Focal Points (Rusholme)
Rob Young - Vocals
Les Brazil - Lead
John Edwards - Bass
Stuart (Macca) McDonald - Drums
Four-piece pop group from Rusholme, who were a Drifters-type soul/pop group.
I can remember seeing singer Rob Young "faint" on stage at The Pop Inn - not sure whether it was to "pull the chicks" or if they were short of numbers.
I can also remember their great paisley satin waistcoats - which I found out some years later had been ripped from the inside of someone's mum's jackets!
After Focal Points, members played in Pink Engine.
I was bass guitarist with Focal Points when we started as school boys pushing our gear to gigs on maccas (drummer) mums pram - till my brother Roy was talked into management (he had a transit van thro work). Roy did us proud - we got better work, did most of the Manc clubs, inc. New Century Hall, Belle Vue, Pop-inn. and all five Moss Bros clubs. I loved the Princess in Chorlton.
Roy gave up through work commitments and we bought a old Bedford van; we used to get gigs in Stoke. We used to borrow petrol from other cars. One night we didn't know trucks used diesel and the van never went again.
I think Rob left first. I went next got a better offer off a girl, that good I married her later. But still great days - great mates.
I was the lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist of The Focal Points and remember the great Manchester music scene of the sixties like it was only yesterday. We were 4 lads just out of school and ready to take on the world, or at least Rusholme and Moss Side for starters.
I have so many memories of driving to gigs in a beat up battle-ship grey Bedford van with fan messages written all over it (mainly from ourselves) but it looked good and we were on our way.
It's hard to remember all the venues but I can remember supporting Life 'n Soul at The New Century Hall and was saddened to hear of the passing of Clem (R.I.P.). Only the other day I passed the Dream Bar and remembered the many gigs at The Majestic Club - by the looks of it nothing has changed.
I can even admit to the odd occasion of doing a "James Brown" at some clubs, by pretending to collapse on stage with the girls going crazy for more - or so I thought.
Eventually our beloved van blew up when we put diesel in the tank half-way up the M6. I never did get round to thanking Roy Edwards for his unstinting support in getting us to and from gigs after that, so thank you Roy, I owe you a few.
After a while we went our separate ways but I enjoyed every minute of it and often think of the lads and wonder what they are up to now.
I followed a career in Banking but still continued gigging in cabaret clubs all over the North and Midlands, firstly with lifelong friend Graham Holt (ex-Round Cubes) and then with my brother Alan (ex-Dyleks).
Many of the venues of the 60s were still around in the 70s and it was great to go back to some of them like The Embassy Club, the famous Aintree Iron and Mr.Smith's.
Sadly most,if not all of the venues have now disappeared but old rockers are eternal and there must be thousands of people like me all over the world who remember the Manchester music scene of the 60s with fond memories and are proud to have been a part of it.
Rob Young - 21/1/09
Where are they now?
Bass player Les Brazil emigrated to Perth, Australia with band CHALICE and played in STEALERS, a top level cover-band in Melbourne, Australia, until a few years ago. Now manages a music shop in Melbourne. Jim Reno re-incarnated?
Singer Rob Young has retired after a career in banking.
Drummer Mac went over to Australia with Chalice for a time as road manager but is back in Manchester.