Thank you to Queenincornwall for this piece on the Jayfolk, as well as Jill Johnson for supplying the original photo's and information to that site.
Known variously as The Jays, Jay-Jays, Three Jays and then lastly the Jayfolk, Jill Johnson's folk group were close friends of The Reaction, and recorded and played live with them. Jill has very kindly supplied some information about their history as well as some delightful pictures.
The group started in 1964. I was 14. The first line-up was myself, my sisters – Janet & Jennifer (twins) and my best friend Sue Johnstone (later ran the Queen fan club for years with her sister Pat – then EMI…). We sang mostly at special events, hotels, concerts, etc. The folk club scene wasn’t really established at that time.
In 1967 and 1968 the Jayfolk played regularly at The Navy Arms in Truro and the Roseland Inn in Philleigh, as well as a variety of concerts, holiday camps and clubs. In the summer Roger (Taylor), with Reaction, ran a series of beach dances in marquees set up by Rik Evans. Reaction played the main set, and the Jayfolk would do the acoustic intermission. September 1968, Josie and Penny left for college. Sue and I continued the band – added a flute.
I was planning on joining Roger in London (he was at University), so I got hired by the BBC and was supposed to start working for them later that year. Then the JayFolk played a gig in Wadebridge where I met the Famous Jug Band and they recruited me for the band. Dumped the BBC offer, and I started playing with them in November ’68 (I think) and then we went on tour early in 1969.
This is an interesting advert because not only were Jayfolk apparently breaking up, but in the audience that night was Clive Palmer (ex Incredible String Band) who spotted Jill and asked her to sing with The Famous Jug Band. Although, at the time, she was only 17 within 6 months she would be touring with them and recording an album.