Barb Jungr: Hard Rain: The Songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen

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Barb Jungr

Hard Rain: The Songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen

Joe’s Pub, NYC, July 9, 2015

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Photo: Steve Ullathorne
Photo: Steve Ullathorne

I am not a fan of Bob Dylan and even less a fan of Leonard Cohen. Nonetheless, I was eager to see Barb Jungr’s show Hard Rain: The Songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen because I had previously seen a marvelous Dylan tribute show by her. A British chansonniere, Jungr is a dynamic, kinetic vocalist whose elocution and exquisite diction make the lyrics of Dylan and Cohen very meaningful. She is also extraordinarily witty and a joy to watch.

The opening number, Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” was done in a manner that left the audience breathless. Jungr jokingly remarked that she collected songs with the most words, which was definitely applicable to Cohen’s “Who by Fire.” She took a break from singing with a monologue hilariously comparing the very different personalities of Dylan and Cohen. Jungr’s remarkable work on harmonica added to the enjoyment of Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell.” “The Future” featured an excellent piano solo by accompanist Tracy Stark, whose work throughout was exciting and moved the show along nicely. Calling Dylan the American Shakespeare, Jungr closed with a non-stop breathless, extremely lively “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” The audience (even me) joined Jungr in singing the encore, “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Barb returns to Joe’s Pub July 16 & 17.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.