(c’88-’92) Tim Keegan (vocals/rhythm guitar), Duncan Smith (vocals/guitar), Liz Waller (piano/keyboards) and David Ashford (bass).

Duncan Smith, Simon Barker and Tim Keegan at the Railroad Earth session, University of Surrey Recording Studio, c’88/89

Many of the members of Railroad Earth met at their alma mater, the University of Surrey, and the band formed in Guildford, Surrey in ’88. Late that year or early in ’89 they recorded a 3 track demo that included “June” and “Rosemarie”, ably aided by Duncan Hannant, at the university’s recording studios; with Mike Jefferies on drums and Mark Edwards providing violin on “Rosemarie”.

Jo Barlett booked Railroad Earth to support McCarthy on their return visit to the Buzz Club at Aldershot’s West End Centre, along with The Ha Ha Men; drawing in about 150 punters between them. Later in ’89 the double A side 7″ debut vinyl pressing appeared featuring both “June” and “Rosemarie” and later that year the organizers of Fresh described them as “zippy up-tempo manic dance folk rock”.

The Fresh club night in question saw Railroad Earth headline at the Bull & Gate, Kentish Town with The Happy Few, and The Proles supporting on 27 October ’89. From early ’90 AGMP promoted the band in the UK and toured them in Europe. The band returned to the University of Surrey’s Student Union Lower Bar in early November ’90, and played the University several more times. A second demo appeared in 1990, once again recorded at the University of Surrey’s studio, but this time with Ken Blair working the desk. “June” appeared again, but this time alongside “Have You Always Been Like This?”, and “World Turned Blue”.

A headlining gig at Flicks, Guildford in February ’91 saw Farmhouse Bread and Scotch open for Railroad Earth to a small crowd of committed gig goers who were undeterred by deep snow. The University of Surrey’s Fun Fest ’91 had the band joining The Flowerpot Men, The Ha Ha Men, Redwood, and Trousershock BC for an outdoor concert at Surrey Court student residence on 22 June. A highlight of ’91 for the band was their appearance on the Mean Fiddler Stage at the Reading Festival on 23 August. The following month they we up in London supporting The Hit Parade, with Scarlett, at The Square, Harlow. They were back again at the University of Surrey in October ’91 for First Friday Fling, part of the Student Union’s Intro Week for new students; and opening for Ray Gelato and His Giants of Jive.

Back at UoS again in May ’92, this time supported by Trousershock BC – who are no strangers to the University themselves. The Grand, Clapham Junction hosted the band on 10 July ’92 as they, and Huge Big Massive, supported Diesel Park West. Then, in late ’92, Railroad Earth changed their name to Ringo.

After Ringo, Keegan was the vocalist with Departure Lounge and went on to record and perform with numerous bands, working with Robyn Hitchcock, and playing guitar on The Blue Aeroplane’s “Rough Music” LP.


Have You Always Been Like This – https://soundcloud.com/wokingsoundscene/have-you-always-been-like-this-railroad-earth-live