Manchester-born, London-based cabaret performer Barb Jungr, likely a familiar face to those who regularly frequent the fabled Ronnie Scott's, has previously delighted us with clever, thoughtful nods to Jacques Brel (Chanson: The Space in Between from 2000) and Bob Dylan (2002's Every Grain of Sand). Now, in that distinctly winning style of hers that suggests Peggy Lee funneled through Joan Baez, Jungr tackles a much broader theme-masks, real or imagined, that we all tend to wear from time to time-on the engagingly eclectic Waterloo Sunset (Linn).
Selections range from obvious (Leon Russell's "This Masquerade") to ostentatious ("The Great Valerio," Richard Thompson's purposefully inflated, Barnum-esque salute to "acrobats of love") and oddly intriguing (that twangy Everly Brothers paean to duplicity, "Cathy's Clown"). Dylan's "High Water," which Jungr aptly describes as an "extraordinary journey" is delivered with a driving intensity, "Like a Rolling Stone" (with its theme-fitting "jugglers and clowns") is less forcefully cynical than the original but every bit as bitingly bilious and her self-penned "Lipstick Lips Lament" unfolds like a Julie London-esque warning to "archeologists of the human heart." Jungr navigates the soft-flowing tide of Ray Davies' title tune with wistful contentment and manages what may well be the first female cover of Steve Miller's testosterone-fueled "The Joker." None can, however, quite compare to the self-absorbed remorse that Jungr lends to Charles de Forest's dusky lament to perennial bridesmaids, "When Do the Bells Ring for Me?".