Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan

Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Festival Highlights
Musicians Barb Jungr (vocals); Jenny Carr (piano); Jessica Lauren (organs, harmonics. melodica) Producer James Seabright Lighting Phil Hunter (original lighting design by Guy Dickens)
Barb Jungr

Fabulous! Fantastic! Inspirational! This five star show is sheer perfection. Barb Jungr's love of Bob Dylan's music combines with her amazing voice and charisma to create a real work of art. Every single song is a precious jewel which is taken out and shown in all it's beauty and individuality.

Barb Jungr brings an unusual blend of confidence and humility to her work of interpreting Dylan's music. She is completely comfortable with her music and with the audience, but always reminds us that it is the genius of Bob Dylan which created the raw material which she crafts into a new masterpiece.

Dylan's songs are a joy to listen to, poetic and inspiring. I hadn't realised until I heard Barb Jungr that interpretation and imaginative arrangement could add so much to something of such intrinsic quality. She mentions that critics have called some arrangements brave which she realises is not always a compliment. Her arrangements are brave, but only because she is totally fearless in following her passion for all aspects of the music. She follows her instincts to express what the song is really saying and gives 100%.

There is never a hint of holding back with Barb Jungr. She goes for it and the enthusiastic audience willingly follow where she leads. She builds up a fantastic rapport with the audience very quickly. She is naturally funny, engaging and very likeable. She achieves longer ovations for each number than most performers receive at the end of a show. She obviously loves what she does and she shares her experience of expressing Dylan's poetry in all its eloquence, through a wide range of emotions. The biting wit of Things have changed and Tangled up in blue is sharp and passionate. In her hands I want you is the most hauntingly beautiful expression of longing you are likely to hear. The gospel rhythms of Ring them bells rock the auditorium.

I had never heard Sara a stunning ballad which Dylan wrote for his wife when they were separating. As Barb says: Is it any wonder she did not remarry? How do you adjust to a normal life after having inspired such a poetic love? In her sensitive rendition it feels as though Barb Jungr is allowing us to read Dylan's very personal diary and you feel privileged and in awe of such profound love and such an expression of it.

I'll be your baby tonight is still the ultimate seduction song and Forever young is witty and uplifting.

My favourite moment was at the end of an awe-inspiring interpretation of Like a Rollin' Stone. As I wiped the tears away I realised everyone around me was doing the same - and they were mostly men! (All done very discreetly of course - this is Edinburgh after all!)

It made me realise that the expression "it blew me away" is overused, as this song did exactly that in the most powerful and expressive way.

Jenny Carr on piano and Jessica Lauren on organs, harmonics and melodica blend so well with Barb Jungr and bring so much talent and expression to their support of her.

Lighting by Phil Hunter is atmospheric, creative and exactly right for the production. Sound quality is excellent. When the lyrics are as beautiful and poetic as Dylan's you want to hear every word and in this show you can.

Unfortunately this show was for one night only but if you can catch it another time it is well worth it. It's a moving, expressive, creative masterpiece which does justice to the magic of Bob Dylan's music. The words "beautifully crafted" were just made for this show.

© Mairi Anderson 5 August 2007. First published on