Barb Jungr and John McDaniel
Come Together: The Music of The Beatles
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, November 7, 2015
Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes
What a treat for Manchester-born Barb Jungr: an opportunity to provide her unique insights into the music of The Beatles, having been there through the band’s brief but historic rise to fame and immortality. Jungr comes together with conductor, composer, record producer, Grammy/two-time Emmy Award winner John McDaniel in this fanciful retrospective of both iconic and lesser known Beatle songs, collaborating on the arrangements and harmonies.
Jungr is known for her unique interpretations of the music of Dylan, Brel, and Leonard Cohen. Her approach is fresh, enhanced by her animated physical deliveries that punctuate both the lyric and its intentions. “Things We Said Today,” attributed to McCartney, projects into the future, where nostalgia over past interactions are fondly remembered. “Piggies” and “Penny Lane,” attempts at political satire, reflect the strong and swift change from innocent pop to the social activism that swept through the mid 1960s.
Expressing the female viewpoint, Jungr sings a lovely medley of “And I Love Her”/”All My Loving”/”All You Need is Love” followed by “I Will.” Contrast that sequence with the male view in “Getting Better” and “Here, There and Everywhere,” illuminating the existential crisis created by the emergence of the modern liberated woman. McDaniel adds his stamp to “Mother Nature’s Son” and Jungr’s strongest vocal performances appear on a soaring “Something” (George Harrison) and “The Long and Winding Road.”
The bulk of the songs are McCartney’s, listed as Lennon/McCartney for Beatle-ese requirements. In this very concise show, buoyed by Jungr’s keen British sensibilities and perspective, the microcosm of a brief but blazing moment in world music history is revealed. Her vocal and interpretive skills are delightful and incisive, her charm inimitable.