Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mary Coughlan

Mary Coughlan - Live In Galway - 1996 - Big Cat Records

Born in Galway, Ireland in 1956, her teenage years were dominated by drink, drugs and depression, quitting Convent school along the way - she even made a suicide attempt at 16. After various make-ends-meet jobs (waitress, nude model, street sweeper) she moved to England, living in a hippie squat for a time before marrying in 1974 and gaining three children before that marriage collapsed after seven years. Back home to Galway by 1984, she was living in squats again when she met Dutch musician Erik Visser, made a demo and came second in a Galway talent contest. By 1985 she was appearing on Ireland's top chat show - Gay Byrne's Late Late Show. Soon she was selling out concerts throughout Ireland, and her excellent debut album at the age of 29 sold 100,000 copies. End of all her problems? Hardly. "I had a bad manager and I got ripped off. I lost the house, the car, the record deal... I never seriously drank before the age of 29. It went against all my ideas, of child-rearing and so on. But I was in hospital 32 times and nearly died at one stage. Jesus, I was a compete alcoholic. For most of my 30s I was drinking three or four bottles of vodka a day. And tequila as well." Why? "I just was. There's the music and the business, people making a fuss over you, people dropping you, that's what happens. You just want to drink, it seems easier at the time. I just couldn't handle any of it. I was angry at everyone, angry at myself. Above all, I was angry, ready to blame everyone. I didn't take responsibility and a lot of people fucked me over. But it could have been worse. If I was dead you wouldn't be writing about me now. It's all okay and I've the builders in and all." After going into rehab in 1993, Mary has been sober, and gave Julia Roberts singing lessons for Michael Collins in 1996, the same year her exceptional live album Live In Galway was released. She continues to be a big draw at blues and folk oriented events, and blew everyone else off the stage at the Woman's Heart 2 tour when I caught her a few years back (and we're talking Mary Black, Sinead Lohan, Sharon Shannon here). As Q Magazine stated, "Mary Coughlan sings with a hard intelligence which binds spells.", and according to Mojo magazine, "she has a voice to kill for." © freeworld 1995 - 2008 [ www.kirstymaccoll.com ]

The great jazz blues singer, Mary Coughlan demands virtuoso, spare support that lets her work her phrases until they ring with character. This lady is one of the world's greatest blues jazz vocalists. Her voice has a unique jazz and blues-inflected timbre with a gorgeous Irish lilt to it. Her phrasing is immaculate, and her voice has a passion and sincerity that is a joy to hear. This album was recorded at the Roisin Dubh, Galway, Ireland in 1995, and there are no Celtic-folk clichés here. One of the great underrated vocalists of modern times, buy her great "Under The Influence" album, and check out her rare "My Bloody Valentine" promo CD @ MCOUGHLAN/MBV-PROMO


Laziest Girl - Cole Porter
The Beach - Erik Visser, A. Hensey
Hearts - Jacques Brel
Country Fair Dance - O'Beirne, G.
I Want To Be Seduced - Gary Tigerman
Ancient Rain - McCarthy, J.
Sweet Victim - McCarthy, J.
Not Up To Scratch - de Groot, B., Nijgh, L.
Just A Friend - Lambrecht, Schoovaerts, Schoufs
Blue Surrender - Long, D.
Magdalen Laundry - Johnny Mulhern
My Land Is Too Green - Erik Visser, A. Hensey
Delaney - Johnny Mulhern
Nobody's Business (Tango) - Everett Robbins, Grainger, P.


Mary Coughlan - Vocals
Conor Barry - Guitar
Brian Connor - Piano
Ciaran Wilde - Alto & Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet


Recorded in her native Galway in 1995, this live date was originally released in Europe a year prior to Coughlan's 1997 American debut, After the Fall; the Irish torch singer is in fine form throughout, her voice resonating with real pain and heartbreak on tracks like "Sweet Victim" and "Blue Surrender." The highlight is the devastating "Magdalen Laundry," based on a true story detailing the plight of a number of unwed mothers sent into exile by the Catholic Church decades ago. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide


Irish torch singer Mary Coughlan was born in Galway in 1956; after enduring a painful adolescence that included bouts with drugs and alcohol as well as a stay in a mental hospital, she relocated to London at the age of 19, living in a hippie squat. After several lean years of waitressing and sweeping streets, Coughlan returned to Ireland in 1974, where a chance encounter with Dutch musician Erik Visser helped point her towards a singing career; specializing in jazz and blues, she began slowly earning a reputation on the pub circuit, which resulted in a handful of television appearances. From there, she and Visser moved on to sold-out concert dates, and in 1985 Coughlan finally recorded her debut LP, Tired and Emotional, a major hit in her native land. A number of other records followed in the years to come, and she became a critical favorite throughout much of Europe; with 1997's After the Fall, Coughlan made her U.S. debut, soon earning a devoted following on American shores as well. Three years later, Coughlan issued the vibrant tribute album Sings Billie Holiday. Long Honeymoon appeared in spring 2001. © Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

Mary Coughlan was born on 5 May 1956 in County Donegal, Ireland, but grew up in County Galway. This acclaimed Irish singer's troubled upbringing manifested itself in an erratic career path, including stints as a model and a street-sweeper. After moving to London in the mid-1970s she married and began raising a family, before terminating the union and returning to Galway with her children. She began her singing career in 1984, working with Dutch musician Erik Visser (who became her long-term collaborator). The following year she made an acclaimed appearance on the Late Late Show and recorded her first album, which showcased her powerful and bluesy jazz stylings and became an unexpected bestseller in her native Ireland. Despite her ongoing personal problems, Coughlan continued to reap praise for her recorded output on WEA Records. On Under The Influence she revived the 1948 Peggy Lee hit Don't Smoke In Bed and the Billie Holiday ballad Good Morning Heartache, as well as Jimmy McCarthy's Ride On, which reached number 5 on the Irish pop charts in 1987. In 1988, Coughlan made her acting debut in Neil Jordan's High Spirits, and released Ancient Rain. Her fourth album, Uncertain Pleasures, was recorded in England with producer Peter Glenister, former musical director for Terence Trent D'Arby. It included new compositions by Mark Nevin (Fairground Attraction) and Bob Geldof as well as cover versions of the Rolling Stones Mother's Little Helper and the Elvis Presley hit Heartbreak Hotel. Coughlan began straightening her personal life out in the mid-1990s, and signed a new recording contract with Big Cat Records. The label issued an excellent live set and her United States debut, After The Fall. In June 2000, Coughlan presented a series of multimedia shows in Dublin celebrating Billie Holiday, a singer whose life story has close parallels to Coughlan's own. The best of these shows was collected on the wonderful Sings Billie Holiday. A new studio album was released the following April.