Related Reviews
Kerk en Leven
„Vijftien jaar later komt dat iconische album opnieuw uit...”
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Bournemouth Echo
'She transforms songs you have known for years but always leaves the author's spirit intact...For Barb singing Bob is a revelation.'
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The Arts Desk
'...her clean enunciation allowing the songs' poetry to shine...'
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London Jazz News
'What a voice Barb Jungr has! It is gospel rich, with a vast vocal range, and her technique is flawless.'
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Bebop Spoken Here
'Dylan's songs are vocally invigorated by Jungr's combination of impeccable singing and the range of her emotional delivery...'
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London Jazz News
'I am impressed by the quality of the album, Jungr's singing is terrific, the band are great, the production is excellent...'
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BBC Radio Scotland 'The Jazz House'
'What a voice! Barb Jungr bringing new life into a song by Bob Dylan. Every Grain of Sand…It’s great to hear these songs sung from a totally different perspective, and with a very powerful female voice.'
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UK Vibe
4 Stars
'Above all else, the singer's love of Dylan's repertoire comes shining through...'
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This Is Cabaret
'Clearly, there is nothing this woman cannot sing. Perfectly'
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The Independent
'Jungr's extraordinary interpretations of songs such as "Every Grain of Sand" and "Sara" have seen her elected to an elite company of memorable cover artists.'
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nuvo.net
Live Review: 'She is simply, yet radiantly, a singer'
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Nightlife Exchange
'There are many highlights and surprises in this profoundly original approach to Dylan.'
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Broadway World
'Jungr doesn't just interpret Dylan songs, she re-imagines them'
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I heart the road
'Her voice is pure and holds that languid quality that have jettisoned stars like Colbie Caillat to Lana Del Rey to the top in recent years.'
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New York Theater Examiner
'The arrangements and interpretations are unique and lovely, heart wrenching, funny and satirical'
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NY Culture
"...the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far"
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The Independent
4 Stars
"Except for Dylan himself on a good night, this is the best way to hear his songs."
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Record Collector
'So persuasively did Jungr inhabit the songs that...one entertained the thought that she might have understood them better than their author.'
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
"Communicating real, heart-felt emotion is what this cabaret singer is all about."
more >>
Bebop Spoken Here
...I can only describe the experience as WOW! See her for yourself.
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Newbury Today
...as good a set as we have heard
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Variety
'Wider Stateside recognition is in order.'
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Bath Chronicle
'The 15 songs on Every Grain Of Sand certainly do work, particularly a wonderful interpretation of the Oscar-winning Things Have Changed done a a hybrid Eastern European tango.'
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In Tune International
'The songs when performed by Barb, take on new depth, and I defy anyone not to feel some degree of involvement with their emotional resonance...Barb's talent deserves a wider prominence...'
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Village Voice
'[Barb] gives the Bob Dylan and Jacques Brel canons readings as deep as or deeper than the original manufacturers'.'
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The Telegraph (Live Review)
'The English chanteuse Barb Jungr has created a sanctuary for tender passion, wit and soul-searching reflection. The warm radiance of her voice makes the material softer, stiller...heartfelt tracks [such] as If Not For You (1970) and What Good Am I? (1989) [are] given such heartfelt utterance.'
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The Sunday Times
Records of the Year: #7 'Some Dylan purists had their doubts, but the chansonnier Barb Jungr's bold reworking of his songs makes a fascinating journey. If you always admired Uncle Bob, but chafed at the voice, Jungr supplies the antidote.'
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The Telegraph
Year In Music Roundup: #10 'A jazz recording of Bob Dylan songs; it shouldn't work, but in a strange way, it does.'
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Jazz Review
'She projects the lyric, has great diction and a polished tone.'
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Q Magazine
'Her imperious take on the title track almost eclipses Giant Sand's definitive version.'
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Record Buyer & Music Collector
'"Not Dark Yet" [is] creeping up on me as the most significant track on a collection that, if there's any justice in the world, ought to elevate Barb Jungr beyond mere cult celebrity.'
more >>
HMV Choice
'This recording should both satisfy Jungr fans and surprise Dylan diehards.'
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Mojo
'The kind of voice that many more should get around to hearing.'
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Glasgow Evening Times
'Barb Jungr has an excellent voice, and there's no quibbling with her taste in Dylan.'
more >>
Amazon.co.uk
'An intriguing outing into Dylan territory.'
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Jazz Views website
'Jungr is one of the most talented current British female singers.'
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The Sunday Times
'[A] haunting collection of 15 Dylan numbers.'
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The Times
'Jungr's sensual performance casts the songs in a fresh light.'
more >>
Bristol Evening Post
'Barb unfolds each with devistating technique, while the band creates a chamber jazz sound that is elegant but edgy, passionate and respectful.'
more >>

Barb Jungr – Every Grain of Sand Live – Wales Arts Review


11 April 2018
Wales Arts Review
Kevin McGrath

Since recording Every Grain of Sand, an award-winning collection of Bob Dylan songs, back in 2002, jazz vocalist Barb Jungr, (she is occasionally labelled an alt. cabaret singer or a political chanteuse) has returned, time and again, to the Dylan Songbook for both inspiration and consolation. Such is her mastery of the Nobel Prize winner’s material, that the New York Times felt compelled to describe her latest re-imagining, Hard Rain (2014), as a work whose ‘ferocity and truthfulness demolishes every cover version you’ve ever heard’. The insight, emotional honesty and evangelical zealousness that Jungr brings to her interpretation of a writer whom she regards as the American Shakespeare is evident right from the moment that the Rochdale born singer takes to the stage of Cardiff’s intimate Acapela Studios (recently named the capital’s best independent music venue) and launches into a tempestuous version of Dylan’s Oscar-winning number “Things Have Changed”. Having livened up a rather anodyne crowd, there’s an immediate change of pace with a sultry reading of “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and an intricate medley of “If Not for You”, “Born in Time” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

Jungr, as you might expect of an artist who’s played every cool joint from London’s Ronnie Scott’s to Manhattan’s internationally renowned Jazz cabaret venue the Metropolitan Room, is a consummate professional. When her take of “Ring Them Bells” veers off track, she stops the song and slips seamlessly into a humorous anecdote about an embarrassing hospital visit during a heatwave in New York. Suffice to say, the legendary folk singer Odetta wasn’t best pleased that Jungr had turned up without phoning ahead! More often, however, Jungr’s between-songs patter is a means of illuminating the source material, serving to enrich the understanding of each concertgoer. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, introduced as one of Dylan’s ‘mean love songs’, is prefaced by an audacious attempt to psychoanalyse Joan Baez’s ‘churlish mood’ throughout D.A. Pennebaker’s classic documentary, Don’t Look Back. After a short discourse on the balance of power in the Dylan/Baez romance, Jungr comes down on the side of Baez, seeing her as the wronged party in the affair and having to endure a very public humiliation to boot.

Jungr is accompanied for the evening by pianist Jenny Carr, a classically trained musician with experience of working with a variety of appealing pop acts from Billy Ocean to Imelda May. Crucially, Carr was also part of the original Every Grain of Sand tour and has played on several Jungr records, most recently 2012′s Stockport to Memphis. Consequently, there is an easy-going vibe on stage, with Carr happy to play “straight man” to the irrepressible Jungr. The first of two 45-minute sets comes to end with a dramatic retelling of “Shelter from the Storm”, a tune arranged by Grammy award-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood. Jungr is happy to clue the audience into the pair’s initial meeting, where Hobgood, upon hearing that there were a clunky ten verses to tackle, suggested cutting the song down to size. Jungr’s response to such a sacrilegious request is instructive – ‘No. It’s Dylan. Every verse must be sung and in the right order for the song to have its full import’. In an amusing sidebar, Jungr explains that she still had to win Carr’s approval for positioning the tune as the finale to set one, correctly decoding her astonished ‘really?’ as meaning ‘over my dead body’!

It’s back breaking work to single out individual highlights from such a uniformly significant set of songs, but an engagingly animated “Blind Willie McTell” and a gloriously impassioned translation of “Chimes of Freedom”, introduced by Jungr as a song worthy, in its own right, of having won the Nobel Prize for its composer would surely be on any discerning devotee’s short list. Then again, the poised, poignant delivery of “What Good Am I?” was magical enough to fetch a tear to the eye.

The second set closed with a truly remarkable presentation of “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”. Although Dylan has long maintained that he wrote the song during the Cuban Missile Crisis, with each line representing a song that the singer felt he would never live to write, he had, in fact, performed the number at Carnegie Hall a month before the Cold War threatened to end in nuclear annihilation. Jungr spat out the lyric tonight with such a righteous rage, it was as if Armageddon had already happened and the audience at Acapela was holed up in a nuclear bunker, post-apocalypse, lamenting the dissolution of the human race. The encore, a crowd-pleasing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, again showcased Jungr’s perceptive phrasing and her singular talent for breathing new life and meaning into a venerable rock & roll standard. Tonight, its line ‘Mama, put my guns in the ground / I can’t shoot them anymore’, seemed to echo the courageous struggle of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students in their campaign to bring sanity to America’s gun laws.

Although Jungr has well over a dozen albums to her name, including interpretations of the music of The Beatles, Nina Simone and Elvis Presley, it’s to the songs of Bob Dylan that she is consistently drawn. Tonight’s mesmerising concert confirmed Jungr as an exceptional live performer and a singer truly worthy of the role that she’s taken upon herself as Dylan’s earthly messenger.


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Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan (Fifteenth Anniversary Edition)Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan (Fifteenth Anniversary Edition)