Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mary Coughlan

Mary Coughlan - Long Honeymoon - 2001 - Evangeline

Long Honeymoon: Or what Mary did after her Billie holiday. The premise, like most good ones, is simple in conception, if not execution. Put Ms. Coughlan – possibly our finest interpretive singer – in the studio with Tom Waits’ arranger/bassist Greg Cohen, supply her with a programme of fine songs, back her up with the most professorial pros in town, and leave the whole thing to simmer. Coughlan and Cohen have approached standards like Rogers and Hart’s ‘It Never Entered My Mind’, Brown/Henderson’s ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ and Heyman/Green’s ‘I Cover The Waterfront’ softly but stealthily, with the singer’s trademark bed-headed delivery being offset by the chamber-pot symphonies of Louis Stewart, Myles Drennan, Peter O’Brien and other distinguished gentlemen of the bar. Of the latter day selections, Elvis Costello supplies a typically starchy title track, while Coughlan renders Bruce Cockburn’s killer ‘Blues Got The World By The Balls’ with just the right balance of spleen and ideal, inserting local colour (references to Phoenix magazine, the Indo and the Irish Times) for devilment. Less straightforward is a cute but queer remake of Lee ‘n’ Nancy’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ that suggests Harry Partch gone astray in rural Canton. By contrast, Gershwin’s ‘I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard’ is easier on the ear: Mary cast as an old ghost trapped in the rainy grooves of a 78. And let it be noted for the record, anyone who can get the phrase ‘Bachelor’s Beans’ into a sawdust-encrusted version of Waits’ ‘Lucky Day’ deserves a six figure grant from the Arts Council. Or at least a few bob for product placement. Strange fruit. Tastes good. © Peter Murphy, 10 May 2001 © Hot Press 2012 http://www.hotpress.com/music/reviews/albums/Long-Honeymoon/567431.html

The great Irish jazz blues singer, Mary Coughlan demands virtuoso, spare support that lets her work her phrases until they ring with character. She is one of the world's greatest blues jazz vocalists of modern times, but is still very much underrated. 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 real soul and a passion and sincerity that is a joy to hear. This lady knows through personal experience exactly what she is singing and talking about. She is a lady who cares about humanity, and is never afraid to voice her opinion. The title track was composed by Elvis Costello and is on his 1982 Imperial Bedroom. "Long Honeymoon" is HR by A.O.O.F.C. 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." Search this blog for related releases and buy her great "Under The Influence" album. [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 98.8 Mb]


1. It Never Entered My Mind - Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart 2:56
2. The Thrill Is Gone - Lew Brown, Ray Henderson 4:20
3. The Long Honeymoon - Elvis Costello 3:46
4. Detour Ahead - Lou Carter, Herb Ellis, John Freigo 4:08
5. Charlie - Mary Coughlan, Johnny Mulhern 3:01
6. I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard - George Gershwin 2:55
7. These Boots Are Made For Walking - Lee Hazlewood 3:59
8. Dark Clouds - Allen Boretz, Walter Samuels 3:46
9. Maybe You'll Be There - Rube Bloom, Sammy Gallop 3:30
10. Blues Got The World - Bruce Cockburn 3:59
11. I Cover The Waterfront - John W. Green, Edward Heyman 4:05
12. Lucky Day - Tom Waits 3:10


Mary Coughlan - Vocals
Louis Stewart - Guitar
Conor Brady - Guitar, Kora
Robert Malone - Acoustic Guitar, Bass
Greg Cohen - Double Bass
Peter O'Brien, Justin Carroll - Piano
Myles Drennan - Piano, Drums
Drums, Percussion - Wayne P. Sheehy


Mary Coughlan (born 5 May 1956, County Galway, Ireland) is an Irish jazz and folk singer and actress. She has received great acclamation in her native country, for her emotional and heartfelt jazzy musical renditions. Coughlan was born in County Galway, Ireland (her father was a soldier from County Donegal). She was the eldest of five and had endured a very erratic youth. She left convent school and started drinking alcohol and taking drugs at just 15. At this age she spent time in a mental hospital. After time in hospital and a belated graduation, Coughlan decided to leave home. In the mid-1970s, she moved to London, UK, where she married Fintan Coughlan and had three children. However, in 1981, she left her husband and took custody of her children. In 1984, Coughlan moved back to Ireland, to her hometown of Galway. It was on her return to Ireland, when Coughlan started to perform in public, and soon was noticed by Dutch musician and producer Erik Visser. Visser, whose band Flairck were very popular in Europe at the time, helped Coughlan to record her first album, Tired and Emotional. Visser would go on to become her long-term collaborator. The album sold an unexpected 100,000 copies in Ireland, partly due to a memorable appearance on The Late Late Show. Despite her ongoing personal problems, Coughlan continued to reap praise for her recording output on WEA. On Under the Influence (1987) 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. 1988 was another successful year for Coughlan, she made her acting debut in Neil Jordan’s High Spirits, and released her third studio album Ancient Rain. Despite her success, Coughlan lost her record contract with Warner Music Group. However, in 1990, she signed up with East West Records and released her fourth album Uncertain Pleasures , recorded in the UK and produced by 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 covers of the Rolling Stones’ "Mother’s Little Helper" and Elvis Presley’s "Heartbreak Hotel". After receiving treatment for her personal problems, it seemed as though Coughlan had landed on her two feet once again. Sentimental Killer (1992) and Love for Sale (1993) were received well. In 1994, Coughlan lent her vocals to the hugely popular A Woman's Heart Vol.2 album, along with the likes of Mary Black and Dolores Keane. Coughlan released her first live album, Live in Galway, and released another studio album in 1997, After the Fall, which became her American debut. In June 2000, Coughlan took another turn in her career when she presented a series of elaborate multimedia shows in Dublin and in London celebrating Billie Holiday, a singer whose life story had parallels to Coughlan's own. The best of these shows was collected on the Mary Coughlan Sings Billie Holiday album. A new studio album was released the following April 2001, entitled Long Honeymoon, and another in 2002, Red Blues. The 2000s saw the release of numerous Coughlan compilation albums and her appearance on the RTÉ reality charity show, Celebrity Farm. The release of her most recent offering in 2008, The House of Ill Repute, sparked reviews that suggested it was her best yet. She has also taken part in the Sanctuary album with Moya Brennan. After her success in the mid-1980s with Tired and Emotional, Coughlan was dealing with serious mis-management in relation to her career. It was so bad that she ended up losing her car, her house and her recording contract with WEA. As a result, she started to drink very regularly and was hospitalised over 30 times. Despite minor success with her acting and her music during this period, the public was more interested in her personal turmoil. Due to treatment she received, she recovered in 1994 and found a new partner, Frank Bonadio, with whom she had two more children, bringing her total to five. A public spat with singer Sinéad O'Connor ensued over Bonadio's affections. Coughlan’s public stance concerning the topics of abortion, and the role of women in Irish society in general, are marked by brutal honesty and frank criticism.


For Mary there will always be two falls. The first happened in Mesopotamia about 5000 years ago, we are told. The second happened in a sea-front house in Bray, near Dublin, around 1994. In the first, Eve was expelled from Eden for her sins and women have borne the brunt of it ever since. In the second, a heavily pregnant and very drunk Mary Coughlan fell onto her kitchen floor in a stupor, a piece of bread and butter plastered to her unconscious face. That was how her husband and three children found her when they returned from shopping. The next night Mary was taken to hospital where she miscarried. And she has borne the brunt of it ever since. But this is not why Mary Coughlan is the greatest female vocalist these islands have ever produced. It’s not even why she stands alongside, or even between, the bruised, battered but unbeaten giants of jazz chanson on both sides of the Atlantic, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf. Mary Coughlan is the only singer these shores have produced to rival the greatest of European cabaret and American jazz club blues because of one thing: her voice. She is unique in blending the whisky-blurred, smoke-seared, husky notes and laconic wit of Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee and the line of deep, down and dirty blues singers back to Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith with the sardonic, bitter-sweet defiance and despair of the Piaf chanteuse, born out of war, in the shadow of Brecht, at war with the world, men and finally herself. And Mary Coughlan enfolds it all in a delicious and unapologetic Irish drawl, sceptical, rueful, mournful and melting, ardent for love, all in one voice which wraps itself around Cole Porter and Jerome Kern, Elvis Presley and Joy Division, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and sails down that long river of blues that links the Mississippi to the Liffey in her magnificent Irish brogue. And the most remarkable thing of all is her quarrel with Ireland. She evidently detests the stage Irishry which persists to this day in Riverdance, U2 and The Corrs. But in her curt consonants, luxuriant plosives and Dub dipthongs she is nakedly Irish, Galway born, the daughter of a Donegal soldier and a Connemara woman. Yeats wrote, “Out of our quarrel with others, we make rhetoric. Out of our quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry.” Out of her quarrels Mary Coughlan has made some of the best music in these islands for twenty-five years. And it’s time she was applauded for that. In 1994 she went into rehab in Dublin and with her family’s support defeated her alcoholism and hasn’t taken a drink since. It’s understandable why Mary should feel so powerful an identification with Holiday. But that’s not what makes her the giant she is, someone who fills the sky alongside Holiday, Piaf, Lee, Fitzgerald, London, Vaughan, Washington. Music history is littered with performers and artists dead or defeated by drink or drugs. That is not what makes a singer great. Nor even the conquering of addiction, though that’s no mean feat, God knows. In 2001 Mary consciously identified herself with her musical inspiration in her liner notes to ‘Mary Coughlan Sings Billie Holiday’, a live recording of her homage show to Holiday staged in Dublin and London, ‘Lady Sings the Blues’. The resemblance was more than musical. Holiday was dead at 44, the age Mary did the show. Mary had been sober for more than six years after a murderous decade of drinking in her 30s, consuming bottles of vodka or tequila a day, which dragged her in and out of hospital more than 30 times, led to the death of her unborn child and almost killed her one night in intensive care where she needed tubes through her neck artery to feed her heart the drugs needed to get her through the night. A doctor was by her side throughout. Mary is our greatest female singer because over twenty-five years and ten albums she’s made the most grown-up, uncompromising, wholly personal and utterly universal music on either side of the Atlantic about what goes on between men and women. She has taken the classic standards of jazz balladry and the recent gems of rock and Irish song-writing, shaken them and offered them up anew, like jewels dripping from the deep, strewn on black velvet. She sings in the voice of the wrong and wronged woman and she makes us think what it is men make of women and what women have to do to make do. She has just one other forebear in the pretty pallid parade of British female pop artists, just one other woman whose bruised, haunted voice could find and enjoy the inconsolable longing and loss in a three minute pop song: Dusty Springfield. Or Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, to give her her real name. Born to an Irish Catholic family. Small world. © David Kelly © http://www.marycoughlanmusic.com/home.php#mary

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A.O.O.F.C said...