Those happy go lucky Dutch proggers Focus just keep plugging away, with another new album under their belt titled Golden Oldies. Well, new, sort of. You see, this latest is a collection of re-recorded Focus classics from the current incarnation of the group, which includes founding member Thijs van Leer (vocals, flute, keyboards), Pierre van der Linden (drums), Bobby Jacobs (bass), and Menno Gootjes (guitar).
Most of the bands more popular songs are included here, including of course the aggressive yodeling masterpiece "Hocus Pocus", complete with raging guitar licks and wispy flute, the melodic "Tommy" (featuring a great guitar solo from Gootjes), the upbeat & engaging "House of the King" (a must hear for any Jethro Tull fan), and the pop/prog/funk gem that is "Sylvia". The current line-up does a great job on the yearning sounds of "Focus 1" as well as the mix of prog & jazz-fusion that is "Focus 3 & 2", which contains some lovely guitar, piano, & Hammond organ work. "Aya Yippie Hippie Yee" is a newer song, from the 2006 Focus 9 album, that showcases the bands instrumental abilities, and reminds greatly of their classic material. Both "Neurotica" and "Brother" are from their 2002 release Focus 8, and given royal treatment by the current line-up. The former is a rousing prog workout, and the latter is saturated by van Leer's chilling Hammond and Gootjes' emotional lead guitar lines.
So there you have it, some very solid & enjoyable re-recordings of standout Focus songs old & new, from this very capable current incarnation of the band. I'm sure many fans were hoping for a new album of all new material to follow up the excellent X from 2012, but this will tide us over quite nicely while we wait for that eventual new record.
1) Hocus Pocus
3) House of the King
4) Focus 1
6) Focus 3 & 2
7) Aya Yippie Hippie Yee