Press - features and reviews
Bob, Brel and Me - New album reviews
All About Jazz ★ ★ ★ ★
"Although it has been true of her albums for many years now, it is worth emphasising that there is not one track here that does not match up to the high standards Jungr sets for herself and her fellow musicians.” (John Eyles)
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Interview in PopMatters
"With her expressive voice, superb diction, and dynamic, physical, funny, and intense performance style, she has the ability to dig deeply into familiar lyrics and make iconic songs resonate in new ways, effectively turning them into one-act plays. The result is a thrilling collection that ranks among Jungr's finest achievements on record.” (Alex Ramon)
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“A labour of love marrying enchantment and mystery to everyday emotions, from a magisterial song interpreter and vocalist. Jungr’s approaches to Dylan’s songs continue to excite…..“She soars on the church-tempo 'Buckets of Rain' (adding fresh sexy sass to “I like your smile/And your fingertips”) and swings on ’Simple Twist of Fate’.” (KenHunt)
The Sunday Times
The British singer finds confessional depths in Bob Dylan and Jacques Brel that no one else can see. Her latest collection is at its most affecting when the arrangements are at their most intimate. Robb Johnson’s translations of Jacky and The Cathedral work particularly well. Dylan purists may balk at the souped-up arrangement of Mr Tambourine Man, but the big surprise is that it’s one of Jungr’s own compositions, No One Else Could Ever Wear Your Shoes (co-written with the late Michael Parker), that lingers longest. (Clive Davis)
We Are Cult
"This album evokes the true essence of ‘La Chanson’, writes We Are Cult’s Ange Chan. “The album is all about the union of Barb’s voice with the song, and her unique interpretation of them. The songs themselves, which may be familiar titles, are presented in a completely new and refreshing style which highlight the rawness of passion in all of its emotional forms.” (Ange Chan)
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"Barb Jungr has made so many great records. But there’s an argument for this one being the finest distillation yet of where she’s coming from, why and how performs such compelling music, and what makes her unique.” (Adrian Specs)
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Barb Jungr 10 Questions in Kind Of Jazz
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"Barb Jungr,”Bob, Brel and Me” (Kristalyn Records)- She may not be a household name just yet, but Barb Jungr’s gloriously jazz inflected output marks her out as an interpretative singer of rare pathos, wit and charm."
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London Jazz News
There’s a hint in Barb’s notes that this might be her final album. I can’t, and don’t want to believe that. She’s now reached a maturity as an interpreter of the contemporary songbook that it would be criminal to deny us the rich possibilities of other writers. Read full review
Kind of Jazz ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Barb's voice in fine fettle, and as always, her read on the lyrics is spot-on. Read full review
The vocals are powerfully delivered in Barb Jungr’s inimitable style – classy, full on, a touch of the mischievous and complete conviction. Read full review
Bob, Brel and Me - New live reviews
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars for the Edinburgh show.
Bob, Brel and Me showcases a performer at the top of her game. This is stellar cabaret which sees our star interpret the work of Dylan and Brel with a skilful awareness of the source material, and present these tracks with a heartfelt originality, charm and elegance. Read full review
Bob, Brel and Me at Purcell Room
Humane, challenging, funny and restorative, this energising evening found one of the great contemporary chansonnières at her finest. Read full review
Liver Birds Flying Home
The Singing Mermaid
Float Like a Butterfly
Barb Jungr and John McDaniel perform Sting
Shelter From the Storm live review
Shelter From the Storm
Reviews from New York launch at Joe’s Pub, May 2016
Barb Jungr and John McDaniel sing The Beatles
Barb Jungr: My Funny Valentine: Songs for the Wild At Heart
Purcell Room, London
PopMatters review by Alex Ramon, 17 February 2015
Barb Jungr at The Ropery Hall, Barton March 2015
Review and interview from The Peoples Publication Grimsby
Barb Jungr – Hard Rain at 59E59, Oct/Nov 2014
Barb Jungr – This Wheel’s On Fire
The Crazy Coqs, London, October 2014
Hard Rain: The songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen
Purcell Room, London
The Independent 26.2.14 *****
By Nick Hasted
Maybe it’s a trick of the light, but Barb Jungr’s body seems to vibrate as if charged with huge feeling as she sings the choruses of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”, Bob Dylan’s thundering, surreal vision of nuclear dread.
Contemplating turning 60 this year, Jungr has refocused her acclaimed mastery at applying jazz and cabaret’s vocal arts to the rock era’s songs. Enraged by our government’s injustice-fostering mission, she needed lyrics of politics and philosophy. The album played tonight, Hard Rain: The Songs of Bob Dylan & Leonard Cohen, is the thrilling result.
Pianist Simon Wallace roots these peculiarly religious Jewish visionary-poets in pounding gospel as much as jazz. Elusive and allusive loss is found in Cohen’s “1000 Kisses Deep”. This becomes stiletto disgust in “Everybody Knows”, at a society where “everybody knows the fight was fixed”. Jungr inhales deeply as retaliation is prepared against “First We Take Manhattan”’s fascist present, rising from intimate insinuation to cresting cries. Dylan’s “Masters of War” drains her with its grave, shocking venom, sung with soft penetration. With reverent respect to Cole Porter, this music is the North American Songbook’s climax, revealed by its greatest interpreter.
The Times 4 18.2.2014****
By Clive Davis
Barb Jungr's trio (at the Purcell Room) was in more assertive mode in Hard Rain, a four-star show built around her enthralling; soon-to-be-released collection of songs by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The most literate of singers, Jungr is the perfect interpreter of this kind of material. Every syllable was perfectly weighted, while Simon Wallace's skeletal piano phrasing carried some of the arrangements into pensive Bill Evans territory. Jungr's passion for chanson broke through at the end. Jacques Brel's Le Diable (ça va) translated by Robb Johnson evoked a Screwtape Letters-style atmosphere of a world turned upside-down.
Barb Jungr: Dancing in the Dark
59E59th Theatres, Theater B, New York
Highlights of Barb's appearances at Adelaide cabaret festival, Melbourne's celebration of American songbook and Australian tour Click here »
Barb Jungr / Simon Wallace at Crazy Coqs - The Night
London Jazz News Sept 2013
Here Comes the Night: Barb Jungr at The Crazy Coqs
Classical Source Sept 2013
Rodewald Suite, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Reviewed by Denis Joe - November 2012
Fairhearing Music Review Site
Barb Jungr Stockport To Memphis Tour
Wall Street Journal - October 21, 2011
Ranging Far and Wide BY WILL FRIEDWALD
New York Times - October 19, 2011
How Does It Feel to Adapt Dylan’s Songs for a Cabaret Setting?
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
The Village Voice - Oct 19 2011
Bob Dylan Gets The British Female Treatment! Fab!
By Michael Musto
Wolf Entertainment Guide
BARB JUNGR'S AFFINITY WITH BOB DYLAN (William Wolf)
Woman Around Town - Oct 26th 2011
The Man in the Long Black Coat - Insightful and Entertaining Interpretation by Alix Cohen on Playing Around
Cabaret Scenes - October 11, 2011
Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan The Man in the Long Black Coat
Review by Steve Murray
Times Square- October 27, 2011
Forever Jungr: A British Chanteuse Re-Imagines Dylan at the Metropolitan Room - Reviewed By Stephen Hanks
THE ANDREW MARTIN REPORT - November 8, 2011
It is Barb, Babe. Yes, Yes, Yes, It is Barb You’re Lookin’ For, Babe!!
The Independent - Friday, 5 August 2011
Barb Jungr Sings Dylan, Vortex, London
* * * * Reviewed by Nick Hasted
"Except for Dylan himself on a good night, this is the best way to hear his songs" Read full review »
The Telegraph - 1st Feb 2011
Barb Jungr, Pizza Express Jazz Club, review
Communicating real, heart-felt emotion is what this cabaret singer is all about.
Rating: * * * * Read full review »
DARK CHAT REVIEW Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, August 2011
Barb Jungr 9.25/10
Each year the quality and quantity of shows at the Edinburgh fringe is astounding. The only area that seems to be diminshing is music. Just when I thought I wouldn't see anything other than drama and plays up pops Barb Jugr to save the day. ( Where was Patti Plinko this year?)
This is the silver anniversary of my first trip to this festival and the person I have seen the most is Miss Jungr, starting in 1989 with her performances with Julian Clary and guitarist Michael Parker, through to Christine Collister and Ian Shaw and her tentative solo steps to her current position as Britain's foremost female interpreter of song. In recent years she has followed the trend of themed shows and after the success of 2009's show "Sings Songs Of War and Peace" tonight's is devoted to the works of Bob Dylan. These are great songs not always easy to follow and certainly not a barrel of laughs. The justification (should there need to be one) is to promote her latest CD based upon the songs of the great singer/songwriter " Man In The Long Black Coat", though a lot of these featured come from her previous tribute album " Every Grain Of Sand".
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 and perfect piano accompanyist from Simon Wallace. However it is the patter between songs that lifts her out of the category of a great singer into an all-round entertainer. She tells stories about the songs like a true connoiseur bringing them to life with her sheer enthusiasm, injecting them with great humour and such comic timing that many comedians would envy.
After a disappointing audience in 2009 it was gratifying to see the Queens Hall full of adoring fans. Even though she over-ran by nearly half an hour causing me to haul myself at great speed to my last show of the week I don't begrudge a second of it. Musical and comedy perfection.
Bournemouth Daily Echo - Barb Jungr The Men I Love, Forest Arts, New Milton, October 18, 2010
BARB Jungr is a performer of rare quality. A cabaret singer with an ear for exceptional lyrical artistry and the voice and intelligence to hone in on the absolute essence of a song.
Accompanied by her regular pianist/collaborator Simon Wallace, her latest show highlights the works of the men that she has loved as songwriters.
Mainly Americans, though there was one Canadian (Leonard Cohen) and a Scotsman (Mike Scott), these are writers who’s works have become part of the very foundations of popular music.
Using simple arrangements and an unerring emotional understanding of the songs in her set, Jungr set about laying bare the beauty and pain of some absolutely exceptional writing.
Dylan’s You Ain’t Going Nowhere reworked in all its flippant lyrical genius, Diamond’s I’m A Believer delivered as a poignant slow-burning ballad, Springsteen’s The River fully exposed as an agonising tale of lost dreams, misery and death in blue collar America.
It was a wondrous performance that examined hopes, failure and redemption through songs whose true power is all too often lost amidst over-ambitious production values.
Paul Simon’s My Little Town and Cohen’s The Night Comes In were among those that brought tears of recognition to the eye. (Jeremy Miles)
Extraordinary Instinctive Talent, The Wiltshire Times June 09
From her opening number, Walking In Memphis, I was hooked. And through almost all the first half of her show, the penultimate in the festival, I felt Barb Jungr had flicked through my personal music collection and plucked out the favourites. Apart from having a tremendous voice, extraordinary vocal range and great taste, she is an intelligent interpreter of songs.......And if the musical excellence was not enough, Ms Jungr is a great comedienne too. She has a fund of wonderful stories about the songs, composers and her life which enrich the overall performance. (Jo Bayne).
***** ‘Tell It Like It Is’- Guns, Doves and Bloody Roads, Barb Jungr - Scots Gay, August 2009 - The Queens Hall, 14th and 15th of August
Barbs uncanny ability to unravel each song, giving it, its own unique style; is done so with such enthusiasm, passion and intelligence. It allows the audience to savour each word, without making them feel uneasy as they listen to the likes of Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Partisan’ and Dory Previns ‘Doppelgangers’. In part this is due to the funny anecdotes Barb tells throughout the show. In particular; Rod Stewart on a beach Devon, had the audience in stitches.
A must see for anyone who appreciates a superbly talented songstress with a comedic charm. (Selina Smith)
***** Three Weeks, Edinburgh Festival 08, Just Like A Woman - Barb Jungr Sings Nina Simone, Assembly @ The Queen's Hall, 6 - 7 Aug
I couldn't take my eyes from the stage for the whole performance - and it wasn't just because of her rather fluorescent orange shawl. All in all, this was a flawless performance which made for a perfectly enchanting evening.
Scots Gay ***** Edinburgh Festival 08, Just Like A Woman - Barb Jungr Sings Nina Simone, The Queens Hall, 6th and 7th August, 08
Barb Jungr is truly one of the highlights of this years Fringe Festival, and a must for anyone who appreciates this women’s talent for taking timeless classics and in her own unique vocal style making them her own. The evening was simply enthralling and by the looks on the audience’s faces, they felt the same. (Selina Smith)
Classicalsource.com, Barb Jungr - No Regrets, Almeida Theatre, London, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Jungr was in her element in the imploring rhetoric that Brel mined with co-writer Gérard Jouannest in “Marieke”, then brought out the simmering unease pervading Leo Ferre's “Quartier Latin” to perfection. With its giddy evocation of low-life debauchery, the Brel/Jouannest “Amsterdam” loses little in latter-day translation and arguably gains from Jungr's subtle nuancing of its closing lines, while Chip Taylor's “Angel of the Morning” is a bittersweet gem that warrants 'standard' status.
Jungr's informal banter was a further enhancement of the occasion: good that she has returned to this repertoire after a lengthy absence, as there are few chanteuses more equipped to do it justice.
Barb Jungr at Ronnie Scotts, **** The Guardian, Jan 26th, 08
Jungr's latest project is Hymn to Nina, a tribute to Nina Simone, the great musician who routinely "fell between the cracks", reaching out to rock, pop, jazz and soul listeners without ever staying in any genre but her own.
Tonight, Jungr evokes Simone's memory through repertoire rather than emulation. Simone was an inspired curator - she had taste and talent for reinterpreting and reimagining in a way that made good songs great. Jungr sings these songs - Black Is the Colour... , Ain't Got No, To Love Somebody - in her light, clear voice, adding a few twists and tweaks of her own.
The best numbers, such as Just Like a Woman (the title of her forthcoming album) and the encore of Here Comes the Sun, employ beautiful, three-part vocal harmonies from Jungr, pianist Jenny Carr and multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lauren - recalling Jungr's early career in the Three Courgettes. As befits the cabaret genre, Jungr's band is highly disciplined, resisting the temptation to over-egg such a strong repertoire, and the audience lap it up. John Waters
Jazz Pick of the Week, The Guardian Guide, Sat 1st March
Bob Dylan, jazz, northern soul, Nina Simone and continental Europe's cabaret music perform a subtle dance in Jungr's consciousness.
Newbury Weekly News, February 08
To my mind this work surpasses Jungr’s previous shows because it contains so many different shades of mood. Just like a Woman, for example, was given a reggae-tinged beat, would you believe and Times the are a Changing suddenly became a wonderful, West Side Story skippy-down-the street celebration of good news. If you wonder what both these Dylan classics have to do with Nina Simone, well, Simone sang them too, which is good enough for me.
The album Just Like A Woman - Hymn to Nina( Linn Records akd309) comes out in March. You’d be a mug to miss it.Fred Redwood.
The Times (UK)
Barb Jungr at Ronnie Scott's, London W1, January 28, 2008
Jungr, an imposing figure in black with long blond mane, sits astride a stool. Her delivery reaches every corner of the packed room (for the second time at Ronnie's, I find myself standing at the back). It's the ballads that the crowd loves best - Lilac Wine, Angel of the Morning and the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody, sung full-throated, an arm outstretched. And, unlike those later Simone shows when the diva ran out of voice and interest, Jungr finishes on a high with an elegant Here Comes the Sun. John Bungay
The New York Times
Barb Jungr - Familiar Songs, the Way You’ve Never Heard Them (January 19, 2008)
You’ve probably never heard “Heartbreak Hotel” performed with the stark, no-frills approach that the British singer Barb Jungr brings to it in her show “No Regrets: The Remarkable Barb Jungr” at the Metropolitan Room. Stripping it of its hubba-hubba and bump-and-grind beat, with nary a “baby” to be heard, she forces the song to stand on its own as a surreal, minimalist, blues-flavored lament, whose last word “die” is hissed.
That performance on Thursday was typical of Ms. Jungr’s radical approach to songs by Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson, Ray Davies and other songwriters whose work you think you know from recordings in which the arrangements appear indivisible from your sense of the material. Arranged for voice and accordion (played by her excellent pianist and sideman, Charlie Giordano), her version of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” treated the song as a funny, personal, fragrantly sexy prelude to bedroom delights.
Ms. Jungr, a professed Dylan fanatic, said on Thursday that she imagined its setting to be the Deep South, a region she admitted she had seen only in films and never visited. The three other Dylan numbers in the set included an intense reading of “I Want You,” a fervent gospel “Ring Them Bells” and a delightfully happy-go-lucky “If Not for You.”
A tragic clown, Ms. Jungr, wearing a goofy grin, wove humor and high drama into an emotional roller coaster ride that had me laughing out loud one minute and gasping at her theatrical bravura the next. She introduced Thursday’s opening number, her original “Beautiful Life,” with a humorous warning: “It’s a happy song. Enjoy it. It’s the only one in the show.” Doom and gloom followed, but there were many intervals of sunlight.
Demonstrating formidable vocal flexibility, she took obscure songs by Brownie and Ruth McGhee (“Rainy Day”) and Eric Bibb and Levi B. Saunders (“Heading Home”) from smoky, reflective plateaus to feral emotional peaks, and then with perfect timing retreated downhill.
Her newly translated English renditions of Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (“Don’t Leave Me Now”) and Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (“No Regrets”) were accompanied by sharp comments about their fuzzy earlier translations and the dubious notion of singing pop songs in a language the audience doesn’t understand. There is a huge difference in tone, she pointed out, between “If you go away” and “Don’t leave me.”
That’s the kind of acute intelligence Ms. Jungr brings to pop songs, along with the talent of a complete entertainer. A fully realized one-woman show, “No Regrets” belongs on a small Off Broadway stage. By STEPHEN HOLDEN
New York Theatre Wire, Jan. 15, 2008
No Regrets - The Remarkable Barb Jungr at The Metropolitan Room
English chanteuse Barb Jungr began her six-day gig at the Metropolitan Room by telling her audience that it was Tuesday, not the sexiest day of the year. "So we have to do the best we can." That is exactly what Jungr did. And Jungr at her best is something no one should miss.
Jungr, whose powerful voice ranges from low and husky to ringing with a slight tremolo, sang a repertoire heavily leaning toward her personal favorites, most specifically Bob Dylan. There was also some Jacques Brel, her own "Beautiful Life," (written with Adrian York), and an Edith Piaf classic, "Non, je ne regrette rien," which she performed with the same English lyrics Piaf used when she appeared in the United States. This is the song that gave the show its name, "No Regrets. The Remarkable Barb Jungr."
Of course, what's really remarkable about Barb Jungr is the way she makes every song her own. Thus Dylan's "I Want You," "If Not for You" and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" become love songs in ways the singer/songwriter himself may have never been able to realize. For the latter song, her New York accompanist, the superb Charlie Giordano, usually on piano, takes up his accordion for unexpectedly moving results.
A meticulous artist, Jungr was not satisfied with available translations of Brel's work. So she commissioned her own from Des de Moor for "Don't Leave Me" and "Marieke" because, as she said with a devilish glint in her eye, "People can't be bothered with learning French." For those in the audience who are unfamiliar with European geography, Jungr explained that the lines "from Brugge to Ghent" indicate a trip analogous to traveling from New York City to Trenton, NJ.
If Jungr is passionate, she is also quite funny. Even the bleakest song is lightened by her ironic commentary. She peppers her performance with stories from her life that are personal enough to be interesting but not so intimate to be embarrassing. Brownie McGhee's "Rainy Day," was introduced with the revelation that she grew up "in a very wet place." Actually she grew up in a small town in northern England, which by all accounts seems something less than glamorous.
Jungr is sultry in a way that makes one think of crowded bistros entered through a beaded door, dimly lit and filled with smoke. Cigarettes are now banned in most public places. But, have no fear, Jungr provides her own smoke. By Paulanne Simmons
‘Shades of Dylan’ - Newbury Weekly, Thursday March 1st 2007,
Barb Jungr at The Blue Hours, New Greenham Arts
“They’re not afraid to cry in New York – they kind of let it all out. In Britain, audiences say ‘You made me cry’. Just a little cross cultural observation . But that doesn’t apply in Newbury because people are quite emotional here.”
The audience laughs with pleasure and Barb Jungr, perched on a high- stool in the middle of the stage, cuts into her version of an obscure Dylan track, lacing her powerfully- deep vocals over the top of a melodic piano and punchy harmonica.
Yet there’s something in Jungr’s work that cuts even deeper than this profound river. Not only is there a blues-gospel dimension thrown casually into her work, but there is also Dylan right there in front of you, staring out with eyes that peer from under years of folk, rock’n’roll, and electrified blues.
Yet the most accomplished aspect of Jungr’s work is her capacity to adjust Dylan by fading him in and out of focus all evening.
One minute he is there – in Tangled Up In Blue he is palpable – the next minute he is going soft around the edges, and at times he is unrecognisable.
And even as they see Dylan start to fade, the audience does not want to twist the lens and bring him back, such is Jungr’s control over her arrangements and the capacity in which she holds her audience.
When covering Just Like A Rolling Stone, which marked Dylan’s est4rangement from his early Woody Guthrie folk roots, most would succeed only in leaving the audience pining over the original.
With Jungr’s rendition of the track, Dylan may as well have vanished completely from the melody and his lyrics alone are somehow glorified as a result – raised up on high to be admired and cherished.
Take away the powerful, yet dulcet tones, of Barb Jungr, and the audience discovers a woman with a light Manchester accent sitting astride a barstool and interspersing her interpretations of Dylan’s work with short comic sketches about her travels and observations, her time in Newbury, and of course, Dylan.
“His lyrics are about love and death, humanity and the lack of humanity. They are incredibly artistic – they’re layered and textured.”
Jungr’s voice and arrangements add yet another layer and another texture to this already complex fusion.
But far from confusing Dylan lovers, her performance adds clarity to his work, illuminating the greatness of one of the 20th century’s most renowned singer songwriters.
Bob by Barb
The Edge - New York - Feb 2007
You wouldn’t think of Bob Dylan being the most cabaret-friendly songwriter with his material that can be complicated, political or long, long story-songs--especially if know them through his idiosynchractic, craggy voice. Well, Barb Jungris doing one of the most mesmerizing shows you’re likely to see. This British-based singer is fascinating. She makes the Dylan songs very accessible without compromising the songs or her own performing style. It’s powerful stuff, and her act has a cumulative effect-getting to you more and more as the night goes on. Her intense concentration does not prevent her from also connecting with the audience. This is a grown-up, real life experience. The matching choice for your two-drink minimum might be a couple of bracing Scotches rather than a frothy pink strawberry daiquiri. Many of the pieces are heavy, but Barb leavens the mood by acknowledging that right off ("This has an underbelly of complete doom," she says ever so calmly of one song, and breaks for some chatty, funny comments along the way. Devasating numbers like Not Dark Yet work well, and I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (where just-right pianist Charlie Giordano also picks up the accordion) becomes the equivalent of Cole Porter’s It’s All Right With Me to join the cabaret repertoire. Barb has a Dylan CD on the market and I’ve been happily listening to her most recent album, Walking In The Sun. It has two more Dylan choices as well as some folk, pop, and blues that she makes her own. And two that she doesn’t need to make her own because they ARE her own--she writes, too. Her CDs are on the Linn label. (Rob Lester)
Barb Jungr sings Bob Dylan
Cabaret Scenes, January 25, 2007
With her opening night show at the Metropolitan Room, Barb Jungr turned this reviewer into a Bob Dylan fan. Or perhaps more accurately, into a Barb Jungr fan, as she took a dozen of Dylan’s songs and turned them into Barb Jungr property.
Some Dylan lyrics, such as the opener, High Water (Rising), still have the ability to bewilder one on first listening, but Jungr’s affecting and impassioned treatments of If Not for You, I’ll be Your Baby Tonight and I Want You need no deep intellectual contemplation to appreciate. The songs vary from sentimental to dramatic and highly emotional.
In spite of remaining firmly anchored to a stool while she performed, Jungr is always in motion – head, arms and body continually in motion, moving with the music, swaying, gesturing. Her patter is topical, relevant and witty, and responsible in no small way for the success of her show. She’s funny, she’s tough, she’s unpredictable, she’s irreverent. And can she sing!
A special word is also due the arrangements and accompaniment of Charles Giordano. His instrumental support, on piano and accordion, is spare, extraordinarily effective in its minimalist backing to Jungr’s vocalizing. There is another side in reserve, however. With Forever Young, Giordano takes off his figurative gloves and, with Jungr, lets it rip. It is an impressive show of force for both of them.
Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan will be at the Metropolitan Room Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays though February 3rd.
(Peter Leavy) www.cabaretscenes.com
Jungr at heart
TIME OUT NY Music January 31st, 2007
Barb Jungr is nothing if not distinctive. True, her expressive features (and outrageously English dental structure) will never make her a poster girl for the glamor wing of the cabaret community. But poster girls often lack depth, whereas Jungr has proved herself one of the most compelling interpreters around. As I wrote back in 2004, when she was making her first impressions on American audiences, Jungr is utterly original, with a profoundly committed style that teeters on the edge of emotional excess without tipping into self-indulgence. This week—on Thursday and Friday at 8pm, and on Saturday at 8pm and 10pm—she returns to the Metropolitan Room with a set devoted entirely to the songs of Bob Dylan, whose work she gets at from the inside, unveiling feelings and ideas that have sometimes been elided in Dylan’s own distinctive delivery. Jungr casts an unconventional spell, but her magic is real. (Adam Feldman)
BARB JUNGR SINGS DYLAN
Wolf Entertainment Guide New York, Feb 07
British singer Barb Jungr has worked up an entire program devoted to her interpretations of Bob Dylan songs, and the effect is to make the numbers seem fresh and sometimes unusual. Jungr is special no matter what she sings, but with her Dylan repertoire, she pours her heart and intelligence into the lyrics and succeeds in projecting them as if they were coming from the depths of her own soul.
Jungr cuts a sharp presence on a cabaret stage, as she demonstrated anew in her latest stint at The Metropolitan Room, which justly has earned a reputation as a smart, intimate venue with good space and a fine sound and light system. The room is much needed at this time when old venues have been disappearing.
The most passionate, heartfelt song, during which you could hear a pin drop in the room, was “With God on Our Side,” an anti-war expression of the cynical way in which everyone initiating wars always claims to be supported by God. Sung currently in America, it inevitably brings to mind the Iraq morass. Jungr was especially effective with this Dylan work.
Hearing Jungr is a treat. She has been performing the world over, but she should have more gigs on these shores, as she is definitely a most welcome original. Reviewed at The Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, Phone: 212-206-0 (William Wolf)
Barb Jungr @ The Lowry 'Walking In The Sun'
Manchester Evening News 15/07/06
PRODUCER, director, music writer and all round entertainer, Barb Jungr has carved out a reputation as a storyteller of blues and gospel-tinged songs, displaying a theatrical approach to live performance that Jacques Brel would have been proud of.
Born in Rochdale and raised in Stockport, Barb moved to London in the mid-1970s where she became part of the early cabaret circuit and has pursued this line of work by creating the 'Girl Talk' show with singers Claire Martin and Mari Wilson.
Signing to Glasgow based label Linn Records in 2000 enabled Jungr to set out a clear vision for personal music projects that have thus far included re-working the music of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and exploring the French chanson.
Throughout proceedings at tonight's concert Barb was very ably assisted by accompaniment on piano from Jenny Carr whose blues-inflected playing echoed Rooosevelt Sykes and Memphis Slim in their prime, while the multi-talented Jessica Lauren laid down some soulful grooves on organ and doubled up on folksy harmonica.
If the bluesy 'Waking in Memphis' is anything to go by, it should at least be the equal of the acclaimed tribute album to Dylan.
The exquisite selection of songs reads like a who's who of early soul and blues: Brownie Mc Ghee, Jimmy Reed, Percy Sledge and a faithful rendering of deep soul legend Garnett Mimms' 'I'll Take Good Care Of You'
Backstage.com, New York, February 2006
In her latest Joe’s Pub appearances, Barb Jungr–who can legitimately be labelled unique among cabaret performers–takes on the Elvis Presley Songbook. Show’s named after her “Love Me Tender” CD, but woe unto anyone who calls the program a tribute. The North England native, now based in London a stone’s throw from the Thames, is not interested in anything as commonplace as a tribute.
Uh-uh. Jungr’s a philosopher of song. She won’t sing anything unless she has a response to a melody and lyric that comes from her probing mind and fervid heart. Once she’s decided she’ll devote herself to an oeuvre–Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan are previous targets–she considers each selection for periods of time, even broods about it. That’s why when she does “Love Me Tender,” it’s only after she’s discoursed on James Lee Burke novels and insisted she hears the Presley-Vera Matson chart-topper as an outcry by a Southern woman sitting in a one-horse town on a sultry summer night. When she does “Kentucky Rain” (Eddie Rabbit-Dick Heard), she’s talked amusingly about her familiarity from childhood on with inclement weather. Although she’s not interested in running Presley facts, she does suggest that the icon’s often-assumed reliance on Colonel Tom Parker may not be so total, since it was Presley, she claims, who insisted on releasing the “political” “In the Ghetto” (Scott Davis). Then she acts out the story of a young boy’s tragic demise as if it were a James Dean flick. Accompanist Charlie Giordano manfully keeps up with her.
Jungr, whose surname suggests the adjective “jugular,” can rattle the rafters with her voice when she chooses. She chose just that on the traditional “Peace in the Valley,” suggesting by her reading that peace is only achieved as a result of angry activism. Major talent here, folks. (David Finkle)
Every Grain Of Sand, Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 06
Having been around for a while, a grain not so much of sand but of salt is what I normally take with hype about leading chanteuses and the like, but Barb Jungr is the real thing. A remarkable voice of extraordinary suppleness and versatility, capable of switching from the most subtle delicacy to the fullest-throated showstopper in a trice. With Adelaide’s own Matthew Carey going from strength to strength on the piano (and popping a very considerable feather in his cap) they team up to remind us that Dylan’s music is great – Barb Jungr frankly makes it greater. (Peter Burdon, blazemedia.com.au)
Waterloo Sunset, Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 06
Roaming freely across the songbooks and finishing with a peerless performance of Ray Davies’ immortal title song, this was a marvellous performance by a great singer, whom I hope we see again.
Peter Burdon, blazemedia.com.au
Waterloo Sunset, Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 06
Intimate, inventive, intelligent. Last night’s performance, Waterloo Sunset, was like a confidential conversation. As arguably Britain’s leading jazz vocalist, Barb Jungr brings Ronnie Scott’s to Adelaide. With an intelligent wit and a voice like warm velvet caressing a cheek, Jungr has an enchanting individuality. Waterloo Sunset as a ballad is magnificent. Don’t expect histrionics or theatricals because there is more artistry than hype about Jungr. She simply brings herself and her mature voice to the stage and with tender emotion sings the songs. (Stephen Davenport, The Independent Weekly)
Every Grain Of Sand, Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 06
Jungr intelligently mines his Bobness’ 45 – year career to find true gems within his prodigious output. While she refuses to change gender, there is little doubt that she truly inhabits the often emotionally fragile strata associated with his often tumbling “jingle jangle” kaleidoscopic images. Achingly erotic takes on I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight and I Want You breathed a new lease of life into these songs that are so strongly associated with Dylan himself – making them the finest interpretations since those of Nina Simone in the late sixties.
Stunning! – educative and emotional.
(Brett Allen-Bayes, DB Magazine)
Waterloo Sunset, Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 06
Barb Jungr returns to the Banquet Room with another excellent show. Jungr presented a stylish master class with a seemingly endless range of vocal colours, phrasing and ornamentation – and not just within the boundaries of a song, but also often within the contours of a single line or phrase.
Barb Jungr is certainly my discovery from this year’s Festival for she is that all too rare example of the complete sophisticated entertainer. With the Teutonic bone structure of a Joni Mitchell, the authoritative stance of a Marianne Faithfull and the singular ability to amuse, educate and communicate, Barb had the responsive audience hanging on every word. I now look forward to a return season when she will present her programmes of the ‘other Elvis’ and the chanson according to Piaf and Brel. (Brett Allen-Bayes, DB Magazine)
Every Grain Of Sand, Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 06
Jungr has a reputation as an interpreter of Bob Dylan’s music and in this Dylan performance, she shows why. Jungr brings such insight and emotion to the songs it’s like hearing them for the first time. She peels back the layers of Dylan classics with an enormous vocal range that has the floor trembling under your feet one minute and your heart trembling the next.
She won the audience over with her emotional intensity, an engaging patter about everything from her friends and family to her life as an artist.
(Louise Nunn, The Advertiser)
Winner 2003 International Artist Of The Year, New York Backstage Bistro Award for Excellence in Cabaret.
Time Out New York 2004 Top Ten Cabaret Shows - Barb Jungr at Mama Rose’s.
Time Out New York Top Ten Best Cabaret Shows of 2004 - Barb Jungr at Mama Rose’s - "Jungr’s singing soars with emotion yet has the intimacy of a private conversation."
The Scotsman, August 05.
AN EMOTIONAL HYMN TO THE KING
"She had me weeping. Elvis lives - in glitter and black heels"
A NORTHERN girl who jokes about being a cross between Gracie Fields and a gospel singer, Barb Jungr sings the songs of Elvis Presley as if deep in the culture of the American south.
Jungr is obviously a star and had me weeping by the time she delved into the regrets of Always On My Mind. Her linking chat, which verges on stand-up, is disconcertingly honest, local and funny.
But hey, at 5.30pm, despite a hot summer day beckoning outside, she can have you in the palm of her hand in a dark bar. Glory Glory Hallelujah, Barb. Nice one. (Jan Fairley)
The Herald, Glasgow, August 05
What's the quickest way from Rochdale to Memphis? On the Barbmobile. It's a fun ride as well as an emotional roller coaster as Barb Jungr recalls how she fell in love with Elvis Presley's voice and went searching for the essence of a dozen of her Presley favourites.
She invokes James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels, so it's more Louisiana than Tennessee but she focuses on the human/inhuman qualities – love, heartbreak, redemption, racism – with an unerring eye.
Laced with mirthful Lancashire lass recollections and observations, this is intensely physical music-theatre with a bravura, wrung-out performance from Jungr, particularly in the gospel sequence, and an atmosphere of suspense that's only heightened by stark, staccato piano accompaniments from Russell Churney, who takes his one chance to really give it one with conspicuous relish. (Rob Adams)
The Times Top Five Jazz
Fresh from her superb re-invention of Bob Dylan’s songs, our leading exponent of the chanson tradition brings her distinctive touch to the music of Elvis Presley.
The List , August 2005
Having scored a success with her album of Bob Dylan songs a couple of years ago, Barb Jungr follows up with a tribute to Elvis Presley.Her jazz-tinged adaptations bring a fresh perspective to the King's familiar classics, and have been well-received so far. Who knows, maybe Elvis will show up to check out what she is doing to his legacy.
The Times 20.7.05
“Barb Jungr is not a performer who cares much for the easy-listening aspect of the cabaret tradition. Her heart is closer to Brecht and Weill than Rodgers and Hart, let alone Rodgers and Hammerstein. A true cosmopolitan who addresses her audience in a homely Rochdale accent, she knows as much about American blues and gospel as she does about the legacy of Jacques Brel or Léo Ferré. Every show she presents is an impromptu journey into the unknown.
None of those misgivings matter one little bit when she weaves her stunning version of Love Letters Straight From the Heart, the opening track of her new album inspired by the music of Elvis Presley. Yes, you heard that right. While every other singer, it seems, is busy rummaging through Elvis Costello’s catalogue, Jungr has set off in an entirely different direction, sweeping away the Graceland kitsch and casting an entirely new light on the singer who brought rock ’n’ roll to Las Vegas. One of the most thoughtful British albums of the year, Love Me Tender is no less daring than Jungr’s earlier reinventions of the songs of Bob Dylan on Every Grain of Sand. Jungr could teach Madonna a thing or two about how to convey sensuality through words alone.” (Clive Davis)
TIME OUT LONDON April 13 - 20. 2005
Jungr is an artist who defies easy categorisation. She’s been described as ‘alt. cabaret’ or ‘politicised chanson’, but it’s a bit more complex than that. Like her great heroine Nina Simone, Jungr makes grown-up music that falls in the space between jazz and pop. She calls her art ‘song styling’ and that is exactly what she does - re-styles songs, deconstructing and re-harmonising them, taking tracks we are familiar with and inviting us to listen again.
She follows up albums of Brel and Dylan covers with ‘Love Me Tender’, her take on the bloated legacy of Elvis Presley. ‘He’s iconic” says Jungr, ‘a wonderful singer with an amazing body of work, but he’s a bit like Billie Holiday - you’re not allowed to be critical. I wanted to look at Elvis the ‘non-saint’ as well as the nature of songs from the ‘50’s - all that postwar optimism and tin pan alley sweetness.’
Jungr re-examines the songs through twenty-first century glasses - her slow, bleak but strangely beautiful versions finding a sadness and weirdness in Presley’s best known songs. ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ becomes a ghosts lament and ‘Love Me Tender’ an obsessive’s dark song. Her genius is that she removes the Americana, creating instead a sort of European art music noir. Simply framed by Adrian York’s piano, nothing stands between the listener and the song. With Jungr’s pure, quirky, powerful voice to guide you, you’ll find a depth in these songs never previously imagined, (Kersten Mackness)
The Stage, April 25th, 2005.
Barb Jungr is back to thrill us with her latest re-imagining of a familiar repertoire, rendering it anew in such a startlingly personal way that it is utterly reinvigorated - and her wide-ranging musical compass now alights on the repertoire on Elvis Presley. In this blazing show of songs from her latest album, here are Elvis standards like Are You Lonesome Tonight? and Love Me Tender as you have never heard them before: the first slowed down to a wistfully haunting lament that is speckled with Philip Glass-like repetitions of musical and lyrical phrases, the latter a yearning, heartfelt cry of the heart.
But then nothing that Jungr does is ever obvious. She can be bold and fierce one minute, then fragile and desolate. She sets an evening comprising mainly of torch songs aflame with an alternately bruising and tender quality. A couple of songs by Bob Dylan - whose repertoire she has previously investigated more fully on a previous album - epitomises these contrasting notes: I Shall Be Released and Tomorrow is a Long Time (written specially for Presley by Dylan) are passionately embraced.
If the musical tone of much of the programme is keen with forebodings and regret, Jungr has an irrepressible ability to lighten the mood between songs in her patter, which is full of wit and warmth. She has perfected a conversational tone that is ideal for cabaret, connecting the material to herself in a deeply personal way. At the end, she turns the entire audience into a gospel choir for Peace in the Valley that makes it personal to us, too. (Mark Shenton)
Time Out New York, October 21-28, 2004
Jungr, who returns to Joe’s Pub on Friday 22 October, is a rapidly rising star of the English cabaret world, and in a genre too often compromised by nostalgic posturing and ersatz sentiment, she is a genuine original.
Eschewing the overnotated margins of The Great American Songbook, she gravitates to storytelling songs by the likes of Dylan, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies and Richard Thompson, reinventing them with warmth and sensitive musicality. She knows just how a song should feel. (Adam Feldman)
World Arts Celebrities Journal, October 27th, 2004
NEW YORK CITY- From her very first song to Waterloo Sunset, her international hit, Barb Jungr shined brighter than midnight sunset, enrobed with a femme fatale aura, a sensual intellectualism and the implosion of a dignified femme fatale. . The show had everything: Montmartre, Paris and Berlin 1920s' and 1930s' nostalgia, Piaf's melodramatic cache, Gabriella Ferri's delightful madness, Juliette Greco's finesse, Peggy Lee's stage presence, Barbara's class and of course it had the extremely delightful and graceful persona of Barb Jungr.. Barb Jungr shined that night. And because she shined so bright, the whole damned lights and neon of New York City shinned brighter and brighter and blew up! It was a magnificent show! It was a great triumph for England's greatest cabaret and Jazz singer! (Maximillien de Lafayette)
The Stage, June 2004
As I watched and listened with genuine, rapt awe, it dawned on me in one of those spine-tingling realisations that she might just be the best cabaret singer we have got in Britain today.
It is to do with trust and communication, as much as it is with inherent musicality. There is a reason for her to be here and it is not just to sound pretty. In other words, she is communicating not just sound but spirit.
It is what the great artists always do and you notice it even more potently live than you do from a studio recording. For now there is no tweaking of dials, but raw, unbridled passion. And in a programme of torch songs new and old, she sets the place aflame. (Mark Shenton.)
Cabaret Scenes, New York, June 04
Barb Jungr is one of the best English imports to come across the pond in many a year. Alternately as funny as a stand-up comic or as serious as a torch singer, in her patter she discusses matters as unlikely as the monk who cares for the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park to why she steers clear of the Great American Songbook ("so many people do it"). Jungr uses her fine vocal instrument to great advantage and she literally exudes an endearing personality. (Peter Leavy)
Theatre Mania, New York June 04
Some entertainers are a cut above and some are in a class by themselves. Barb Jungr is in a class by herself. She comes from England but her sensibility seems far more European; to put it another way, there is nothing polite about this fierce singer of lyric-driven contemporary music.
Distinctive, daring, and dangerous, Jungr seems lit by an inner fire. You can see it burning in her eyes; she's blessed with a great face for acting and she knows how to use it. She's so good at both singing and patter that you're happy to see her on stage no matter what she's doing. Jungr is one of those rare types with a spectacularly rich and rangy voice as well as a mesmerizing personality. You'll want the CD no matter what but you'll treasure it more once you've seen and heard Jungr live. (Barbara and Scott Siegel)
Showbusiness, USA March 2004
One of Britain’s most celebrated singers, Barb Jungr’s appearances in New York are few and far between for those of us who have discovered her captivating uniqueness. Jungr’s got style and substance to burn. Pulling off songwriters as disparate as Bob Dylan, Richard Thomas and Ray Davies with passion, originality and flair is no mean feat, but Jungr manages it with an ease that’s laudable. A distinctive artist who clearly knows who she is, Jungr is a formidable actress who makes excellent eye contact with her audience before disarming them with a dramatic gesture that would seem ridiculous in lesser hands. Her voice, influenced by late 1950’s jazz icons, is a mellifluous amalgam of a young Bette Midler and Janis Joplin with a little Rickie Lee Jones thrown in on the side. With a quick vibrato, it’s an original sound and seems tailor-made for her repertoire, especially a devastating reading of Charles deForest’s "When Do The Bells Ring For Me." Amazingly, Jungr’s also a natural comic with patter that’s deliciously funny. Watch for her return to Mama Rose’s in mid-June and discover a singer who knows what she’s doing! (David Hurst)
London Herald Monthly, April 2004
To many cabaret lovers and critics, Ms Barb Jungr is "Britain's answer to Ute Lemper". To many others, Barb is " Queen of the Musical Cabaret of Britain". All lead to the same citadel: The universal shrine of music. The citadel where Ms Jungr has already secured a historical place, a throne for her laurel, legendary talent and the brightest/smartest cabaret repertoire ever delivered by a contemporary singer in Britain. Barb is powerful. Strikingly intelligent. Warmly intellectual. Passionately fashioned into music within stimulating dialogues and electrifying persona on stage. She is perfect for Cabaret. She is made for it. She is CABARET HERSELF! (Maximillien De Lafayette)
The Observer, Sunday 21, 2003
With Barb Jungr every song becomes a poem.
The New Statesman, December 2003
Jermyn Street Theatre had us on our feet and roaring for more from Barb Jungr, who gave us a stunning music lesson around the works of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan, in a voice that would have brought a goose out in goose bumps. (Maureen Lipman)
Jazz At Ronnie Scotts November 2003
Barb Jungr confirms her reputation as a peerless interpreter of the classic modern song with this, her third album for Linn. Waterloo Sunset provides more evidence in favour of the Pink Paper's assertion that 'Jungr is now a fully fledged English Piaf'. (Chris Parker)
Reviews Every Grain Of Sand
Top Ten Jazz Albums Of The Year in The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Washington Paper.
The Village Voice, New York, June 2003
The Manchester born and London-based chanteuse is one of the best interpreters of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan anywhere on this angst ridden planet today. Always beautifully sung and profoundly acted. Even the patter is pithy. (David Finkle)
The Times, 16 August 2003
Barb Jungr’s unfailingly intelligent approach to song is finally starting to win her many admirers across the Atlantic too. Every Grain Of Sand took a rewarding detour into the Bob Dylan songbook, making a compelling case for the view that the more recent material deserves as much attention as the sixties anthems. (Clive Davis)
Backstage, New York, September 2002.
Were someone twisting my arm to nominate the most important new act I've seen this year, I'd blurt out Barb Jungr. She's the best kind of actor because she thrives on taking risks -- on knowing the rules and when to break them. A spontaneous, perfect set. (David Finkle)
The New York Times Jan. 22.03
The singer is an amalgam of stylistic crosscurrents, from folk to jazz to French chansons, which she has scrupulously melded into a forceful personal voice. With Mr. Dylan, she digs beneath the songwriter's chameleon persona to ferret out a song's emotional core, and what she discovers can be revelatory.
The Telegraph, December 2002
Barb, Bob and Brel brings together an unlikely but wholly mesmerising trinity of talents - a world-class female vocalist and two of the great male singer-songwriters of modern times - Bob Dylan and Jacques Brel. (Dominick Cavendish)
Variety, New York, October 2002
Wider Stateside recognition is in order. (Robert L. Daniels)
The Sunday Times, April 2002
Barb Jungr - Britain's finest interpreter of grown-up cabaret (Clive Davis)
Barb Jungr performing the songs of Bob Dylan - and doing so rather wonderfully. (Caspar Llewellyn Smith)
What's On In London, February 2001
She is quite unlike any other singer I can recall.....vocally she is unique(Michael Darvell)
Boz Magazine, February 2001
Barb Jungr's opening night at the Music Room of Pizza on the Park was an artistic tour de force; an evening of such ravishing musical pleasure that I'd rate it as among the most satisfying of any I've spent at the venue over the last decade.