Barb Jungr - Live Review - Boxford Fleece
06 August 2007East Anglian Daily Times
Singer Barb Jungr's enthusiasm for her music is infectious and within seconds of taking to the microphone at the Boxford Fleece she had the sell-out crowd transfixed.
Since merging in the late 1970s as part of cult vocal harmony group The Three Courgettes she has rarely been out of the spotlight and that's the place she was born to be.
Stockport-raised Barb is without a shadow of a doubt Britain's foremost chansonnier and her unique voice allows her to stamp her authority on songs by a range of composers from Jacqus Brel to Bob Dylan.
I hesitate to call her love of Dylan obsessive, but she has got to be one of his most loyal disciples and it came as no surprise to hear some of her Dylan favourites in both her sets at The Fleece.
Since the turn of the century Ms Jungr has recorded for the Scottish label Linn Records and tracks from her latest offering, "Walking in the Sun" (Linn AKD 283), featured heavily in the upstairs room at one of Suffolk's best known pubs.
She sang virtually the whole of the CD and among the many stories she told was how the American bluesman Jimmy Reed made lots of money before drinking it all away.
Reed's love of the hard stuff hindered his efforts in the studio, where he needed his wife to whisper, and sometimes shout, the lyrics into his ear as he recorded another self-penned hit.
As Barb launched into a song she urged her pianist and musical director Jenny Carr to take it away and to make sure she brought it back again. It was that sort of humour that kept the audience smiling throughout.
Also alongside her was organist and harmonica player Jessica Lauren whose deft touch on the keys and deep respect for the material allowed the songs to breathe. Never once did Jenny and Jessica attempt anything too flashy although I don't doubt for a moment that they are capable of cutting loose when the occasion arises.
Barb is the latest in a long line of female singers to have graced The Fleece. Over the last few years I've seen the likes of Claire Martin, Clare Teal, Jacqui Dankworth, Liane Carroll, Sarah Jane Morris and Katya Gorrie bring their very special talents to the venue and I can now add the name of Barb Jungr to that impressive list.
Barb's off to Australia soon and when she returns will start work on a show of Nina Simone songs.
She also revealed to me before the gig that she's likely to make another album of Bob Dylan compositions.
Barb has never sounded better and I shouldn't think Boxford has ever witnessed a better vocal performance.
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