FEAR OF DRINKING – Live In Zurich (own label)

Live In ZurichThere was an Englishman, a New Zealander and several Canadians who met in Vancouver and formed a band. While I don’t altogether approve of their name, Fear Of Drinking were a pretty good band in the mould of The Pogues. They officially stopped live appearances in 2000 and Live In Zurich was recorded during their 1999 tour and thought lost until the mislabelled master tape turned up.

The Englishman is Tim Readman from County Durham who never lost his accent – at least on stage – and the New Zealander was his number two, Gerard Kerr. Revellie Nixon played drums, Brendan Mooney played bass and fiddlers Tom Neville and Victor Smith did the melodic stuff.

The set opens with ‘Blackleg Miner’ which segues into ‘Aftermath (The Mining Rant)’ a viciously political song by Readman – he returns to the same topic later with ‘The Seaham Song’. Gerard’s songs are rather less confrontational and I’m sorry I don’t know the story behind ‘Flanagan’ but he also does something unheard of; slowing down ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’, at least for the first verse. The other songs are crowd-pleasing stomp-alongs, ‘Botany Bay’, ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ and ‘New York Girls’.

The only problem with this album is that it’s too short – I’m guessing from available information that it was a festival set – so the nine tracks here are probably all there was. It’s good to have Live In Zurich though as the band’s other albums are largely unavailable.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: http://timreadman.com/

Tim Readman sings ‘Blackleg Miner’ live on TV: