Who is Barb Jungr? Many might ask this question and even those that know and adore her may struggle to actually define a talent that is so unique and extraordinary that transcends the highest of expectations.
Born in Rochdale and brought up in Stockport she is perhaps best known as a chansonnière who sings a diverse range of songs interpreted in her own inimitable style whether they are cover versions or her own compositions. Whether it’s jazz, blues or gospel her approach to known writers usually involves profound interpretations of their material.
As the title suggests her concert is exclusively dedicated to Bob Dylan and some of his many songs. Dylan once said ‘I consider myself a poet first, and a musician second.’ It is Jungr’s musical interpretation and delivery of that ‘poetry’ that sets her apart from others’ ‘plagiaristic’ renditions.
The performance featured an extensive repertoire that started with an up tempo version of Tangled Up in Blue. Just like Dylan does in his concerts Jungr freewheels through numbers that have no chronological order, but were special to her. There were enough numbers to keep all Dylan fans happy, but this wasn’t about Dylan, it was about the singer not the song.
Jungr has her own unique way of singing that captures the audience’s attention like no other of her kind. From the start to the very end the audience was captivated by her renditions and the short stories and anecdotes that kept the mood going.
Jungr was excellently supported on keyboards and piano by Simon Wallace and Jenny Carr. Simon Wallace, who hails from Newport, is a multi-talented musician with a vast catalogue of success and has been associated with supporting Jungr over recent years at many gigs including several across the pond.
Jenny Carr, one of Australia’s top jazz and pop pianists, provides the younger half of Jungr’s support. Australia’s loss became the UK’s gain when she moved here in 1990’s.
The three together provide a friendliness and togetherness that makes the whole evening an unforgettable joy.
One of the many stand-out numbers was Sara. Jungr introduced this number by calling it one of the nicest love songs ever written. In 1965 Dylan secretly married Sara Lowdns. Sara from the album Desire (1976), many believe, was Dylan’s attempt to reconcile with Sara after their estrangement in which he called her ‘radiant jewel, mystical wife’. Jungr sang with passion and controlled emotion.
Several of the better known numbers were included in the performance including Don’t think twice, it’s alright, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, and I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.
The final number of the night, Masters of War was arguably Dylan’s most important protest song, a 60’s song that still has relevance today.
What of the man in the long black cloak? What does Dylan’s song mean? Some believe the man is about death but others, for example, find him to be enticing: where is Barb Jungr in this? She couldn’t contain her curiosity:
She went with the man in the long black coat....
………………but don’t worry, if you missed her in Cardiff she’s performing in St. Donat’s Arts Centre on the 2nd of November 2013 to tell the story of her journey from Stockport to Memphis. Why don’t you join her on that journey?
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