My friends in the Dutch progressive rock band FOCUS have recently announced that they are to release an album of re-recorded classic tracks, entitled ‘Golden Oldies’. The band currently consists of two original members (Thijs Van Leer & Pierre van der Linden) + two new boys (Menno Gootjes & Bobby Jacobs). The band have been concerned that some of their die-hard fans will not take to these new recordings – some will undoubtedly say ‘What’s the point?’ I can understand that view to some extent – after all; can you improve upon perfection? And why would you want to? But there is a point: And the point is that the current band perform the classic pieces such as ‘Hocus Pocus’; ‘Sylvia’; and ‘House of the King’ live on stage to this day; so all they are doing is putting on record, that which we all love to hear at gigs anyway. It will be interesting to see how different these new studio recordings are compared to the originals; as it is not only the personnel that has changed in the last 40 years, but there has also been a revolution in instrumentation and recording technology. The band may have decided to change parts here and there too; so it will be interesting to see how the music has evolved over the years, with the input of Gootjes and Jacobs no doubt having a great bearing on this. I don’t think its a question of trying to improve on the originals; but of measuring the evolution of the band’s work. We will still have the original recordings to fall back to if the new album turns out to be a bummer! But it won’t – it’ll be another Focus classic!
Its nothing new to re-record classic albums anyway. Recently, CAMEL released a re-recorded version of their classic 1975 album ‘The Snow Goose’ – and a damn fine job they’ve done too. MARTIN TURNER’s WISHBONE ASH have also re-recorded the iconic 1972 album ‘Argus’. Again, a brilliant job. Comparisons with the originals are inevitable, but in both these cases the new albums are at least as good as their forebears in my opinion. Focus’ new offering will be too. So all we need now is for RICK WAKEMAN to get down the studio for a new version of ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’; and MIKE OLDFIELD to get the ‘Tubular Bells’ out again, and we’ll be right back in the prog-rock Heaven that was the early ’70s!
PS: ‘Hocus Pocus’ (presumably the old version) is to feature in the new ROBOCOP film!
VEEL SUCCES MET HET NIEUWE ALBUM, FOCUS! Phil The Music Quill