Barb Jungr: Bare Again
Label: ZC Music Group, Inc.
Barb Jungr: Bare Again
The 1999 album Bare, a near-live album recorded by Overtones Productions for Irregular Records has been unavailable for some time. Inspired by an invitation to re release it from ZC Music in the USA, Barb added three other Irregular tracks released on '9 by 2' and a CD produced for The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Christoph Bracher remixed the original album and artist and photographer Garry Laybourn produced a new cover based on his original sleeve in 1999. During the production of the re-release Barb's friend and long time accompanist and collaborator, Russell Churney, sadly died. This album, on which Russell accompanies Barb on piano on fourteen tracks, is a celebration of his artistry and musicianship.
|1||King of the Road||2:45|
|3||Where Are You Now?||3:30|
|5||Me and Bobby McGhee||7:11|
|6||What Lovers Do||3:36|
|7||Les Amants D'Un Jour||3:35|
|8||What A Waste||3:53|
|12||Dancers To The Dawn||3:16|
|14||Just For Today|
|15||Song For Dan|
There are just a whole bunch of of talented women working in Britain and Europe, who deserve to be heard more often in the Colonies. Barb Jungr is one of them. Okay, maybe not on my local "Smooth Jazz" station, which plays everything but jazz. But somewhere...hello? XM Radio? Sirius NPR? You're missing something good, here.
This is a re-release of Ms. Jungr's 1999 album, "Bare," with three additional tracks from Ms. Jungr's earlier work. I won't go into Ms. Jungr's biography in detail, except to say it's easily found here and here. Ms. Jungr and a piano - the late Russell Churney - complete the performing credits on this, and when you've got a voice like hers, that's plenty. It's a perfect combination - his piano is every bit as expressive as her voice. This may well be the definitive turn of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." Most of the tracks are covers - you haven't heard the Kinks' "Waterloo Station" like this before - there are several original tracks, as well. One of them, "Dancers To The Dawn," is particularly beautiful. The official bio makes comparisons to Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and Edith Piaf (Edith Piaf?) Barb Jungr sounds like a very, very good Barb Jungr to me. To me - she's one of those artists you compare others to - as in, "so-and-so may get to sound like Barb Jungr...when she has lived a little more."
This disc gets a highest recommendation from me. If Ms. Jungr's voice has this impact on me - through an old Marantz amp, and my ratty Koss Pro-Fours - I can only imagine what she sounds like on Linn's big rigs...or even better, in person.
Four microphones (out of four), www.girlsingers.org
Bare, ostensibly Barb Jungr's first solo album, certainly lives up to its title, in content and in execution. It is stripped-down, both musically and emotionally, with only Jungr's astonishingly supple voice and Russell Churney's piano accompaniment to do its selling. And sell the duo certainly does, peeling away the layers and getting to the very core of this fine set of songs, which includes a couple weathered chestnuts alongside several unconventional cover choices and a trio of spirited original songs, all dressed down and imagined or reimagined in inimitable cabaret style. As far as the old standbys are concerned, Jungr gives "Me and Bobby McGee" another run for its money, teasing out its juke joint undertones, but can't quite steal the song from Janis Joplin. She also dusts off (quite beautifully, if not definitively) Leonard Cohen's warhorse "Suzanne." The less orthodox selections are more rewarding. The singer recasts Roger Miller's country classic "King of the Road" as a bawdy blues tune, and her "Waterloo Sunset" is a lovely, pastoral prayer in comparison to the Kinks' reading. Even more pleasantly surprising, Ian Dury & the Blockheads' "What a Waste," with its new arrangement, blooms into a sensational showstopper, while Judy Collins' "My Father" simply glistens. The Jacques Brel cover ("Sons Of") is, typically, ravishing. Bare is, above all, an appealing sample of the sort of repertoire and style that Jungr had been developing throughout the decade. In fact, the album's genesis ran hand in hand with a pair of the singer's trademark showcases, Bare and Red Roses Blue Ladies, in which some of these songs were featured. But it also served as a wonderful dry run for the pair of landmark albums that immediately followed from the artist.
by Stanton Swihart (Original 'Bare' Review 1999)
"Bare Again sees a welcome return to the catalogue of Barb Jungr's first solo album, Bare, recorded in 1999. Her sole release prior to her long-standing relationship with Linn Records, the re-issue includes three tracks co-written with pianist and longtime accompanist Russell Churney, previously available only on now deleted Irregular Records compilations. During the preparation of the reissue Churney sadly passed away – Jungr dedicates the re-release to him and her father Miroslav. A typically genre-defying set that limns the singer's communicative power and expressive warmth, standouts include the country classic 'King of the Road' recast as a blues, a freshly minted and gossamer-light 'Waterloo Sunset', an emotive reading of Jacque Brel's anti-war classic 'Sons Of', plus Leonard Cohen's much recorded 'Suzanne'. 'Mother Tongue' is perhaps the most striking of the three new tracks-huge, incantatory and almost Debussyesque block chords in the piano enveloping a statuesque vocal line of beguiling simplicity."
Jazzwise, September 2007