By: Paulanne Simmons
February 17, 2020: Several times a year, British chanteuse Barb Jungr comes to New York City. On those occasions she lights up the cabaret stage like few other performers. You can fall in love with Jungr because of her tremendous talent as a raconteur, her wicked sense of humor, and her insightful jazz and blues inflected interpretations of familiar and not so familiar songs. Or you can just thrill to her beautifully expressive voice that can be tender, vulnerable or furious.
Jungr came to Joe’s Pub on Feb. 14 and 15 because her traditional Valentine’s Day venue was not available. This was extremely fortuitous for longtime fans of Jungr in New York City. The gig undoubtedly also earned her many new fans. The show coincides with the release of Jungr’s newest album, “Bob, Brel and Me.”
Although Jungr claims she’s an incurable romantic, many of her choices for her Valentine’s Day repertoire are hardly regarded as love songs: Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” Brel’s “Jacky.” But Jungr is so convincing we start to reconsider our previous assessment.
In fact, Jungr herself is constantly reassessing her work. The Brel translations are all new. And the Dylan songs are ones she’s never tackled before.
When Jungr does sing a truly romantic song, such as Brel’s “If We Only Had Love,” she tears our heart apart. And Jungr’s “No-One Could Ever Wear Your Shoes” is a searing testament to love lost.
Not many performers can physically command the stage in the way Jungr does. She struts. She leaps, She bends. She waves her arms. She seems to be welcoming us into her world.
And if all that weren’t enough, Jungr has once again engaged an extraordinary pianist, Mark Hartman, who knows how to let Jungr soar without ever suppressing his own considerable talent.
If you didn’t catch this tremendous show, don’t worry. Jungr will be back!
Joe’s Pub is located at 425 Lafayette Street @ Astor Place in NYC.