Tuesday, August 19, 2008

focus on the house of the king

flautist, thijs van leer in london, 1974.

Enough. This will be the last of my Prog based nostalgic musings for a while, I promise.

Remember 'Don't Ask Me', the slightly smug popular science-based British TV show from 1974 that made "household names of Dr. Magnus Pyke and Professor David Bellamy" ? You don't ? Well let me jog your memory. The horrendously catchy theme tune was performed by a Dutch group called Focus, with a prominently featured flute solo so baroque it would make even Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson blush crimson.

focus live, 1973. the windmills of your mind.

Comprising keyboardist and flautist Thijs van Leer; guitarist Jan Akkerman; bass guitarist Martin Dresden; and drummer Hans Cleuver, this was from their debut LP. Focus went on to redeem themselves briefly in my eyes with the release of a collaborative effort in 1978 with the great P.J. Proby, "Focus On Proby", but will forever be associated with leather-elbowed tweed wearing Geography teachers as the result of "House Of The King". And more v-necked striped sweaters than you can shake a pointy stick at. Sod it, though, the last minute - give or take - contains some seriously good guitar courtesy of Akkerman. Believe me.

The tune was recently resurrected as the title music for Steve Coogan's BBC2 sitcom "Saxondale". Be warned. It's a godsend, too, to hear a Prog Rock track that comes in at way under 23 fucking minutes.

Written by Jan Akkerman. Actually, I rather love this tune. I'm relieved to have finally gotten it off my chest.

FOCUS: HOUSE OF THE KING from "In And Out Of Focus" LP (Polydor) 1970 (NL / UK)



Brushback said...

I'm not into the flute thing, but that "Hocus Pocus" song of theirs is actually kinda rockin', but for the yodeling.

ib said...

No, the flute would normally leave me stone cold but for some inexplicable reason on this one it works. Great percussive licks as well; hand-claps a-go-go!

Funnily enough, I'm never sure or not if I've heard "Hocus Pocus", but since it was such a big hit too...

yiristos said...

Brilliant!! Love ya work... Cheers.

ib said...

Glad you approve, Renrut. Thanks for the vote of support, and thanks too for leaving a comment. It makes a difference.