Thursday, May 19, 2011

(empo-tymshft) "Hocus Pocus" not by Focus

One of my favorite songs growing up was "Hocus Pocus" by Focus. It came out at roughly the same time as "Frankenstein," resulting in a double whammy of rock instrumental classics. I just checked to see if I had ever blogged about "Hocus Pocus" before, and it turns out that I did - way back in November 2003 when I first started the Ontario Empoblog.

There are several different edits of "Hocus Pocus," but all of them feature episodes of a guitar-driven chorus, alternating with excerpts of - well, whatever. Yodeling, scat singing, it's all there in its Nederlander glory.

Whenever you have a great song like this, the question always arises - is the song itself a good song, or is it only good because of the particular arrangement? Many songs work well no matter who sings them or how they are sung - "With a Little Help for My Friends" is a good example.

So what would happen if "Hocus Pocus" were arranged differently?

On Wednesday evening my niece was begging me to listen to the Cleverlys on YouTube, to hear their bluegrass take on Beyonce. (My niece, being unfamiliar with bluegrass, referred to the Cleverlys as a folk band.) But once I discovered that the Cleverlys had performed a bluegrass version of "Hocus Pocus," I had to hear that.

Well, yodeling certainly fits well with acoustic music - just ask Slim Whitman. And the scat singing works well in this arrangement also.

I wonder how many of the people listening to that Cleverlys performance were familiar with the original arrangement.

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