When the SouthCoast Belonged to Couto & Mulligan
At another time, they may have been minstrels, bards, troubadours or even court jesters, but for decades Couto & Mulligan wandered the SouthCoast and beyond, entertaining the masses as they went.
They had a legion of loyal supporters that traveled right along with them.
New Bedford's Michael Couto and Boston's William "Bill" Mulligan were everywhere in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Myrtle's Turtle, Fiddler's Green Irish Pub, Bunraddy's Irish Pub, The Portsmouth Ramada Inn, Billy Wood's Wharf and Louie's on the Wharf, to name a handful.
They were huge during New Bedford's Irish Pub craze of the 1980s.
Couto & Mulligan highlighted area festivals, filling in once for an ailing Don McLean, drawing some 20,000 people to New Bedford's waterfront. They played the Schamonchi here and in Florida and played Boston, Newport, the Cape, and more.
Couto & Mulligan met in the 1960s while students at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. They became part of the folk quartet Country Squires before later branching out as a duo.
Couto taught math at Bishop Stang and New Bedford High School and took photos for the New Bedford Standard-Times. Mulligan attended a seminary with thoughts of becoming a priest. After two years, he chose music instead and taught at New Bedford's Mt. Pleasant Street School.
Couto wrote some of Couto & Mulligan's most popular material, including "You Know Its Love," "Callahan's Still Awake" (inspired by my mother), "Summertime in New England," "Feeling Better Than Ever," "Show Me All the Ways," and "Gravy."
In 1999, Couto retired from performing music, but it didn't last. He continued to write material and before long he was performing again at Fay's, The Bayside, Naples, Florida, and elsewhere. In 2007, Couto & Mulligan reunited.
On July 3, 2015, Bill Mulligan passed away. He was 72.
Mike Couto was devastated by the loss of his long-time friend and partner but continued to write and perform. At 79, Mike and his wife Jo-Ann winter in Florida.
Some of Mike's original music is available online on platforms including Apple Music and Spotify.