Toe Fat – Same (1970)

FrontCover1Toe Fat was an English rock music band, active from June 1969 to 1971, notable for including two future members of Uriah Heep.

Formed in June 1969, the band was fronted by former Rebel Rouser Cliff Bennett and, in the course of its two-year, two-album career, featured lead guitarist and keyboardist Ken Hensley; bassist John Glascock (who replaced original bassist John Konas (Joseph Stanley Konas)); and drummer Lee Kerslake. After the first album, Kerslake and Hensley were replaced by Brian Glascock (drums) and Alan Kendall (guitar) respectively.

The band was founded by Bennett, a former pop star, after the dissolution of the Cliff Bennett Band. He teamed with the former Gods keyboard player Hensley, who drafted in fellow ex-Gods members Kerslake and Glascock. The name was decided over dinner when Bennett and his manager attempted to create the most disgusting band name possible.

Toe Fat was signed to the record label, Rare Earth, in the US. In the UK, the band signed with EMI, who released their first album on the Parlophone label, and the second on Regal Zonophone.

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The eponymously titled first album flopped commercially, but gained considerable critical praise.[citation needed] Such was their stir that after their first single, “Workin’ Nights”, (the B-side was an early Elton John composition “Bad Side of the Moon”) they were booked for a tour supporting Derek and the Dominos in the US. The album was also notable for its cover designed by the recently formed graphic art company Hipgnosis. The cover showed a beach scene with four people who have large toes superimposed over their heads. For the US release, a man and a topless woman in the background were replaced by the image of a sheep. The photo of the band on the back of the US album shows Cliff Bennett, Alan Kendall, John Glascock, and Lee Kerslake even though Alan CliffBennettAKendall did not play on the first album. This was an interim line-up, Lee Kerslake would soon depart also before second album was recorded.

Hensley quit the band to form Uriah Heep. Alan Kendall replaced Hensley, before their second album, Toe Fat Two. Bennett admitted in the sleeve notes of his Rebellion album that when asked he “probably should have joined them”. Kerslake left to join the National Head Band, before also joining Uriah Heep in 1971. Glascock later joined Jethro Tull. Another ex-Gods man, Brian Glascock, became the new drummer.

Jonathan Peel (not the DJ) produced Toe Fat 2, after hearing them on several BBC radio sessions, including one for Terry Wogan. However, this LP also flopped, despite more radio airplay, and a reasonably successful US tour promoting it. Following these successive failures, their management and labels informed the group that they could no longer fund them.

Bennett recorded Rebellion, before quitting the music industry to become a shipping magnate. He used to occasionally tour with the Rebel Rousers. Wh

Alan Kendall and Brian Glascock went on to play with, and write for, the Bee Gees. (by wikipedia)

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Rare single from Italy, 1970

The late-’60s success of heavy-handed acts like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Led Zeppelin instigated many British musicians — young and old — to grow their hair and start hard rock bands, and London’s oddly named Toe Fat were no exception. Formed in June 1969 by veteran singer Cliff Bennett (ex-Rebel Rousers) with multi-talented guitarist and keyboard player Ken Hensley, bassist John Glascock, and drummer Lee Kerslake (all of them ex-Gods), Toe Fat quickly parlayed their respectable résumés into a deal with KenHensley1969AParlophone in the U.K. and Rare Earth in the U.S. But their eponymous first album didn’t pack nearly as much bombast as the musical titans named above, sounding more like contemporaries Savoy Brown, Status Quo, or Humble Pie (at about 75 percent of Steve Marriott’s intensity). If anything, the group’s typically midpaced, R&B-steeped fare owed as much to the on-the-wane British blues boom as anything hot and heavy; although at their best, memorable cuts like “That’s My Love for You,” “But I’m Wrong,” “Working Nights,” and the driving “You Tried to Take It All” cast out great hooks to match the band’s top-notch musicianship and Bennett’s emotionally soulful voice. Some controversy remains as to who really played on the record, but if Hensley was truly the man, as credited, he really takes over on “Nobody” (boasting wildly distorted fuzz guitars and extended soloing) and “I Can’t Believe” (featuring more forceful guitar work and just as many keyboards), then strums along in suitably controlled fashion on the acoustic-laced “The Wherefors and the Whys.” Speaking of dubious performances, largely forgotten Ian Anderson doppelgänger Mox was brought in to add flute to “Just Like All the Rest,” which only serves to bring about inevitable Jethro Tull comparisons.

But the album’s two covers fare quite well, with “Just Like Me” delivering a punchy update on the standard popularized by the Coasters and Hollies, while the album’s tough-rocking first single, “Bad Side of the Moon,” was actually written by none other than the emerging Elton John/Bernie Taupin team (and would also be covered by Canadians April Wine a short time later). Unfortunately, although it met with widespread critical kudos, Toe Fat’s debut was a resounding commercial flop, and may now be best remembered because of its curious, Hipgnosis-designed cover art, featuring toe-headed people lounging on a beach. The group would persist through one more album, but with Hensley and Kerslake already gone to form Uriah Heep (they had left even before Toe Fat’s first American tour in support of Derek & the Dominos), that album’s greater stylistic inconsistency did the band no favors. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

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Alternate backcover from the US edition

Personnel:
Cliff Bennett (vocals)
Ken Hensley (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Lee Kerslake (drums, vocals)
John Konas (bass, vocals)
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Mox Gowland (flute, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. That’s My Love For You (Bennett/Allen/Roberts) 4.05
02. Bad Side Of The Moon (John/Taupin) 3.25
03. Nobody (Beatty/Cooper/Shelby) -6.07
04. The Wherefors And The Whys (Bennett) 3.43
05. But I’m Wrong (Bennett) 3.58
06. Just Like Me (Guy/Carroll) 4.14
07. Just Like All The Rest (Bennett) 2.32
08. I Can’t Believe (Bennett) 4.00
09. Working Nights (Bennett) 2.31
10. You Tried To Take It All (Bennett) 4.23

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Dave Mason – Alone Together (1970)

FrontCover1Alone Together is the debut solo album by former Traffic member Dave Mason, released in 1970. Mason was joined on the album by a roster of guest musicians, including Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Jim Capaldi, Rita Coolidge, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. The song “Only You Know and I Know” reached number #42 on the Billboard charts in the US and was the record’s major commercial success.

About 30% of the records were produced in so-called marble vinyl,[citation needed] a swirled mix of pink, brown and beige, rather than the usual black vinyl.[3] The original record jacket is a tri-fold with a half-pocket on the inside to hold the record (originally issued without a paper inner sleeve). The top of the tri-fold has a die-cut image of Mason in a top hat, collaged behind a rocky outcrop, and there is a small die-cut hole at the top to permit the jacket to be hung on the wall as a poster.

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Dave Mason’s first solo album was one of several recordings to come out of the Leon Russell/Delaney & Bonnie axis in 1970. (Other notables included Eric Clapton’s solo debut and Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen.) Alone Together contains an excellent batch of melodically pleasing songs, built on a fat bed of strumming acoustic guitars with tasteful electric guitar accents and leads. Mason’s vocals are embellished with harmonies from Rita Coolidge, Claudia Lennear, and Delaney & Bonnie.

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Besides the well-known semi-hit “Only You Know and I Know,” and which was also a number 20 hit for Delaney & Bonnie, highlights include the bouncy gospel-inflected “Waitin’ on You” and the banjo-bejeweled “Just a Song.” “Look at You Look at Me” and the wonderfully wah-wahed “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” are reminiscent of Mason’s former band, Traffic, whose drummer, Jim Capaldi is among the all-star cast assembled here. Alone Together represents Dave Mason at his peak. Later releases would betray lyrical shallowness, forced rhymes, and clichéd guitar licks. But here, everything comes together perfectly. The original vinyl release of Alone Together was also noteworthy for the marble grain of the record itself — as the record played on the turntable, the tone arm appeared to be floating through the clouds. (by Jim Newsom)

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Personnel:
John Barbata (drums)
Jim Capaldi (drums)
Michael DeTemple (guitar)
Chris Ethridge (bass)
Jim Gordon (drums)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Larry Knechtel (bass)
Dave Mason (guitar, vocals)
Don Preston (keyboards)
Carl Radle (bass)
Leon Russell (keyboards)
John Simon (keyboards)
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background vocals:
Bonnie Bramlett – Rita Coolidge – Mike Coolidge – Claudia Lennear – Lou Cooper – Bob Norwood – Jack Storti

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Tracklist:
01. Only You Know And I Know (Mason) 4.07
02. Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving (Mason) 3.03
03. Waitin’ On You (Mason) 3.03
04. Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (Mason) 6.01
05. World In Changes (Mason) 4.32
06. Sad And Deep As You (Mason) 3.36
07. Just A Song (Mason) 3.01
08. Look At You Look At Me (Mason/Capaldi) 7.38

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One of the finest songs, Dave Mason ever written:

Lips that are as warm could be
Lips that speak too soon
Lips that tell a story
Sad and deep as you

Smile that’s warm as summer sun
Smile that gets you through
Smile that tells a story
Sad and deep as you

Eyes that are the windows
Eyes that are the view
Eyes that tell a story
Sad and deep as you

Tears that are unspoked words
Tears that are the truth
Tears that tell a story
Sad and deep as you

Amazing Blondel – Same (“Amazing Blondel and a Few Faces”) (1970)

LPFrontCover1Amazing Blondel are an English acoustic progressive folk band, containing Eddie Baird, John Gladwin, and Terry Wincott. They released a number of LPs for Island Records in the early 1970s. They are sometimes categorised as psychedelic folk or as medieval folk rock, but their music was much more a reinvention of Renaissance music, based around the use of period instruments such as lutes and recorders.

 

John Gladwin (guitar and vocals) and Terrance (Terry) Wincott (guitar and vocals) formed a band called The Dimples along with Stuart Smith (drums) and Johnny Jackson (bass guitar). Signed to the Decca label they recorded a single, the “A” side “Love of a Lifetime” and the “B” side written by John Gladwin titled “My Heart is Tied to You”, disappointingly the record didn’t chart, although more recently the “B” side has become popular on the Northern Soul scene.

Following the break up of The Dimples John and Terry formed a loud “electric” band called Methuselah. However, at some point in Methuselah concerts, the duo would play an acoustic number together: they found that this went down well with the audiences and allowed them to bring out more of the subtlety of their singing and instrumental work. They left Methuselah in 1969 and began working on their own acoustic material.

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Initially their material was derived from folk music, in line with many of the other performers of the time. However, they began to develop their own musical idiom, influenced, at one extreme, by the early music revivalists such as David Munrow, and the other extreme, by their childhood memories of the Robin Hood TV series, with its pseudo-mediaeval soundtrack by Elton Hayes.

The band was named after Blondel de Nesle, the musician in the court of Richard I. According to legend, when Richard was held prisoner, Blondel travelled through central Europe, singing at every castle to locate the King and assist his escape. This name for the band was suggested by a chef, Eugene McCoy, who listened to some of their songs and commented: “Oh, very Blondel!” and they began to use that name. They were then advised to add an adjective (in line, for example, with The Incredible String Band) and so they became “Amazing Blondel”.

Blondel02Their first album The Amazing Blondel (also called “Amazing Blondel and a Few Faces,”) was recorded in 1969 and released by Bell Records. It was directed by session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan. At about this time, Eddie Baird (who had known the other members at school) joined the band. On 19 September 1970 they were one of the bands to play at the first Glastonbury Festival. Following what Baird described as “a disastrous ‘showbiz’ record signing”, Amazing Blondel were introduced, by members of the band Free, to Chris Blackwell of Island Records and Artists. Blackwell signed them up to Island …  (by wikipedia)

This was actually the first Amazing Blondel album, but spent most of the last 25 years of the century as one of the most sought after collector items. While it’s fair to say that the value of the LP was based more on rarity than quality, this is in fact a very good album.

To recap the history up to this point, most members of the band had been in a group called Methuselah, which issued one fairly heavy psychedelic album featuring several strong themes, some of which can be seen infiltrating this somewhat uneven AB debut. About half the tracks owe more to Methuselah while the other half have that Elizabethan flavour for which the group would become better known, if not exactly household Blondel03names, through the first part of the 1970s.

This juxtaposition of styles in almost alternate order actually works quite well, with Wincott’s more rugged voice on the delightful “Bethel Town Mission” and the somewhat Blood Sweat and Tears influenced “Canaan” contrasting well with Gladwin’s more elfin voice on “Saxon Lady” and “Season of the Year”. It doesn’t hurt that the songwriting and arrangements are already pretty mature, if simultaneously a bit naive. The rousing and raucous closer, “Bastard Love”, produces an unlikely combination of the two styles, resulting in a humour that later would only be perceptible from their live shows.

The weaker tracks hint at Blondel’s occasional tendency to overestimate the elasticity of some of their material, as in “Shepherd’s Song” which is frankly a bore. But on the whole this is a document that is likely to make more than a few faces happy. (by kenethlevine)

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Personnel:
John Gladwin (guitar, vocals, bass)
Terrance (Terry) Wincott (guitar, vocals, flute, recorder, harmonium, percussion)
+
Clem Cattini (drums)
Chris Karan (percusion)
Gary Taylor (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Saxon Lady 3.10
02. Bethel Town Mission 3.15
03. Season Of The Year 2.46
04. Canaan 3.50
05. Shepherd’s Song 6.14
06. You Don’t Want My Love 3.59
07. Love Sonnet 4.08
08. Spanish Lace 2.46
09. Minstrel’s Song 5.34
10. Bastard Love 4.10

All sings written by John Gladwin

 

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What a great cover !

Krzysztof Sadowski – And His Hammond Organ (1970)

FrontCover1This is the first album on the legendary Polish Jazz series, which is dedicated to the Hammond organ, the godfather of the electronic keyboards and probably the most significant new instrument, which dominated Jazz and Progressive Rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s (although available since the 1930s). Keyboardist Krzysztof Sadowski belongs to the first post WWII generation of Polish Jazz musicians, debuting in the 1950s and active on the local scene for many years. He combined his love of Jazz and Rock, playing with the leading ensembles of both genres with equal dedication and success.

This album presents his Hammond organ performances in two different environments: Side A of the original LP captures him accompanied just by drummer Andrzej Dabrowski and the duo moves through a Rocky set, which includes a Beatles medley. Side B finds him accompanied by the Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra, led by saxophonist / composer Jan “Ptaszyn” Wroblewski and featuring top Polish Jazz players, among them saxophonist Janusz Muniak, bassist Bronislaw Suchanek, drummer Janusz Stefanski and many others. This set is much closer to Jazz and features a beautiful version of Krzysztof Komeda’s ballad from “Rosemary’s Baby”. (by Jazzis)

Krzysztof Sadowski sounds like Hardin & York in their best period … so you will hear a high class jazz-organ … superb !

Krzysztof Sadowski01

Personnel:
Andrzej Dąbrowski (drums on 01. – 04.)
Józef Dębek (trumpet)
Franciszek Górkiewicz (trumpet)
Józef Grabarski (trumpet)
Franciszek Kowalski (trumpet)
Stanisław Kowalczyk (trombone)
Kazimierz Morawski (trombone)
Janusz Muniak (saxophone)
Andrzej Piela (trombone)
Albert Pradella (saxophone)
Zdzisław Przybyszewski (saxophone)
Krzysztof Sadowski (organ)
Bronisław Suchanek (bass)
Janusz Stefański (drums on 05. – 08.)
Michal Urbaniak (guitar)
Pankracy Zdzitowiecki (trombone)
Władysław Żurkowski (saxophone)

BackCover
Tracklist:
01. Z Małej Chmury Duży Deszcz / Heavy Rain From A Little Cloud (Sadowski) 2.56
02. Impressions Of The Beatles 8.44
02.1. With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney)
02.2. Yesterday (Lennon/McCartney)
02.3. A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon/McCartney)
03. Kołysząc Się / Swinging (Sadowski) 3.25
04. Skąd My To Znamy / Something Familiar (Sadowski) 2.32
05. Blues Z Morałem / Don’t Count On Neal (Karolak) 4.32
06. Ballada Do Filmu “Rosemary’s Baby” / Main Theme From “Rosemary’a Baby” (Komeda) 4.27
07. Punkt Docelowy / Aim Point (Wróblewski) 4.30
08. Za Parę Dzięków / For Thanks (Urbaniak) 4.37

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ORKIESTRA JAZZOWA POLSKIEGO RADIA

Cactus – Same (1970)

FrontCover1Cactus is the debut album by the American hard rock band Cactus, released in 1970 under the Atco label. It includes original songs as well as cover of Mose Allison’s version of a blues standard, “Parchman Farm” and another one, Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover”. (by wikipedia)

Cactus may have never amounted to anything more than a half-hearted, last-minute improvised supergroup, but that don’t mean their eponymous 1970 debut didn’t rock like a mofo. The already quasi-legendary Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of Bogert and Appice may have provided the backbone of the band’s business cards, and soulful, ex-Amboy Duke Rusty Day brought the voice, but it was arguably former Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim McCarty who was the true star in the Cactus galaxy, spraying notes and shredding solos all over album highlights such as “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover,” “Let Me Swim,” and, most notably, a manic, turbocharged version of “Parchman Farm.”

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The fact that Cactus chose to tackle this classic blues song just a year after it’d been blasted into the fuzz-distortion stratosphere by Blue Cheer betrays — at best — a healthy competitive spirit within the early-’70s hard rock milieu, and at worst it suggests something of a mercenary nature to Cactus’ motives, but that’s an issue for the surviving bandmembers to duke it out over in the retirement home. And we digress — for the blistering closing duo of “Oleo” and “Feel So Good” (complete with bass and drum solo slots) easily certifies the Cactus LP as one of the best hard rock albums of the then brand-new decade, bar none. Too bad the illustrious members of Cactus would quickly lose interest in this band project and deliver increasingly mediocre efforts in the years that followed. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

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Personnel:
Carmine Appice (drums, background vocals)
Tim Bogert (bass, background vocals)
Rusty Day (vocals, harmonica)
Jim McCarty (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Parchman Farm (Allison) 3.06
02. My Lady From South Of Detroit (Appice/Bogert/Day/McCarty) 4.26
03. Bro. Bill (Appice/Bogert/Day/McCarty) 5.10
04. You Can’t Judge a Book By The Cover (Dixon) 6.30
05. Let Me Swim (Appice/Bogert/Day/McCarty) 3.50
06. No Need To Worry (Appice/Bogert/Day/McCarty) 6.14
07. Oleo (Appice/Bogert/Day/McCarty) 4.51
08. Feel So Good (Appice/Bogert/Day/McCarty) 6.03

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Canned Heat – 70 Concert Recorded Live In Europe (1970)

LPFrontCover1Canned Heat ’70 Concert Recorded Live in Europe is a 1970 live album by Canned Heat. The album is taken from various locations on live concert European tour right before Alan Wilson’s death and is the band’s first officially released live album. (by wikipedia)

This platter captures the 1970 incarnation of Canned Heat with Bob “The Bear” Hite (vocals), Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass), Aldolfo “Fito” de la Parra (drums), and newest addition Harvey Mandel (guitar), who had replaced Henry “Sunflower” Vestine (guitar) in 1969. They headed across the Atlantic in the spring of 1970 on the heels of “Let’s Work Together” — a Wilbert Harrison cover that charted within the Top Five in Europe. That outing yielded the combo’s first concert disc, Live in Europe (1971) — which had been issued almost a year earlier in the U.K. as Canned Heat Concert (Recorded Live in Europe) (1970). These are also among the final recordings to feature Wilson, whose increasing substance abuse and depression would result in an overdose prior to having re-joined the band for another stint in Europe in the fall of the same year.

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Indeed the brooding “Pulling Hair Blues” from this effort is marked not only by some decidedly dark and strung-out contributions, but more subtly, Hite’s tentative introduction of Wilson — indicating he had not been playing for the duration of the set. The Heat’s performance style has shifted from the aggressive rhythm and blues of their earliest sides to a looser and more improvisational technique. The opener, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama,” is given a greasy mid-tempo groove over Hite’s vocals . Mandel shines as his guitar leads dart in and out of the languid boogie. Although presented as a medley, “Back on the Road” is more or less an inclusive number with only brief lyrical references to “On the Road Again.” Mandel’s sinuous fretwork melds flawlessly with Wilson’s harmonica blows. The powerful rendering of the aforementioned “Let’s Work Together” is a highlight, with Canned Heat in top form as Wilson’s electric slide riffs recall their seminal sound. (by Lindsay Planer)

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Personnel:
Bob Hite (vocals)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Fito de la Parra (drums)
Larry Taylor (bass)
Alan Wilson (slide guitar, vocals, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. That’s All Right Mama (Crudup) 9.03
02. Bring It On Home (Dixon) 6.18
03. Pulling Hair Blues (Wilson/Taylor) 9.21
04. Medley:
04.1.Back Out On The Road (Hite)
04.2.On The Road Again (Jones/Wilson/Johnson) 6.01
05. London Blues (Wilson) 7.54
06. Let’s Work Together (Harrison) 4.51
07. Goodbye For Now”(de la Parra/Mandel) 3.26

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Focus – III (1972)

FrontCover1Focus 3 or Focus III is the third studio album from the Dutch rock band Focus, released as a double album in November 1972 on Imperial Records in the Netherlands, Polydor Records in the UK, and Sire Records in the US. Recorded after touring in supporting their previous album, Focus II (1971), the album saw the band write extended pieces and is their first with bassist Bert Ruiter in the group’s line-up.Focus 3 or Focus III is the third studio album from the Dutch rock band Focus, released as a double album in November 1972 on Imperial Records in the Netherlands, Polydor Records in the UK, and Sire Records in the US. Recorded after touring in supporting their previous album, Focus II (1971), the album saw the band write extended pieces and is their first with bassist Bert Ruiter in the group’s line-up.
Focus 3 received a positive reception upon its release. It went to No. 1 in the Netherlands for one week and reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 35 on the US Billboard 200. “Sylvia” was released as the album’s sole single, which reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 89 in the US. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling in excess of 500,000 copies.

In July 1972, after touring in supporting their previous album, Focus II (1971), the band retreated to Olympic Studios in Barnes, south west London, to record their next album. Initially a single LP was intended to be recorded but the group had written a considerable amount of new material, so the group opted to release a double album.

Focus01

Mike Vernon reprised his role as the record’s producer with George Chkiantz assigned as recording engineer.[ Two versions of the album’s sleeve design exist; its North American release features each member photographed during a performance on the BBC music television show The Old Grey Whistle Test with a black background. The second, designed by Hamish Grimes, depicts a close-up of van Leer playing the flute with the title over his face.

“Round Goes the Gossip” features five lines from the poem Aeneid by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, sung in Latin by van Leer and its chorus hook, “Round goes the gossip”, also sung by Vernon. The five lines from the poem are printed on the album’s sleeve in Latin and English[1] with the 1916 translation by Henry Fairclough.

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“Love Remembered” is a track written by Akkerman, playing an acoustic guitar with van Leer’s flute, which is based on a young couple’s morning walk. Van Leer wrote “Sylvia” in 1968 when he was a member of his previous theatre group Shaffy Chantat, formed by singer and actor Ramses Shaffy. He was not fond of a composition that singer Sylvia Alberts was given to sing for her solo performance, so he wrote the instrumental with a set of lyrics in English written by Linda van Dyck. Its original title was a long one: “I Thought I Could Do Everything on My Own, I Was Always Stripping the Town Alone”, and concerned an independent young woman who fell apart after she met the love of her life. van Leer kept the music, re-arranging it as an instrumental track when it came to selecting material for the album.

He renamed it “Sylvia” after Alberts “to tease [her] a little”. The track includes a guitar introduction written by van Leer’s brother Frank.

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Peet Johnson, one of the group’s biographers, highlights several musical references and similarities that van Leer incorporates in “Focus III”, including riffs from Bernard Hermann, “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” made famous by Petula Clark in 1967, Tchaikovsky, and Schubert. The track’s end segues into “Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!”, titled by Akkerman, featuring extended flute and guitar solos. Ruiter came up with its basic riff, with Akkerman coming up with the “second part”.[8] Akkerman wrote “Elspeth of Nottingham” after driving around England for a holiday in 1967, stopping in a town in the Cotswolds where he first heard Julian Bream play the lute which inspired him to learn the instrument. Akkerman requested to include birdsong on the recording; Vernon suggested to include sounds of cows mooing and the song’s title, the “Elspeth” being an old Scottish variant of the name Elizabeth.[8][9] “Carnival Fugue” borrows from Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier before venturing into cool jazz territory, then culminates in a rock finale with piccolo improvisations and a hint of Calypso rhythms on guitar. “Anonymous II” borrows its theme from “Anonymous” from the band’s first album and features a solo spot for all four members, lasting for 26 minutes.
The vinyl pressings of the album includes “House of the King”, a track Focus recorded for their first album, Focus Plays Focus (1970), intended to fill up space on side four. The two former members who perform on the recording, bassist Martin Dresden and drummer Hans Cleuver, are not credited on the album sleeve.

Singles

Released in November 1972, Focus 3 was a commercial success for the band, reaching No. 1 in the Netherlands for one week.[11] It reached a peak of No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart[12] in March 1973 during a 16-week stay on the chart.[10] In the US, it reached No. 35 on the Billboard 200. “Sylvia” was released as the album’s sole single, which reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 89 in the US. In November 1973, Billboard announced the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling in excess of 500,000 copies. The album reached the same certification in the Netherlands and the UK. (by wikipedia)

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Riding on the success of their hit single “Hocus Pocus” from the revolutionary Moving Waves album, Focus got to work on this, their third LP in four years. While the debut album featured a style not too dissimilar to the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Focus’ second LP, Moving Waves, was purely instrumental and wholly serious-minded. Focus III kept this same sound, but approached it with a jollier, more accessible tone. As with its predecessor, Focus III featured only one tune that would have a chance of being a hit single. The enjoyable rhythm of “Sylvia,” partnered with Jan Akkerman’s victorious guitar solo, some of Van Leer’s finest organ work, Bert Ruiter’s tight basslines, and Pierre Van Der Linden’s mellow drumming, assured the track classic status.

Bert Ruiter

“Sylvia” found worldwide success and gained the band valuable radio and press exposure. The song remains one of the most loved and best remembered songs from Focus’ catalog. The consistency in musical quality throughout Focus III is enough to merit any listeners’ respect. To be frank, this LP has it all: diverse songs, astounding musicianship, one of the finest singles ever released — Focus III should unquestionably be ranked alongside the likes of Revolver, Dark Side of the Moon, and any others of rock’s greatest. (by Ben Davies)
In other words: A masterpiece !

USFrontCover

US frontcover

Personnel:
Jan Akkerman (guitar, lute)
Thijy van Leer (keyboards, flute, harpsichord, vocals)
Pierre van der Linden (drums)
Bert Ruiter (bass)
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Hans Cleuver (drums on 09.)
Martin Dresden (bass on 09.=
Mike Vernon (background vocals on 01.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Round Goes The Gossip (van Leer) 5.14
02. Love Remembered (Akkerman) 2.49
03. Sylvia (van Leer) 3.32
04. Carnival Fugue (van Leer) 6.09
05. Focus III (van Leer) 6.04
06. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! (Akkerman/Ruiter) 13.50
07. Anonymus II(van Leer/Akkerman/Ruiter/ v.d.Linden) 26.21
07.1. Anonymus II (Part 1) 19.28
07.2. Anonymus II (Conclusion) 7.30
08. Elspeth of Nottingham (Akkerman) 3.11
09. House Of The King (Akkerman) 2.51

LabelD1

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USBooklet