2

Barb Jungr: Stockport to Memphis

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Barb Jungr: Stockport to Memphis Since her breakthrough Chanson: The Space in Between (Linn, 2000), vocalist Barb Jungr has mainly released albums of songs by other people. Several have focused on the work of one performer, notably Every Grain of Sand (Linn, 2002), consisting of Bob Dylan songs, the Elvis Presley tribute Love Me Tender (Linn, 2005) and Just Like a Woman—A Hymn to Nina... Barb Jungr Sings Nina Simone (Linn, 2008). Others, such as The Men I Love: The New American Songbook (Naim, 2010), have been albums of Jungr's favorite contemporary songs.

Successful as those albums have been, collectively they have shifted the spotlight from Jungr's own songwriting, although a few of her post-2000 albums included Jungr compositions. On Stockport to Memphis, she tilts the balance back towards her compositions, while still featuring songs by her favorite songwriters. In the process, she has delivered an album that is more autobiographical and personal than any mentioned above.

There has long been a confessional, autobiographical element to Jungr's between-song chats to live audiences. Here, songs such as "Stockport to Memphis" and "New Life" reflect that side of her, focusing on her family history as well as capturing the excitement and vulnerability of a young woman leaving home. The lyrics of "New Life" eloquently convey that:

"When I waved goodbye to Stockport with a pirouette and song

and I took the bus to Manchester and danced the whole night long

Bought a ticket into Euston, said goodbye to everyone

and my heart was set on Beale Street and a new life had begun."


Accompanied by Mark Armstrong's muted trumpet, with a brief Simon Wallace piano solo, the track is exquisitely nostalgic.

Compared to those two songs, the album's other Jungr compositions evoke strong emotions just as well, although they do not have their autobiographical detail. So, "Urban Fox"—about the animal of the title—works at two levels, one literal, and one metaphorical. "Till My Broken Heart Begins to Mend," with fine harmonica from Jungr herself, does justice to the song's title.

As ever, Jungr's voice, phrasing and emphasis nail the essence of each song, making its meaning felt as much as heard. This is as true on others' songs as on her own. Of course, the album includes a Dylan song—"Lay Lady Lay," this time around given a tender reading with the entire band in top form, notably Wallace on atmospheric Hammond organ. Two other songs—Joni Mitchell's "River" and Hank Williams' "Lost on the River"—were key parts of Jungr's River set which she toured in 2010-11; both are superbly performed, benefitting from having been honed in front of live audiences. Other highlights—in an album full of them—include The Zombies classic "(S)he's Not There," given a subtle gender change, and Neil Young's "Old Man," which Jungr (born 1954) says she now appreciates more from the viewpoint of its subject than its writer. As this album demonstrates, she is maturing like fine wine.

Track Listing: Stockport to Memphis; Change is Gonna Come; River; Old Man; New Life; Urban Fox; (S)he’s Not There; Fisherman’s Blues; Lay Lady Lay; Sunset to Break Your Heart; Till My Broken Heart Begins to Mend; Lost on the River; Down in the Hole.

Personnel: Barb Jungr: vocals, harmonica, backing vocals; Simon Wallace: piano, Hammond organ; Jenny Carr: piano (4); Rod Youngs: drums; Neville Malcolm: double bass; Natalie Rozario: cello; Mari Wilson: backing vocals; Ian Shaw: backing vocals; Sarah Moule: backing vocals; Gary Hammond: percussion; Mark Armstrong: trumpet; Roddy Matthews: guitar (1).

Title: Stockport To Memphis | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Naim Jazz


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "LifeCycle" CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)" CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture" CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "One Minute Later" CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.