Related Reviews
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.'
more >>
nuvo.net
Live Review: 'She is simply, yet radiantly, a singer'
more >>
Nightlife Exchange
'There are many highlights and surprises in this profoundly original approach to Dylan.'
more >>
Cover Me Songs
'A dusky gem.'
more >>
GQ
'...the best album I've heard.'
more >>
Broadway World
'Jungr doesn't just interpret Dylan songs, she re-imagines them'
more >>
New York Theater Examiner
'The arrangements and interpretations are unique and lovely, heart wrenching, funny and satirical'
more >>
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.'
more >>
The Examiner
'This gal is a most unique experience you'd want to have.'
more >>
The Times
4 Stars
'[Barb] teases out every nuance in a Dylan lyric as she reshapes it to her own ends.'
more >>
Halesowen news
"...Barb is at her most affecting..."
more >>
Theater Scene
Cabaret Roundup: Best of 2011: "Her performances have become iconic."
more >>
John Shelton Ivany Top 21
'One of the greatest albums of the year.'
more >>
NY Theatre Wire
'...Jungr's inspired interpretations of Dylan's songs make her performance electrifying.'
more >>
The Martin Report
"...she has emerged as one part educator, one part icon"
more >>
Times Square Chronicles
'A righteous revelation'
more >>
Times Square Chronicles
"...Jungr doesn't just interpret 13 Dylan classics, she re-imagines them"
more >>
Cabaret Scenes
"Jungr knocks it out of the park..."
more >>
Woman Around Town
'Barb's enthralling'
more >>
Cabaret Confessional
She is dazzling...a phenomenal master song interpreter and stylist.
more >>
Wall Street Journal
"She sings with a passion and tenderness that not even Mr. Dylan himself could have imagined"
more >>
NY Culture
"...the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far"
more >>
Wolf Entertainment Guide
'It is exciting to savor what Jungr does with Dylan"
more >>
New York Times
"Barb Jungr delivered a fiery personal tutorial on Mr. Dylan"
more >>
New York Post
"Bob Dylan's songs are a-changin' when Barb Jungr tries them on."
more >>
The Village Voice
Bob Dylan Gets The British Female Treatment! Fab!
more >>
Cabaret Scenes
'At full throttle, she's enthralling.'
more >>
The Art of the Torch Singer
'...Jungr pursues the truth in the lyrics with a spirit of adventure and a musicality that is always intriguing...'
more >>
remotegoat.co.uk
5 Stars
'...Barb Jungr who eclipses them all.'
more >>
Liverpool Daily Post
'She is a brilliant interpreter of contemporary songs.'
more >>
Liverpool Echo
'A CD landed on my desk that I just couldn’t stop playing...'
more >>
threeweeks.co.uk
'Barb Jungr was joined on stage by Simon Wallace on the keys in an absolutely captivating cover of Bob Dylan.'
more >>
Dark Chat
4½ Stars
'No-one should be surprised by her ability to inhabit a song and turn a perennial favourite upside down and inside out with a great arrangement...'
more >>
The Independent
4 Stars
"Except for Dylan himself on a good night, this is the best way to hear his songs."
more >>
TimeOut London
'...one of the strongest voices in international cabaret performance.'
more >>
The American
"What Jungr brings to the songs is a forensic skill at unpacking the poetry married to great musicianship."
more >>
Jazzwise
"If you've yet to enter Barb Jungr's musical universe, then this paean to Dylan is just about the perfect place to start."
more >>
Record Collector
5 Stars
"...her own voice and delivery is unique..."
more >>
The British Theatre Guide
'...imagine a smoky, powerful, jazzy, gospel mix...'
more >>
O's Place Jazz Magazine
'When she hits it right, Jungr strikes gold.'
more >>
Herald Scotland
'Jungr sings Dylan's words quite beautifully, which the man himself, well, can't.'
more >>
Choice Magazine
'...proving not just what gifted interpreted Barb Jungr is, but the timeless, infinitely malleable, nature of the songs themselves.'
more >>
The Sunday Times
4 Stars
'...the musicianship is never less than first-rate.'
more >>
The Independent
"her deconstructed jazz takes...allow new slants to seep into the songs"
more >>
BBC Online
"As a Dylan interpreter, Jungr is right up there with Simone or The Byrds."
more >>
Cabaret Confessional
'...superb interpretations that deliver every song's story in the most unexpect ways.'
more >>
6moons.com
Blue Moon Award: '...[Barb] found new and unexplored depth.'
more >>
Slipped Disc (Norman Lebrecht's Blog)
'Far better to sample Barb Jungr’s sophisticated re-interpretations of Dylan classics, with supple vocal and sensitive instrumentation.'
more >>
London Jazz
...a delicious mixture of tones and colours
more >>
In Tune
...warmhearted celebration
more >>
Girl Singers
"...this recording takes Dylan's work to some surprising new places, and is very highly recommended."
more >>
Record Collector
'So persuasively did Jungr inhabit the songs that...one entertained the thought that she might have understood them better than their author.'
more >>
The Stage
'...never ceases to amaze.'
more >>
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.
more >>
Newbury Today
...as good a set as we have heard
more >>
The Stage
startling for both its emotional intensity and rich musicality
more >>
Jazz Times
Jungr navigates the soft-flowing tide of Ray Davies' title tune with wistful contentment
more >>
Variety
Wider Stateside recognition is in order.
more >>
Record Collector
Another side of Barb Jungr
more >>
Jazzwise
Beeline time.
more >>
Daily Telegraph
her version of Waterloo Sunset shines out
more >>
HiFi News
you're in for a treat
more >>
3WBC 94.1 FM, Melbourne, Australia
What could be better than this album
more >>
Jazz Review
unrivalled for her ability to inhabit a song's emotional world
more >>
Mojo
Jungr knows a good song when she sings it
more >>
The Times
The thinking person's cabaret singer
more >>
Jazz at Ronnie Scott's
Jungr confirms her reputation as a peerless interpreter of the classic modern song
more >>
Jazz Views
her command of expression earns her a place in this super-league of female singers
more >>
O's Place jazz Newsletter
4 Stars
12 classics sung with great emotion
more >>
HMV Choice
This CD should both satisfy Jungr fans and surprise Dylan diehards
more >>
Mojo
The kind of voice that many more should get around to hearing.
more >>
Amazon.co.uk
An intriguing outing into Dylan territory.
more >>
The Guardian
(A) haunting collection of 15 Dylan numbers.
more >>
Jazz Views website
Jungr is one of the most talented current British female singers.
more >>
The Times
Jungr's sensual performance casts the songs in a fresh light.
more >>

Barb Jungr - Live at St James's Theatre, London - This Is Cabaret


26 July 2013
This Is Cabaret
Johnny Fox

Barb Jungr is quite a challenge to reviewers. With sixteen highly-applauded albums under her belt, endless five-star and superlative commendations, and an accolade from the Wall Street Journal that her 2002 Dylan compilation Every Grain of Sand was already ‘the most significant vocal album of the 21st century' you might expect such acclaim to have gone to her head.

It hasn't, of course, she's too refreshingly Northern and down-to-earth for that, and she has a true artist's motive which drives her to give the same standard of performance in any venue, whether it's New York's high-toned Café Carlyle or, as last month, the foyer of the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch.

The intimacy of St James's Studio suits her well: she's like a table magician whose technical brilliance is even more stunning at close range but while you can see the rise and fall of her larynx and her superb control of the microphone you're still surprised with the outcome and can't understand how she does it.

And she does ‘do it' time after time in this cunningly contrived set based on the theme of "River" or rivers, or canals, or it doesn't really matter because even if she'd plucked sixteen disconnected songs from nowhere her wonderfully earthy, occasionally filthy and always self-deprecating narrative would stitch them together for you.

We start with a conversational Into The Blue Again before an hilarious anecdote about a Scouser interrupting her set at the Café Carlyle introduces Ferry Cross The Mersey at a pace slowed down to that of the sluggish muddy river itself and tenderized with pathos and meaning which surely never crossed the mind of Gerry Marsden when he wrote it fifty years ago.

There are several completely contrasting showcase pieces in this concert. The first is Ewan MacColl's Sweet Thames Flow Softly a tone poem which takes the London riverbank as both landscape and metaphor for a love story that doesn't quite work.  You sense this could also reflect Jungr's own personal experience: she has an empathy and a resonance with lost love that feels neither manufactured nor uncomfortable. When sung pp it's matched with effortless delicacy by Simon Wallace's piano.

Via meticulously well-done but more predictably riparian songs like Waterloo Sunset and Suzanne -which comes with the best anecdote of the night about Leonard Cohen and a madwoman in a Portobello hotel - we reach a barnstorming A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall whose lyrics Dylan said consisted only of the first lines of songs he'd never have time to write.  His version took eleven minutes with breaks for breath and to gather his thoughts but Jungr edits them out and belts it to the rafters as an angry and beautiful anthem.  Rapturous applause.  Interval.

The second half is no less strong, but you shouldn't need a further catalogue of numbers to encourage you to see this extraordinarily talented performer next time she passes through London. Particularly if you have any singing ambitions of your own, hers is a masterclass in how to do it without gimmickry, or attitude, and on one of the hottest nights of the year without even a sip of water or a bottle on stage.  Part nightingale, part camel.

But there's another setpiece that brings the event to a climax and the audience to its knees.  Jungr might well be expected to incorporate the odd Jerome Kern piece into her set - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, for example, being such a jazz standard, or A Fine Romance which seems purpose-made for women reflecting on late love.  But with kamikaze bravery, Jungr selects Old Man River, a song tensioned with the struggle against slavery, with black ethnicity, with Southern Baptist evangelism and with muscular, masculine pain.  That a pale white woman from Stockport can deliver it with more musicality, more rawsinewy strength and more beauty than Paul Robeson or Willard White is a triumph of virtuosity over material more breathtaking than anything you'll see in
London this year.  Or next.  Or possibly ever.

Clearly, there is nothing this woman cannot sing.  Perfectly.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Barb JungrBarb Jungr
Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob DylanEvery Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan
Man In The Long Black CoatMan In The Long Black Coat
Waterloo SunsetWaterloo Sunset