Barb Jungr - Man in the Long Black Coat Live in NY - New York Post
If you've seen Bob Dylan mumble his way through a concert, you know you can forget about discerning any of his lyrics. That's a shame, since he's one of the most poetic lyricists we have.
Happily, British cabaret singer Barb Jungr is here to remedy the situation. In "The Man in the Long Black Coat," her revelatory show at the Metropolitan Room, she provides stunning, deeply personal renditions of 13 Dylan classics in which every word shines with crystal clarity.
The 57-year-old has long been celebrated for her iconoclastic versions of familiar pop staples, but here she outdoes herself. She takes considerable liberties with her often dramatic transformations of the familiar songs, but in every case mines them for their deep emotional truths.
Bob Dylan's songs are a-changin' when Barb Jungr tries them on.
Her soft voice lacks Dylan's trademark sneer, so such
cutting kiss-off songs as "It Ain't Me, Babe" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All
are delivered in a pretty, cooing fashion that makes them
even more ironic.
Jungr turns that quintessential protest anthem "The Times
They Are A-Changin' " into a party song, while slowing down the normally
up-tempo "I Want You" into an aching expression of desperate need.
"Forever Young" is delivered as a joyous benediction, and
the epochal "Like a Rolling Stone" receives a swinging, jazzy arrangement. All
benefit from the superb accompaniment of her virtuosic pianist, Tracy Stark.
Though she sings many examples of what she calls Dylan's
bleak illustrations of the "black hole of love," she also explores his tender
side with a heartbreaking version of his classic love song "Sara."
The numbers are prefaced with witty introductions that
are as insightful as they are humorous. Although Jungr calls herself a longtime
fan, she's forced to concede that Dylan is "not very much in touch with his
feminine side." Instead, she adds, "He provides a real insight into the male
psyche ... and it's weird in there."