(Australian 1969 - 1976)
Anyone with an interest in rock music in Queensland in the early '70s will almost certainly be familiar with Railroad Gin. They formed in Brisbane in 1969 more as a jazz and blues outfit the band.
In the early days the band performed at venues such as "The Open Door", "The Red Orb" and "Quentins", a cellar disco opposite Centennial Park in Wickham Street Brisbane playing material like "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", the Beatles hit "You Can't Do That", and songs by Spooky Tooth, Santana, Albatross and Black Fox.
Geoffrey Fitzgibbon was the original lead singer with Railroad Gin. By day he was working at the same advertising agency as Carol Lloyd. Legend has it that he heard her around the office humming at about ten octaves above the average person and invited her to try out with the band. For the next few months she appeared on stage as backing vocalist for them every Sunday night at "The Red Orb", most times to an audience of 20 or so. On some of the slower nights they'd kill time with Dylan poetry readings and Carol, it seems, was quite fond getting out front to perform a noteworthy recitation of 'Rindercella'.
September 1971 is flagged as the first major gig for the band with Carol taking center stage as lead vocalist. At an open air concert presented as part of Brisbane's Warana Festival, Carol, in her own words was 'petrified'.
|Carol Lloyd and Railroal Gin, Gladstone 1970s|
Definitely one of the great triumphs in Railroad Gin's career is the incredible Rock Mass they performed with the Queensland Youth Orchestra in 1973 in front of 7000 people at St. John's Cathedral in Brisbane. Some weeks later they performed an interdenominational church service which packed a city fringe church in Brisbane's West End.
By late 1973 the band included Bob Brown (percussion), Gary Evans (Drums), Peter Evans (flute, brass), Dim Jansons (bass), Laurie Stone (keyboards) and Phil Shields (guitar). This line-up blazed many musical trails in their short time together. They were signed to an international record label, were pioneers of multi-track recording, performed Rock Masses, enjoyed number one singles and their Matter Of Time LP stands up as one of the great Australian releases of the era.
|L-R: Dim Jansons (bass guitar) • Laurie Stone (keyboards, brass, percussion) • Gary Evans (drums) • Bob Brown (percussion, brass) • Phil Shields (lead guitar, brass, percussion) • Carol Lloyd (vocals) • Peter Evans (flute, brass, percussion)|
This 1974 album captured the groove heavy rock that the group had become famous for while touring extensively throughout the East Coast and South Australia.
By September 1975 Carol, who had reportedly been having major throat problems, had decided to quit the band. Her replacement, if only by chance, was 19yr old session singer Judee Ford. Not long afterwards Lloyd cut another great LP with the Carol Lloyd Band. It was released internationally and sold well in Europe and South East Asia.
Gin's management had put an ad in the papers seeking a new vocalist but Judee didn't see it. Later, whilst she was talking to the drummer's brother over drinks, she mentioned that she had done some singing in a now defunct, straight rock 'n' roll band, Tramway. Gary Evans' brother took her phone number, the band rang her the next day, an audition was arranged and Judee Ford was consequently promoted into the band and stayed with them then until their demise in 1977.
Press releases for November 1975 triumphantly announced the signing of a new 3 year recording contract with Phonogram giving them a budget of $10,000 to record, package and promote their next album. During subsequent recording sessions the album was given the working title of "69,000 Hours" but by the time it was released in November 1976 most of the key band members had quit and it was given the more ominus title of "Journey's End". Unable to match the success of the 'A Matter Of Time' album and with such upheaval within the group it was fairly obvious that the end was nigh. The band headed south to Sydney around December of that year and was managing to get up to 3 nights work a week around the booming Sydney disco-bistro scene. It is believed the group disbanded not too long after.
Railroad Gin have a plaque on Queensland’s Walk of Fame on Brunswick Street in the Fortitude Valley along with The Bee Gees, Savage Garden, Keith Urban and Powderfinger. [extracts from ABC.net.au and Railroadgin.tripod]
|Carol Lloyd (left) with singer-songwriter Sue Ray|
Recently, Lloyd has thrown herself into her work as a mentor and producer for a number of younger artists, including Brisbane nouveau-classical band Topology and singer-songwriter Sue Ray (pictured above).
Lloyd is also 7000 words into a memoir about her time in the hedonistic rock world of the 70s and 80s, with Railroad Gin, The Carol Lloyd Band and other projects.
interview with Natalie Bochenski (reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald), Lloyd had this to say:
“I’m certainly going to give people a little window into certain aspects of my life which they’d have no idea about,” she said.
One aspect will be her drug and alcohol addiction, sparked by getting hooked on a bizarre drug cocktail in her early 20s.
“I had no idea what I was smoking ... it turned out to be mescaline-dipped, heroin-injected hash,” she recalled.
“I was doing this a couple of times a week for nearly a year, so yeah, I wasn’t in great nick.”
To withdraw, she turned to whiskey, consuming over two bottles a day.
“I didn’t expect to see 25, let alone 65, so I’ve done pretty well to be around this long.”
This post consists of a vinyl rip in MP3 format (128kps) which I found on the Internet some time ago, and have been searching for a better bitrate since. I'm posting this 'inferior' but quite acceptable rip because of a request I received recently. Full album artwork for both LP and CD are included. This is certainly a lost gem that needs to be circulated again. If anyone has a better quality rip, I would be very interested in hearing from you.
01 - Intro
02 - Turn To Me
03 - Once Or Twice
04 - A Matter Of Time
05 - Come Together
06 - Still Water
07 - African Queen
08 - Ruby Tuesday
09 - The End
10 - You Told The World
11 - Do Ya' Love Me
Railroad Gin Band Members:
• Bob Brown (percussion. 1971-1977)
• Carol Brown (backing vocals. 1974)
• Debbie Doak (drums. 1994-1997)
• Jim Dickson (bass. then with Deniz Tek from 1994)
• Gary Evans (drums. March? 1973-Oct 1976)
• Margie Evans (backing vocals. 1974)
• Peter Evans (harmonica.flute.sax. Sept? 1971-1977)
• Trevor Fielding (drums. 1971 - 1973
formerly with "The Theory")
• Geoffrey Fitzgibbon (lead vocals.multi-instrumentalist. 1970-1971)
• Judee Ford (lead vocals. Oct 1975-1977
formerly with "Paranova" and "Tramway")
• John Hunter (drums. 1969-early 1970's then with "The Wake"
and "Ash" and many others in Melbourne after that)
• Dim Jansons (bass guitar. 1969-Feb 1976)
• Sudz Jansons (keyboards.percussion. 1974
brother of bass player Dim Jansons)
• Carol Lloyd (vocals. 1971-1975)
• Frank Millward (cornet.piano. 1971-19….?
formerly with "Anthem")
• Paul Murphy (vocals. March? 1971 ...formerly
with the band "Thursday's Children")
• Glen Rickwood (guitar. 1970?-June 1971)
• Phil Shields (guitar. 1969-1977)
• Annie Stone (backing vocals. 1974)
• Laurie Stone (organ.sax. 1970-Oct 1976)
• Colin Wilson (drums. Oct 1976 formerly with "Wish")
• Selwyn Wright (drums. 1970 formerly with "Parade")
(thanks to railroadgin.tripod.com for this extensive listing)
Railroad Gin Link (44Mb)