Focus (A-Z part #43)

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I brought my cassette version of the second studio album from Focus – Focus II (aka ‘Moving Waves’) on the strength of the 1971 release of ‘Hocus Pocus’. The tape version (pic above) sound a but dubious these days, but the vinyl, CD and digital versions are still going strong. And Hocus Pocus remains as fresh as it did 44 years ago!

Hocus Pocus is a ‘rondo’ – an alteration of the classic rock chord riff followed by varied solo verses all performed by Thijs van Leer. These include yodelling, organ playing, scat singing, flute riffs and whistling. Here’s the original in all its wonderfulness…

Fatboy Slim (A-Z #42)

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On Saturday 20 July 2002, Brighton was brought to the brink of disaster when 250,000 people attended a party on the beach hosted by local resident Norman Cook.

The free event – ‘The Big Beach Boutique’ – featuring Mr Cook’s alter-ego ‘Fatboy Slim’ was expected to attract 60,000. But word of mouth coupled with a rising heatwave saw wave upon wave of people descend on the city. The emergency services couldn’t cope, public transport ground to a halt and traffic on virtually every route in and out of the city was brought to a standstill. It was a truly memorable event!

Franz Ferdinand (A-Z Part #41)

One of the best gigs I went to in 2004 was Franz Ferdinand at London’ Brixton Academy. Playing to a packed house, Alex Kapranos and the band took us through most of their forthcoming self-titled first album, the stunning ‘Michael’ filling a full eleven minutes of the set.

Formed in Glasgow in 2002, the band have so far released four studio albums – the self-titled above in 2004, ‘You could have had it so much better’ (2005), the rather unimaginatively titled ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (2009) and ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words (2013).

Fat Freddy’s Drop (A-Z #40)

Fat Freddy’s Drop are a 7-piece outfit hailing from Wellington, New Zealand where they formed in 1999. They play a multi-genre style including diversities from Techno to Rhythm & Blues, Reggae to Jazz and Dub to Soul along with anything else that just happens to slip into the mix.

Here’s ‘Wandering Eye’ from 2006 to give you a taster…

Evanescence (A-Z #39)

Originally hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, Evanescence got together back in 1995 but didn’t release their debut album until 2003. But it was a wait worth every moment because ‘Fallen’ has gone to sell over 17 million copies worldwide, helped on more than a tad by the superb ‘My Immortal’, a song about a lingering spirit appearing after the passing of a loved one and whom will never, ever leave.

You can find ‘Fallen’ on Wind-up records.

En Vogue #37

The opening line for En Vogue’s massive 1992 hit ‘Free your mind’ – ‘…Prejudice. Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it?’ was adapted from a line originally used by David Alan Grier’s character ‘Calhoun Tubbs’ from Fox’s “In Living Colour”.

En Vogue are currently being sued for $310 million by Rufftown Entertainment for a breach of contract in 2010.