Mike Silver (Guitar/Vocals)
Steve Hayton (Lead Guitar/Mandolin/Vocals)
Chrissy Quayle (Vocals/Guitar)
Tony Carr (Drums/Percussion)
Spike Heatley (Bass)
Chrissy Quayle was born in Midlands, but as teenager was moved to Cornwall by father who was a writer. The family purchasing a house out on the cliffs in Zennor, near St Ives. Being a teenager Chrissy soon became immersed in the bourgeoning hippy scene that was thriving in the county.
By 1968 she had set up a folk club, which was running in a barn adjoining the Gurnard’s Head Hotel in Zennor, running every Friday night. Known as the ‘Mermaid Folk Club’ the venue was soon attracting both local and visiting folk artists, as they made their way around the county and was running three nights a week. The club took its name from the nickname given to Chrissy. She was affectionately called the ‘Mermaid of Zennor’ after the popular local legend.
Gurnards Head Hotel
Chrissy came to the attention of the Job Morris of Sentinel Records, who was in the process of setting up the record label and was looking for recordings for his first release. She entered the label’s ‘studio’ in Paul, near Marazion, which was located in the old school house in the village and sang her own composition “The Seagull’s Scream”. After some seagull overdubs from the label this would appear on Sentinels first release “Sounds Like West Cornwall”.
Chrissy Quayle - The Seaguls Scream
Chrissy would continue to perform on the thriving Cornish folk scene and around 1969 would perform with Temple Creatures, a band formed by Clive Palmer after leaving the Famous Jug Band. Clive had been a regular on the Cornish folk scene for much of the 60’s and formed COB after the short lived Temple Creatures folded. Chrissy was invited to sing back up vocals on the title track of COB’s debut LP, Spirit of Love.
C.O.B - Spirit of Love
Mike Silver was located in Croydon when he joined his first band, The Sundowners, playing instrumentals and pop hits. After a couple of years with the band he would be invited to joint Glenn Athens and the Trojans, who at the time were one of the biggest beat groups in the Croydon area. The band won the 1964 Surrey Beat Contest and with it the opportunity to make a record. The band recorded and EP, which was pressed in small numbers and sold locally.
Glenn Athens & The Trojans - Let Me Show You How
After leaving Glen Athens Mike formed The Light with fellow Ex-Trojans, who were very much in the Blues mould. Taking influences from the old blues singers like Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Big Bill Broonzy, as well as Dylan Mike was starting to move away from rock and roll. He would also start to write his own material. After witnessing Gerry Lockran at a Canterbury Folk Club Mike would become enraptured with Gerry’s acoustic finger picking style and made the decision that this is the musical direction he wanted to go in. After touring professional mike ended up in Jersey looking for work, it was here were he became friends with Gerry Lockran who would invite him to tour with him around the West Country in 1967.
As well as learning his trade he would also come into contact with Brenda Wootton who was a hugely influence figure on the West Country music scene. The folk scene in Cornwall was thriving at the time with folk clubs springing up all over the county, mostly notably the Folk Cottage in Mitchell and Brenda’s Piper’s Folk Club in Penzance. While touring with Gerry in 1967 he would line up his return gigs to the county in 1968.
Mike was splitting his time between London and Cornwall, and it was on one of his Cornwall trips in 1969 that he struck up a friendship with Chrissy. Mike was asked by Henry Bartlett to take up a residency at his newly opened folk club at the Rainway Hotel in Penzance. The 7 nights a week club would see Mike playing alternate nights with a local jazz band. When not playing at the Railway Hotel he would play 2 nights a week at Chrissy's Mermaid Folk Club.
The pair struck up a friendship and the seeds of what would become Daylight were formed. Just prior to forming Daylight Mike teamed up with Mike Beason and put out the incredibly rare LP ‘The Applicant’ on Fontana.
Steve Hayton was an American who in the mid-60s had played bass and sang with Burlington, Vermont garage band The Vistas. The Vistas were one of the main bands in the Burlington teen scene, with a strong local following. They released a couple of 45s on the local Melbourne label.
The Vistas - Don't Know
After The Vistas Steve relocated to the West Coast and moved away from rock into folk. He could be found demonstrating his finger picking skills performing raga’s outside of San Franciscan Indian Restaurants. In 1968 he would form Daddy Longlegs, a country/folk/rock outfit who were often compared to The Band. After working throughout the US they would relocate to the UK. The original line-up released their s/t LP on Warner Brothers in 1970 and followed this up with Oakdown Farm, on Vertigo shortly afterwards.
Daddy Longlegs - Wheeling and Dealing (From Oakdown Farm)
In late 1969/early 1970 Daddy Longlegs were on a tour of Cornwall, which brought them to the Winter Gardens in Penzance. Mike and Chrissy went along to see the band and struck up conversation with Steve afterwards. The band was on verge of folding. While they were much in demand at the time and a popular live draw, also making radio and TV appearances, they would fail to get the al important break they needed. Having tasted success in the UK Steve was keen to remain there and not return to the US. Mike, Steve and Chrissy would get together after the show in Penzance and struck up a friendship. They were soon jamming together and gelled well, so decided to make a go of it as a band.
While Daylight formed in Cornwall they would soon relocate to a London, finding themselves a flat on Ealing Broadway. The trio were very nearly homeless however when they fell victim of an unscrupulous con artists who had also promised the flat to somebody else, who arrived unannounced expecting to also move in. Thankfully they had got there first and remained in situ. With the landlord having done a bunk they also enjoyed the delights on rent free living for a while.
The three piece of Steve, Chrissy and Mike began writing and rehearsing songs and putting together what would eventually become the Daylight LP. Tim Sharman had been managing Daddy Longlegs and just returned to England after a year off in France after the break up of the band. On his return to the UK the band had worked up a number of songs and Steve invited Tim around to their new flat in Earl’s Court to hear some of the songs. Tim was impressed enough with the band to take them managerial duties for the band and began to hustle for gigs and a record deal.
The band were passionate and serious about what they were doing, so understandably had some slight concerns over who they would work and how much control they would be allowed. After recording a demo tape a deal was secured with RCA and with sufficient material ready a producer was sourced in the form of Tony Cox. Tony had previously worked Family, Caravan, Fotheringay and Tir Na Nog, so had excellent folk rock credentials. Recording sessions were lined up in Sound Techniques in Chelsea. Sound Techniques was an old converted dairy farm just off the King’s Road and had already recorded folk rock royalty such as Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, Incredible String Band and Pentangle, amongst many others, so was an obvious choice.
The three piece unit of Daylight require further instrumentation to bolster their sound on both record and in a live setting, so Spike Heatley and Tony Carr were brought in to the band. Spike was a well renowned jazz bassist who was an in demand session musician, as well as having played with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and Tom Paxton. Tony had a similar background to Spike, having played in sessions as well as being a part of the CCS collective as well as playing on a world tour with Donovan. Both Spike and Tony were rooted in Jazz and at the time were looking to join bands rather than just undertaking session work. Spike and Tony either came to the attention of the band through Tony Cox’s contacts with session musicians or through Tim Sharman’s contacts in the jazz business, where both musicians regularly played.
The core of the band was the original three piece, with Spike and Tony bolstering the sound for studio and live work. Lyn Dobs (ex Soft Machine and Keef Hartley Band) was also brought in to provide flute on the opening track. Producer Tony Cox also contributed to the album, playing piano on ‘King of Trees’
Mike Silver was the main songwriter in the band and wrote the bulk of the material on the LP, much of which was written prior to forming the band. Chrissy would also provide the beautiful “How It Feels To Fall”, on which she also played guitar. It was a democratic process with each band member bringing their own songs, to be selected by goup agreement. The LP featured many influences ranging from folk, rock, Latin and was beautifully recorded with a Mike and Chrissy’s vocals blending well together. Steve would contribute two songs, Yes and Never Say Never as well as the funky Carry Me, which was a joint composition with Mike.
Overall the album had a great laid back feel, at times delicate, funky and folky. It clearly wasn’t rock enough to be folk rock, but was also too rocky to be classed as folk, something which perhaps didn’t help in finding a market. Long drum solos were becoming de rigour in rock at the time, but the one on Troubled Times sounds somewhat out of sorts with the rest of the album. Being a jazz man Tony Carr wanted to include a solo on the album and it cause some friction mostly with usually laid back Steve Hayton who didn't want it included. Some of the others in the band liked it, seeing it as an unexpected departure from the style of the rest of the LP. Tony had a wild temper and as the argument with Steve go more heated pinned him up against the wall. Everybody was shocked by the outcome, but Tony's temper was also quick to relent and soon everything was back to normal. The drum solo was kept it, but it was clear to all that even Tony didn't know quite where he was going with it and an edit can be heard just before the band comes back in.
While Spike was very laid back and professional, offering some good suggestions on how to work up the material, Tony could often been found trying to drive the project, despite not being an official member of the group.
How It Feels To Fall
Lady of St Clare
Never Say Never
Released around October of 1971 (RCA SF8194) The LP came housed in a foldout gatefold sleeve, designed by fashionable designers Hypgnosis. The sleeve itself found the designers, along with Chrissy, in a field with numerous mirrors that had been hired from Harrod's department store. A day which Chrissy remembers as being a complete nightmare!
With the LP ready to a lead off single was released, including the infectious and upbeat “Lady of St Clare” back with non-LP number “Wednesday People”, which was cut at the same sessions as the LP and originally intended as appearing on the album but time constraints restricted it. The single came out on RCA (RCA CA.2106) in the UK, as well as receiving a release in Spain and New Zealand (where it spent 4 weeks on the 2ZM playlist, peaking at no.37).
The LP was well received, but did not set the world alight. Record Mirror commented that “Some of the guitar is very good, but the vocals don’t seem to blend with the music very well. Certainly not a fantastic album”. However Sounds were more complementary said the band were “Possibly the best anonymous band in Britain at the moment” and that “you should make an effort to her this new band”.
There were some gigs around London at the time (as a three piece), including The Roundhouse and support slots with Edgar Broughton Band and The Move. Tim worked hard to secure high profile gigs, including support slots at the Festival Hall. However the band had yet to build up a solid fan base through grass roots gigs in small clubs, so there was some reluctance by promoters to put a fairly unknown band on a high profile bill. They would also play all the main folk clubs around the City, but never secured any gigs on the expanding festival circuit.
Tim also worked hard to move the band out of the folk pages of the music weeklies. In an age where rock were hair was getting longer and rock heavier folk was less interesting for the average teenager. Tim had successful worked in getting Al Stewart taken out of the main pages, but despite the electric backing Daylight would still be written about in the folk sections, which couldn’t have helped in garnering publicity. Without a steady income through either gigs or royalties they had to start looking elsewhere to bring in the money to pay the bills.
Sadly RCA didn not get behind the band. Once the LP had been released they found in increasingly hard to even contact the label, with phone calls and correspondance going unanswered. It was not uncommon for labels to write certain acts off as tax losses at the time, and the band wonder whether they were the victim of RCA playing the books.
The band wouldn’t continue for a while through 1971, but without the support of the record label and the lucky break they became fed up and called it a day, after being active for less than two years. Chrissy and Steve were in a relationship, and while this didn't impact on the demise of the band the pair drifted off doing their own thing.
Mike would embark on his solo career signing a deal with Elton John’s Rocket Label, where he released his Troubadour LP, which provided him with the opportunity to tour the States. Elton hated the record, calling it the 'most embarrasing thing I've ever heard' (He was reportedly fiercely jealous of anybody overshadowing him!)
The subsequent years would see him touring throughout Europe and working as a session artists, before returning to the UK to embark on a successful solo career, which he continues to this day.
Steve would remain in the UK for a while before performing with Julie Felix and later returning the US. Not being full time members Spike and Tony would return to the lucrative session work. Later in the 1970s Spike could be seen in the house band for Children’s TV show Play Away.
After the band folded Chrissy returned to Cornwall and got involved with the Footsbarn Theatre and the band Touch the Earth, and offshoot of the theatre that played 60s Rock & Roll (complete with winkle pickers and slicked back hair!). After this ended she joined Carol Mercer in Metro Glider, who were a mainly female band who played all over Cornwall as well as being popular on the London circuit. In 1980 they also recorded a ska influenced single on Racket Records, ‘Do it right’. Her next venture was playing with Kez Stone in Artistic Control in the early 80s. The popular were popular throughout Cornwall, even playing the Cornwall Coliseum. She began to take up flute and saxophone and formed Masque with Russell Roberts. Now living in London Chrissy continues for perform and record with Masque, playing Celtic and Latin influenced music. The band have released three albums and more information can be found here http://www.myspace.com/masquesongs
Producer Tony Cox would also play an important role in the Cornish music scene after he purchased the well known Sawmills studios and working as a producer there for several years.
After living for some time in Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 Steve Hayton sadly passed away.