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WEAVING distinctive interpretations of classic songs alongside original compositions with anecdotal narrative that is both revealingly personal and highly comical, UK singer Barb Jungr is everything cabaret should be.

In Stockport To Memphis, also the title of her new album from which this show’s setlist was almost entirely drawn, she takes us on a journey from the place where she wasn’t born (but did grow up) to a destination she has yet to visit.

The notable exception was the jaunty Everybody Knows, with Jungr highlighting the humour in Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, singing through her smile as the song built in drama and intensity.

From the lovely, sad but beautiful original ballad Sunset To Break Your Heart, through the first of many killer harmonica solos on ‘Til My Broken Heart Begins To Mend, Jungr showed she is as gifted a songwriter as she is translator of others’ work.

Water featured thematically in gospel and blues infused covers of Joni Mitchell’s River and Hank Williams’s slow, contemplative Lost on the River. The Zombies’ She’s Not There underwent a sex change, with Jungr almost signing the lyrics as she acted them out.

She took a high register and sparse arrangement for Neil Young’s Old Man, and tried to put a feminist spin on a melodramatic reading of Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay.

Highlights included the devilish, menacing storytelling of Tom Waits’s theme from TV series The WireWay Down In The Hole, and the emotive eruption of soul on Jungr’s farewell cover of Sam Cooke’s Change Is Gonna Come.

Patrick McDonald  From:adelaidenow  June 11, 2013 10:36am