Barb Jungr - Man in the Long Black Coat - Liverpool Daily Post
09 September 2011Liverpool Daily Post
SHE'S one of the world's best respected interpreters of the works of Bob Dylan. She plays to packed houses across America, with shows in New York, St Louis, Cleveland and San Francisco.
Yet Barb Jungr was born in Rochdale, and learnt her trade working in Julian Clary's backing band. She toured on the UK alternative cabaret circuit with Julian, Alexei Sayle and Arnold Brown.
Along the way, she discovered a passion for Dylan's songs.
"Once I had started singing his songs, I couldn't stop," she explains.
Dubbed "The British Edith Piaf", she has a fabulously unique vocal style.
She is a brilliant interpreter of contemporary songs. Her evocative reworkings of songs, from what she champions as the great new American songbook including Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel, Bruce Springsteen and, of course, Dylan, see her take the art of cabaret singing and imbue it with new vitality and relevance for the 21st century.
Now, to celebrate Bob Dylan's 70th birthday, she's released Man In The Long Black Coat, a new album, and this week announced she'll be bringing her Dylan show to The Rodewald Suite at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, for two nights on Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1. "I've performed in Liverpool a few times over recent years, and the audiences are great," she says.
"Maybe it's because I come from the North West myself, and there's something about the humour and the friendliness.
"You don't find that anywhere else in the world. Not like in the North West.
"You can take the girl out of Rochdale but you can't take Rochdale out of the girl."
She will be performing as part of the After Eight season, the Phil's popular series of select roots, jazz and unplugged gigs in the Rodewald Suite.
It has informal cabaret seating, a bar, rooftop terrace and the opportunity to meet the artists and other guests after the performance.
"The Rodewald suite is fabulous," says Barb.
"There's a superb piano, it makes my musicians happy and they love playing.
"The sound is great there and you're really nicely looked after so it makes the whole process of performing and singing there an absolute joy.
"The Man in The Long Black Coat has been getting plays on Jamie Cullum and Desmond Carrington and Spencer Leigh and other hip DJs, so I'm hoping new fans will come, as well as old friends."
Barb, 57, is passionate about the songs she takes to rework, and this is never more apparent than in her live shows, where she holds audiences spellbound with a dramatic style of delivery. Slick and entertaining to the last, she balances grand gestures with comic timing, garnered from years working with comedians.
"I first played in Liverpool as The Three Courgettes, years ago, at a festival thing, and met one of my best friends there who's still my friend now - the legendary Jane Buchanan, now resident in New York," she says.
"Russell Churney, my old songwriting partner, and co-Julian Clary musician, came from Liverpool. So I feel I have some small roots there.
"I've been singing Bob Dylan's songs now for 12 years or so, and I will never ever tire of singing them.
"I find new ones I love all the time.
"There's something about the songs, they're on fire, and they grow and change, so they're different every night.
"Recently a lot of people have been coming along to hear me sing the Dylan songs, and they queue up afterwards to suggest other ones I could sing - which is really, really lovely of them. People are bloody wonderful, I think.
"What's great also about singing Dylan's songs is that they're written from his point of view, and so it gives me a really good insight into the male psyche. It's a pretty weird place."
Related LinksBarb JungrMan In The Long Black Coat