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4.3 out of 5 stars
Hocus Pocus: The Best Of Focus
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2001
From what is in my opinion one of the best rock instrumentals of all time,Hocus Pocus opens an album which captures the crazy world of Focus.I dare you not to reach for your air guitar while this one rocks your living room! At times moody,at times a little crazy,but at all times,a band which was unquestionably superb in every track executed.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 January 2003
Having recently seen Thijs van Leer perform a set of Focus greatest hits with a new band, it was interesting to go back to the original interpretations. And make no mistake, this is an album filled with beautiful guitar, organ and flute instrumental music, plus a bit of Thijs's usual falsetto moaning, yodelling and scat singing.
Was it prog rock? That seems a bland description for a band that used its classical musical upbringing to develop new classics. The funky flute seems as fresh today as in the early 70s, though Akkerman's guitar licks sound a little cliched nowadays. Perhaps he's been even more influential than we already knew!
If you're a stranger to Focus, this a great starting point. Buy and enjoy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2012
I thought, that I was pretty familiar with most Rock/Prog Rock/Folk Rock groups, most things Prog and Folk Rock in fact, yet I had never acquired, for my own collection, anything from FOCUS - how amiss of me :-) - and I was in for a treat!

I decided to dunk my toe with HOCUS POCUS: THE BEST OF FOCUS, my starting points being a love of;- Rock, Metal, Folk Rock, Prog Rock, Classical, Blues et al.

According to other reviewers it seemed that most Prog Rock fans really rate FOCUS. I had, of course heard the likes of the Tullesque 'HOUSE of THE KING' by Jan Akkerman and the brilliantly witty, driving, 'HOCUS POCUS' with it's multi-ranging yodeled vocal middle eights and sideline 'scatting' from Mr. Van Leer and that was the sum total of my 'appreciation' of FOCUS - or so I thought. As a point of note the latter Track may be 'an acquired taste' for some, yet it makes me smile - every time - to hear that hard hitting, driving, 1970's Guitar based Rock under, ancient, Folk based, vocal techniques. I am surprised to say that even my girlfriend loves the, in the main, instrumental tracks, of this album, with comments such as;- 'it has a great groove', 'it's funky - wow listen to that!'.....

.....Personally, this album took me awhile to 'get into' yet as with most enduring musical loves of mine, perseverance is well worthwhile - it was the same for me, many, many years ago with some of Zep's (et al's.) work, and such has remained a favourite of mine for 30-40 years - this album is like a treasure chest, in that the deeper you dig the more treasure you find, every time I listen to the Tracks within, I hear more and more, like taking another new journey with the same music, depth, craftsmanship, feeling, courage, innovation - just superb!

The Bass part on 'ANONYMUS' is superb (Martijn Dresden), as is the guitar solo (Jan Akkerman) - very evocative, taking me on a journey back to times and places, from Rock folklore that I had, until now, yet to visit...and the intro (guitar and vocals) to 'TOMMY' is just haunting - wow!

This Album makes me want to dust of my old Guitar - maybe take up the Flute - and learn, what for me are 'new' songs and ways of making music!

....When I re-discovered 'SYLVIA', which I must have heard before, whilst listening to the radio many, many years ago, as a small boy (my mum always had such music playing in the background) and I, rather embarrassingly realised that, with some 'classical' training under my belt (that element of my musical 'education' didn't last long!), I had, for many years, been playing, very naively, as a semi-acoustic type 'warmup', something akin to the intro chord sequence from 'SYLVIA' and there was I thinking that I was being original!! (how the mind can play tricks on one as loved music is never truly forgotten!).

Hocus Pocus as an Album, is, in many ways, and at first unbeknownst to me, a real homecoming, musically speaking, it has it all, heavy Guitars, haunting Guitars, Bass lines to die for, Hammond Organ/Keyboards loaded with 'funk', out-there, acrobatic vocal visitations (with unbelievable range), haunting, rasping, breathy Flute solos, Prog Rock, Folk Rock, Lounge Rock, elements of Trad. Folk, tempo changes etc. etc.......it has it all.

1970's nostalgia by the bucket-load - superb!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2013
Music brings deep memories back to the surface, this brings back such good ones, it brings me back to a time with my one true love, I lost her through my own stupidity, but at least this music can bring back the memories of those times.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2002
This truly is the musical experience of a lifetime!You will never here music as gorgeous as this!They have got the best guitarist,drummer,vocalist,flutist,bassist!Anyone who says there is a better guitarist than Jan Akerrman is crazy!Just listen to the U.S version of Hocus Pocus on this album and be blown away!This really is the best music I have ever heard and probably ever will!Everyone should own this compilation album along with all their other albums!A definate must buy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2014
Great to hear these Focus classics again...my vinyl versions now pretty scratched up so pristine digital versions a real pleasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2014
The first half of this album is baroque Euro prog. 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Sylvia' are cracking songs, but some of the other stuff sounds a bit turgid. From track 11 (Mother Focus) onward, however, there is a definite American jazz-rock influence and the band sounds all the better for it.
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on 28 July 2015
Some good music on this album,some of the tracks are very much like Jethro Tull,I'm a big fan of Tull so I liked these tunes.Probably the flute playing very much in the style of Ian Anderson.Sylvia is a familiar track as is Hocus Pocus and there are two versions of it on this album.All in all a really enjoyable collection.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those albums that you either rave about, or dislike. My husband, who is seriously into popular music of all types, thinks it's fantastic. And I have to agree that the instrumental bits are great - some of them build to a real crescendo/climax. The only problem for me is the "yodelling" style of singing - it's a bit much for me...
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on 17 November 2014
Memories sometimes aren't quite what you thought they would be, but in this case they are every bit as good. Takes me right back to when the world just seemed less complicated and re-living seeing them live. A great experience then and now!
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