October 30th 1972 (II)

“went up Trev’s – borrowed Ummug. + In+Out of Focus”

… and it was the second part of today’s entry that proved my ‘issue’ was not with Focus but with that particularly bad pressed vinyl.

In & Out of Focus” was Focus’ debut album, originally released at the very start of the seventies. Several decades on there’s not a whole lot I can personally recommend from this album – it was never in my pantheon of “great Focus albums” – but the cut “House of the King” (which I seem to recall was used as theme music for a TV show – maybe a holiday programme?) certainly gave a taster of what the band were about, or more readily, what they would become. Prog-rock innovators.

Focus were formed by Thijs Van Leer, a classically-trained keyboardist & flautist from Holland. Alongside him – at least in the “recognised-as-classic” Focus line-up – were drummer Pierre Van Der Linden, bassist Cyril Havermans and the stylings of a certain Jan Akkerman, who, from that day to this, has always been considered one of the world’s best & technically-gifted guitarists.

I suspect I will have more to discuss about Focus in future diary posts. I’ll bet you can’t wait?!

Ummug refers to Pink Floyd’s 1969 album “Ummagumma”. This was a double album, one LP of which was a live set, the second featuring studio compositions by each of the (then) four members of the band.

This album has never been particularly considered a “good one”, even the band members themselves admitting it comes across as a bit of a “desperate release”. The live portion is very badly recorded (I can’t imagine I kept that half very long at all – it was/is very muddy and, at times, terribly incoherent) whilst the studio contributions are certainly nothing to write home about….

Except for one which I am going to highlight here, but ONLY because 36 years later I still recall it’s title with alarming precision….

Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict

… a peculiar composition consisting of little more than animal sound effects combined with Roger Waters’ synthesized voice looping and and out of itself in a vaguely gaelic manner. If you’ve never heard it before judge it for yourself!



Filed under 1972 Diary Entries

3 responses to “October 30th 1972 (II)

  1. 60splayback

    Share your views on “In and Out Of Focus”, though “Anonymous” and “Focus (Instrumental)” are wonderful tracks which indicate the way the band was heading.

    The TV show that used “House of the King” as a theme was “Don’t Ask Me”. Each week eccentric boffins such as Magnus Pyke and David Bellamy would answer viewers scientific questions.

  2. The most interesting thing with that Focus album was the cover which wasn’t as in your picture, but as in the Web site link above (picture taken this evening). The dots on the cover gave an optical image FOCUS which went In and out of Focus as you tilted the album viewed from a distance. I remember somebody noticing this from across the room at school some time after I bought it…

    Ummagumma? Did you ever bring it back?

    • teenagerockopera

      Yes, now I remember that Focus sleeve. You’re right – the one I published was from the CD case and I had forgotten that optical illusion cover! So very very groovy – wonder if I could get a sleeve to frame for our wall?

      As for Ummagumma, I never owned it so yes you must have got it back. Cheeky!!

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