Barb Jungr – Stockport to Memphis
(Naim naimcd179. CD Review by Chris Parker)
Barb Jungr has always been celebrated as one of the jazz world’s most skilful and accomplished song-interpreters, burnishing everything from Ray Davies’s ‘Waterloo Sunset’ to the Monkees’ ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ to their original pristine glow courtesy of her scrupulous attention to their subtlest nuance. She is perhaps less famous for her own songwriting, however, so this album, which contains four songs Jungr has co-written with pianist Simon Wallace, is particularly welcome.
The feisty title-track is both a perfect opener and a succinct and witty summing up of Jungr’s musical journey (see this YOU TUBE CLIP for a fascinating first-hand account), and her other originals are similarly affecting, more than worthy of taking their place alongside such established classics as Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ (here given a typically sensitive reading emphasising the painful nature of the wait as much as the determined anticipation of change), Neil Young’s touching ‘Old Man’, Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’, Joni Mitchell’s wistful, self-deprecating ‘River’ et al.
Featuring a supremely adaptable, sparky band (including drummer Rod Youngs, bassist Neville Malcolm and stellar background vocalists Sarah Moule and Ian Shaw), and intelligently programmed so that the whole can be experienced like a carefully prepared live set, this is a wholly enjoyable album, immediately accessible but thoughtful and considered enough to richly reward repeated listening.