Man in the Long Black Coat
Barb Jungr has never been one to sit back on her laurels when it comes to making music. From the songbooks of Bob Dylan Man in the Long Black Coat
for which she is most famously associated and through the works of Jacque Brel,Chanson The Space In Between
Nina Simone Just Like a Woman (Hymn to Nina)
and Elvis Presley Love Me Tender [Sacd/CD Hybrid
] she has always been an artist who has pushed the boundaries and has remolded songs, stripped away the layers and given us the listeners something completely new and unique.
With Stockport To Memphis, possibly Barb Jungr's best work to date, she takes us on a musical journey from the clubs of Stockport and Manchester where she grew to love soul and through several gateposts of her life including the immigration of her parents from war torn Europe, her love of soul music and a musical journey to Memphis one of the American cities from where good soul originates.
On this record Barb not only re-imagines songs from the likes of Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Sam Cooke, Neil Young, Hank Williams, Rod Argent and Bob Dylan but half of the album is made up of songs Barb wrote along with Simon Wallace.
Standout tracks for me include:
Stockport To Memphis - a soul drenched number with all the elements of a Northern Soul classic that I can imagine being played in The Twisted Wheel and Wigan Casino.
New Life - where Barb chronicles the journey of her parents journey from Europe and her own musical journey on the road, tinged with jazz and an optimistic outlook.
Old Man - a reflective song which Barb has turned around and found a new meaning in altogether.
River - I think Barb outshines Joni Mitchell here where she makes the song not only reflective and a bit melancholy but she gospels it up and fills it full of longing and hope.
Fisherman's Blues - Barb allows her vocal to take centre stage on this one and is another track full of longing and wishes.
Way Down In The Hole - a Tom Waits song where the full extent of Barb's vocal techniques shine through and she turns it into a mysterious jazzy bluesy number.
Till My Broken Heart Begins To Mend - which is an old Jungr and Parker song which she has updated with percussion and harmonica and again allows her voice to shine.
Change Is Gonna Come - a song originally by Ray Charles which is rich with soul and meaning and very relevant today as much as it was when it was written.
All in all this album is a gem and deserves many repeated listens and to be a massive success in what is promising to be a milestone of a year for Barb Jungr.