After the tightly-focused spotlight on the late Nina Simone's repertoire that was Just Like A Woman, Barb Jungr returns to her wide-ranging selections from The Great American Songbook with The Men I Love.
Although, being Jungr, the songs are often treated to odd interpretations which have the effect of turning familiar friends into complete strangers. In part, this is due to the instrumental palette favoured by Jungr and her co-arranger Simon Wallace, which features limpid tones of piano, organ, cello and woodwind – perfect for a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Night Comes On" poised on the cusp of relaxation and anticipation, but less effective on a version of "I'm A Believer" improbably transformed into a torch song, sacrificing its pop charm in the process. Perhaps the most successful, and revolutionary, interpretation is of Talking Heads' "Once In A Lifetime", on which piano, cello, shakuhachi and subtle percussion create an almost oriental mystery reflected in the inquisitive, airy innocence of Jungr's delivery. But the treatment meted out to "You Ain't Going Nowhere" is just plain wrong. Likewise, Jungr's "This Old Heart Of Mine" loses the sheer ecstatic momentum of the Isleys' original. Ultimately, she's on safest ground dealing with big, evocative choruses that reliably fountain emotion, most effectively here on and "Wichita Lineman".
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