on March 22, 2006
Covers of pop standards use her characteristic rough-hewn, dry-and-sensuous torch style to find surprising unity in blues, boogie-woogie, disco, American popular song, and Randy Newman's songs. Mainly songs of loss. The band is up to it-tough, tight, and bluesy. She offers more smirk than suffering-is it ironic distance, a Broadway cabaret attitude too far from the street, or inattention? This leap into blues-based American material highlights that she is more Euro than American in spirit. She did not listen, with Van Morrison, to AFN. The hard darkness in her style is more Berlin than New York, much less Chicago. Her sax and piano players are not pure Euro, but they are too tight for the American blues or Southern church-little funk or swing; their grit is urban, not country. "Black coffee," one of the stronger cuts and a sort of centerpiece for the CD, drives these points home. Accept it! She's a cabaretiste first and foremost. Enjoy her Euro version of hard darkness. But do "Pull up to my bumper" and "Strange fruit" really belong on the same CD? [47:42]
on November 14, 2012
My wife and I were in Kinsale, a wonderful place to spend some time, sort of like Annapolis in Maryland, and I got to hear Mary sing some of her songs from Red Blues. When we made it to Dublin I couldn't find her album but put it on my list to seek out back in the states and we find her music delightful.