snarling Hammond organ, as well as atmospheric blues rock, which you'll hear on "Five Fourth".
Toss in some stellar solo pieces on guitar, bass (Pannekeet is a hell of a player!), drums, and flute, as well as two pieces from the upcoming Focus 11 album, the best of which is the majestic "Winnie", and you have a fascinating sampling of recent rare Focus recordings that once again displays just how much of a musical force this longstanding outfit still is.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Nature Is Our Friend - Thijs Van Leer
2. Song for Eva - Focus
3. Riverdance - Pierre Van Der Linden
4. Victoria - Focus
5. Two-Part Intervention - Menno Gootjes
6. Mosh Blues - Focus
7. Raga Reverence 1 - Swung
8. The Fifth Man - Focus
9. Song for Yaminah - Udo Pannekeet
10. Claire Obscure - Focus
1. Let Us Wander? - Thijs Van Leer
2. Birds Come Fly Over (Le Tango) - Focus
3. Spiritual Swung - Pierre Van Der Linden
4. Santa Teresa - Focus
5. Hazel - Menno Gootjes
6. Fine Without You - Focus
7. Raga Reverence 5 - Swung
8. Five Fourth - Focus
9. Anaya - Udo Pannekeet
10. Winnie - Focus