My Marquee
Barb Jungr and her Trio

Reviewer's rating

It’s an old chestnut that if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t there, man.  I can remember the sounds of the Sixties extremely well, and right enough, I wasn’t really there until the very end.  I completely missed out on the Summer of Love in 1967, though I was desperate to try the marijuana and LSD that everyone was talking about.  Barb Jungr confessed to a similar experience of not quite being there, not at first anyway, in her introduction to Paper Sun by Traffic.  But having an almost total recall of the words and the music that got inside my head during that far distant era certainly enhanced my appreciation of the wonderful music I heard at the well-known cabaret venue of Crazy Coqs last night.

Not being a regular on the cabaret scene, I had not actually heard of Barb Jungr, and was not expecting anything special, except a drubbing of the ears when I found myself seated in front of the drum kit.  How wrong I was!  This was a very special show, and I really enjoyed the drumming as much as anything else.  Barb’s wide vocal range has the backing of a superb Trio – comprising piano, bass and drums – while her comments and anecdotes between the songs establish a great rapport with the audience.

The show is based upon an album due out in August entitled My Marquee, after the famous music club in Soho through which so many bands passed in the Sixties on their way to stardom.  Miss Jungr has selected some of their best numbers and reinterpreted them in a jazz style.  Really to appreciate what she has done, it helps to be familiar with the originals.  Generation Z, I fear, would not have that advantage, and indeed I didn’t spot any of that generation among the audience.  The clarity of Miss Jungr’s diction enabled me to catch some of the words for the first time, which I didn’t get when listening to the records, e.g. Jethro Tull’s Living in the Past.  But for anyone at all familiar with the originals, comparing and contrasting the two versions would have given pleasure throughout the show.

There were some surprises.  Miss Jungr kicked off with Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant’s Song, and turned out to be a good substitute for Robert Plant.  In Substitute by The Who, Barb sounded much angrier than Roger Daltry, explaining that the song was a scathing attack on the English class system.  I actually learned quite a lot about the songs.  For another example, I didn’t know that This Wheel’s On Fire was written by Bob Dylan.  Psychedelia was well represented by acid-fuelled numbers like Flowers in the Rain, Hole in my Shoe and Itchycoo Park.  But hey, I mustn’t turn this review into a discography.  Let’s just say that it was “all too beautiful …”!

There are sure to be further performances based on the My Marquee album this summer.  Be sure to catch one!