A lot has been written and a lot has been said, whispered, recounted, alleged, supposed and presumed. It’s all quite forgotten now and the songs remain the same, they remain a testament to Mary Coughlan’s seemingly timeless and endless talent. Her smoky, bluesy, boozy drawl has always been a seduction, no matter what the subject. The vocal marrying of sardonic wit, visceral rage, orgiastic between the sheets passion, the tenderest of sorrowful regrets; this is Mary’s talent. Regardless of the elements she chooses to manipulate with flawless ease, Mary’s voice has always been an unforeseen, sudden seduction. This is why she is so loved.
Throughout over 25 years of her quite extraordinary recording career Mary has drawn heavily from her legendary heroes; Billie Holiday’s grievous, teary outpourings, the husky flirtations of Peggy Lee, Van Morrison’s soulful wails, the defiant chanteusery of Edith Piaf. All are present and correct in her delivery. Even so, Mary, with her naked honesty makes every song her own; they belong to her and nobody else. Who else could possibly present “The Double Cross” or “Magdalen Laundry” or “The Ice Cream Man” with such dedication and effortless zeal?
Mary Coughlan appeared in 2018