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Barb Jungr and John McDaniel: The Best of The Beatles and Sting

I’ve seen Barb Jungr a number of times over the years and have even reviewed her shows for this website. She normally appears with a pianist such as Jenny Carr, Simon Wallace, or Jamie Safir who mainly accompany Barb adding the occasional harmony and the odd bit of banter. However, her shows with John McDaniel are a bit more than that. McDaniel is not just a piano player but a renowned composer and conductor who has won a Grammy and a couple of Emmys and in the context of the show is much more of an equal partner who not only accompanies Jungr brilliantly but even gets a solo song or two to sing which he does superbly.

Barb Jungr and John McDaniel. Credit KWPR.
Barb Jungr and John McDaniel. Credit KWPR.

Jungr’s various shows (and there are many) always have a theme and the title of this one is self-explanatory: “The Best Of The Beatles and Sting” – a slightly odd combination but it works really well. The first half of the show features the music of Lennon & McCartney and George Harrison. It starts with “Got To Get You Into My Life” followed by a medley of “All My Loving” and “All You Need Is Love”. We then get the delightful “Eleanor Rigby” followed by “Whilst My Guitar Gently Weeps” sung wistfully by McDaniel whilst Jungr takes a well-earned rest. Then Jungr is back on her feet to sing a medley of “Something” and “The Long And Winding Road” followed by the last song in The Beatles section, “Come Together” complete with audience participation.

The Sting half started with “Wrapped Around My Finger” and featured “Fields Of Gold”, “King Of Pain”, “Shape Of My Heart”, “Until”, “Fragile” and the ubiquitous, “Message In A Bottle”. The seventy-five-minute set finished with the song that originally brought the pair together, Lennon & McCartney’s melancholy “In My Life” – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Because of covid, Jungr and McDaniel haven’t been able to perform together for a couple of years and you could feel the enjoyment the two were having in each other’s company being able to be together in the wonderful setting that is The Crazy Coqs. They dovetail wonderfully with McDaniel adding superb harmonies to Jungr’s powerful voice. There’s a real joy in seeing them singing together and observing the pure pleasure they get from performing these brilliant songs. In her other shows Jungr usually talks a lot in between songs but because of the banter between the two of them, there’s less of it although she does tell a cautionary tale about uncomfortable sex in a field before launching into Sting’s “Fields Of Gold”. There’s also an amusing story about how she bought the dress she’s wearing on a trip to visit McDaniel in America.

Like all of Barb Jungr’s shows, this one is a delight. The choice of songs is perfect, the rapport between her and McDaniel, two consummate artists, is a joy and of course, the venue is spot-on – what’s not to like?

5 Star Rating

Review by Alan Fitter

Barb Jungr and John McDaniel come together in 2 rare UK performances to celebrate the songs of The Beatles and Sting with their breathtaking, inspiring and often unexpected arrangements. This exciting collaboration formed between two giants of music, jazz and cabaret from both sides of the Atlantic – the extraordinary award-winning vocalist Barb Jungr and Grammy and Emmy award-winning arranger and pianist John McDaniel – celebrates the best of their recordings of The Beatles and Sting’s song catalogue in their own unique and inimitable fashion.Songs will include their much-loved arrangements of Until, The Long and Winding Road, Fragile, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, King of Pain, Fields of Gold and I Will amount many more. Barb and John have not played in the UK together since 2019, don’t miss the opportunity to hear them with McDaniel’s nonpareil musicality, harmonies and Jungr’s radiant voice and humour.The performances for Crazy Coqs serve the best of their two recordings for Kristalyn Records, Come Together – Barb Jungr and John McDaniel sing The Beatles and Float Like a Butterfly, Barb Jungr and John McDaniel sing the songs of Sting. Both are available on all streaming and Apple Music sites and https://www.barbjungr.co.uk/kristalyn-records

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