Thursday, April 2, 2009

Barb Jungr: You’ve come a long way baby

In this fast moving world, some things don’t change and are more valuable because of that.

One of these institutions is the Café Carlyle at The Carlyle hotel in New York City. Dining and watching cabaret there is pretty much the same today as it was 30 years ago. We’re talking traditional high quality food, a sensational wine cellar of classic French and Italian reds, old world service, and top entertainers. Bobby Short made the venue his own for half a century and I was lucky enough to see one of his last performances.

Last week I went to see Barb Jungr. Barb was born in Rochdale and grew up in Manchester about the same time as I was growing up in nearby Lancaster. She put on a performance singing songs written by men she admired, including a great performance of Springsteen’s “The River”. There were also magnificent selections from Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Todd Rundgren, Edwin Starr, and a barnstorming “Red Red Wine” (Neil Diamond). It made for a great night.

I got into Barb’s music through a Dylan cover she did called “Every Grain of Sand”. Last week I bought her latest collection of Nina Simone pieces. Awesome. She’s a terrific entertainer, linking every song with a story about her background and what the song means to her. Many of these stories collide with the places and times I remember so well from that great 60’s/70’s period in the Northwest of England.

After the show we had the chance for a quick catch up to reminisce about Rochdale and Lancaster. She’s come a long way baby!