Related Reviews
This Is Cabaret
'Clearly, there is nothing this woman cannot sing. Perfectly'
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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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Cover Me Songs
'A dusky gem.'
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GQ
'...the best album I've heard.'
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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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The Examiner
'This gal is a most unique experience you'd want to have.'
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The Times
4 Stars
'[Barb] teases out every nuance in a Dylan lyric as she reshapes it to her own ends.'
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Halesowen news
"...Barb is at her most affecting..."
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Theater Scene
Cabaret Roundup: Best of 2011: "Her performances have become iconic."
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John Shelton Ivany Top 21
'One of the greatest albums of the year.'
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NY Theatre Wire
'...Jungr's inspired interpretations of Dylan's songs make her performance electrifying.'
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The Martin Report
"...she has emerged as one part educator, one part icon"
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Times Square Chronicles
"...Jungr doesn't just interpret 13 Dylan classics, she re-imagines them"
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Woman Around Town
'Barb's enthralling'
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Cabaret Scenes
"Jungr knocks it out of the park..."
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Cabaret Confessional
She is dazzling...a phenomenal master song interpreter and stylist.
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NY Culture
"...the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far"
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Wall Street Journal
"She sings with a passion and tenderness that not even Mr. Dylan himself could have imagined"
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
'It is exciting to savor what Jungr does with Dylan"
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New York Post
"Bob Dylan's songs are a-changin' when Barb Jungr tries them on."
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New York Times
"Barb Jungr delivered a fiery personal tutorial on Mr. Dylan"
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Cabaret Scenes
'At full throttle, she's enthralling.'
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The Village Voice
Bob Dylan Gets The British Female Treatment! Fab!
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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...'
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remotegoat.co.uk
5 Stars
'...Barb Jungr who eclipses them all.'
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Liverpool Daily Post
'She is a brilliant interpreter of contemporary songs.'
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Liverpool Echo
'A CD landed on my desk that I just couldn’t stop playing...'
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threeweeks.co.uk
'Barb Jungr was joined on stage by Simon Wallace on the keys in an absolutely captivating cover of Bob Dylan.'
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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...'
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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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TimeOut London
'...one of the strongest voices in international cabaret performance.'
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The American
"What Jungr brings to the songs is a forensic skill at unpacking the poetry married to great musicianship."
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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."
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Record Collector
5 Stars
"...her own voice and delivery is unique..."
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The British Theatre Guide
'...imagine a smoky, powerful, jazzy, gospel mix...'
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O's Place Jazz Magazine
'When she hits it right, Jungr strikes gold.'
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Herald Scotland
'Jungr sings Dylan's words quite beautifully, which the man himself, well, can't.'
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Choice Magazine
'...proving not just what gifted interpreted Barb Jungr is, but the timeless, infinitely malleable, nature of the songs themselves.'
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The Sunday Times
4 Stars
'...the musicianship is never less than first-rate.'
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The Independent
"her deconstructed jazz takes...allow new slants to seep into the songs"
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Cabaret Confessional
'...superb interpretations that deliver every song's story in the most unexpect ways.'
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BBC Online
"As a Dylan interpreter, Jungr is right up there with Simone or The Byrds."
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6moons.com
Blue Moon Award: '...[Barb] found new and unexplored depth.'
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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.'
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In Tune
...warmhearted celebration
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London Jazz
...a delicious mixture of tones and colours
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Girl Singers
"...this recording takes Dylan's work to some surprising new places, and is very highly recommended."
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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.'
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 >>

Barb Jungr - Man in the Long Black Coat - Times Square Chronicles


03 November 2011
Times Square Chronicles
Stephen Hanks

Feelings and attitudes about Bob Dylan fall into three categories: millions love him, millions can't stand him and there is that vast middle-like independents in the political spectrum-who have always appreciated the messages in his lyrics but have had little tolerance for the messenger's singing style. Even the cliché - like "chalk scratching a blackboard" has been inadequate in characterizing Dylan's voice, something the writer Joyce Carol Oates once described "as if sandpaper could sing." I've long been one of those indifferent to Dylan because of the dark rawness of that voice and never thought I'd discover a singer who could shine a new light on his words for me.

But now I've heard Barb Jungr, an acclaimed British-born chanteuse (and 2008 Nightlife Award-winner as "outstanding cabaret vocalist"), who has been dazzling cabaret audiences from coast to coast with her Dylan show "Man in the Long Black Coat." With a rich voice that ranges from a whisper to a belt, an ease with bringing a variety of emotions to the songs, combined with intricate yet accessible arrangements, Jungr doesn't just interpret 13 Dylan classics, she re-imagines them. During her recent run at the Metropolitan Room, Jungr observed that Dylan "doesn't have a conversation with his feminine side," which made hearing his songs sensitively and "righteously" (her favorite Dylan word) delivered by a female all the more fascinating and engrossing.

Jungr's energy and passion for the material is evident from the first bars of "Tangled Up in Blue," which becomes a jazzy, finger-snapping epic opener, followed by a ballad-like interpretation of "It Ain't Me Babe."

With a delivery both authoritative and adorable, Jungr relates her fascination with how Dylan could write songs about "life experiences he hadn't yet lived" and "the monster that grows inside when in love." Jungr probably could include more than 13 songs in her 90-minute show, but chooses to spend considerable time on her insights into and anecdotes about the famed folk/blues icon and it works. Jungr brings a cheeky humor to her between-songs script, an ideal juxtaposition to the intensely emotional numbers.

After taking issue with a British newspaper listing "The Times They Are a Changin'" as only the 4th best political song of all time, Jungr delivers the classic as a lyric poem, featuring a pulsating keyboard interlude from her pianist, MAC-award winner Tracy Stark, who also provides Jungr with terrific, yet subtle background vocals throughout the set. Jungr then pulls great laughs out of the audience when introducing her show's title song. "I think it's about death," she says, "but what if it's really just about man in a long, black coat." Either way, Jungr's interpretation makes it a haunting opus. Stark follows with great work on "Things Have Changed," (from the film The Wonder Boys) giving it a hybrid classical/Latin groove.

Jungr's ability to inhabit Dylan's lyrical world only grows in intensity as the set moves along. She transforms the bouncy "I Want You," into a heart-wrenching ballad sung almost entirely in a whisper (with Stark echoing the chorus line), plays the harmonica on a gospel-tinged version of "Don't Think Twice," and reminds everyone why "Sara" ("radiant jewel, mystical wife") is Dylan's greatest love song, cooing the number with her eyes shut until the third chorus. The bluesy "Trouble in Mind" is Jungr's nod to Dylan's gospel period and late 1970s conversion to Born-Again Christianity, and features Stark's wonderful mid-song piano riffing. Barb then grabs the harmonica again on "Blind Willie McTell," Dylan's ode to the influential blues singer and guitarist of the 1920s to ‘40s.

Jungr's take on "Like a Rolling Stone," is both rhythmic and minimalist and she makes it totally her own, even getting away with snapping her fingers through the whole song-practically a cardinal sin of cabaret-because she's completely on beat, making it work as great instrumental accompaniment.

If the audience hasn't become totally enveloped by this point, Jungr ensures they will by turning "Forever Young" into a hard-driving gospel rocker, working the whole Met Room stage, and getting the crowd to join her on the two-word chorus. The choice of "With God on Our Side" (from the 1964 album "The Times They Are A-Changin") as an encore couldn't have been more ideal; a reminder of Dylan's true folk/protest song essence. Through Dylan's words, Jungr achingly chronicles the justification for a litany of wars before offering "If God is on our side, he'll stop the next war."

While Barb Jungr is much more than a Bob Dylan tribute artist, her show celebrating one of the world's greatest troubadours was-for this Dylan non-believer anyway-a righteous revelation. She continues the show at the Metropolitan Room on October 27, 28, and 29 (all at 7PM) and will back in New York next April.


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