自从加入Linn至今，芭菠．杨格已发行过四张个人专辑，2000年的首张专辑「Chanson：The Space in Between」，是将传统的法式香颂歌曲翻译成英文，并重新编曲成现代英国乐风的歌曲。2002的专辑「Every Grain Of Sand」风格更为鲜明，所选歌曲完全是民谣诗人巴布迪伦（Bob Dylan）的作品，经芭菠．杨格重新改编翻唱，而引起英国乐坛广泛的讨论与迴响。之后2003年的「Waterloo Sunset」更是趁胜追击，以巴布迪伦及其他艺人的经典歌曲作改编，再加入自身的创作曲，创造出属於芭菠．杨格的演绎风格。这张「Love Me Tender」则属个人第四张专辑，内容以精选猫王艾维斯．普里斯莱（Elvis Presley）的13首抒情歌曲为主，搭以其充满磁性的低哑嗓音重新詮释。
至於为何选择猫王的作品来重新詮释呢？芭菠．杨格这张「Love Me Tender」发行於2005年，刚好是猫王70岁冥诞，对於广大的猫王迷来说是个值得纪念的一年。又有新闻报导表示，猫王2004年的年收入仍高达四千五百万美金，合台币15亿元，堪称年收入最高的已故艺人，由此可想，芭菠．杨格选择猫王的成名曲做为改编翻唱的主题，或许的确有其市场性的考量；但相反的，若由此认定芭菠．杨格的这张专辑，只是为了追逐一时风潮而仓促推出的庸俗之作，却又大错特错了。
专辑选录的几乎都是猫王耳熟能详之作，但经过芭菠．杨格的重新詮释，已赋予这些的歌曲全新的生命。像「Are You Lonesome Tonight」速度是原曲的慢1/2，芭菠．杨格唱了8分多鐘，但并不完全是因为唱得慢，而是她把第一句唱了8次，2至5句各唱四次，第二段歌词完全没唱，又以口白方式将第一段各句跳著唸，营造的情绪与气氛极度深沈与深情，好像一辈子的情感浓的化不开，也舍不去，听完之后会令人回味再三。「Heartbreak Hotel」依然缓慢，还唱得有点Bjork的感觉。到了「Wooden Heart」又换了另一种心情，像是来到游乐园的旋转木马，在木琴与口风琴、竖笛的搭配下，心中多了一股热烘烘的暖意。第一首的「Love Letters Straight From You Heart」则使用了铁琴、管鐘与大提琴，唱得瀟洒自在，却又深情款款，充满依恋。标题曲「Love Me Tender」，钢琴从头到尾都维持著同样的节拍，芭菠．杨格则以她特有的低沈歌喉娓娓告白。另一首经典曲「Always On My Mind」也仅以钢琴伴奏，却又唱得清新脱俗，委婉可人。
1. Love Letters/情书
2. Heartbreak Hotel/伤心旅馆
3. Long Black Limousine/豪华礼车
4. Wooden Heart/铁石心肠
5. Are You Lonesome Tonight？/今夜你寂寞吗
6. Kentucky Rain/肯塔基之雨
7. In The Ghetto/贫民区
8. Love Me Tender/温柔地爱我
9. Always On My Mind/常驻我心
10. I Shall Be Released/我将解脱
11. Tomorrow Is A Long Time/来日方长
12. Looking For Elvis/寻找猫王
13. Peace In The Valley/宁静山谷
30 July 2005
Barb Jungr is surely not a beginner on the music scene. Her newest album, "Love Me Tender," will come as a surprise to all those who knew her alternative-cabaret period from just before her turning solo. "Chanson: The Space in Between" the compilation of French songs performed in English released in 2000 might have given us a certain foresight into what could be expected from "Love Me Tender". Then again, even then, you could easily feel the cabaret spirit. Yes, I believe it's the 2002 album "Every Grain of Sand" could be considered a chance of style. It was an album with standards... but they were from Bob Dylan. Shortly afterwards (2003), came another reprise of his work on "Waterloo Sunset".
Recorded in the Jonathan Cooper and Livingston Studios in November and December 2004, and released a little while later - 7th march 2005 - "Love Me Tender" truly is a work of art. It truly evolves what Jungr has already worked on in the past, while at the same time leads the beautiful, delicate and thrifty means of expression to their extremes. This is simply a beautiful album. The faux-slow, faux-calm songs thrive with hidden dynamics and tension. The disc features mainly arrangements of Elvis Presley's songs, two Bob Dylan pieces and one written by Barb Jungr and Adrian York. You have never heard such arrangements yet, even of those standards. You can't help but wonder if those songs weren't written especially for Jungr and her voice, after listening to her album.
The sound on the album is both precise and soft. Such attributes are most commonly found on LPs, which is a very high distinction. The first song, Love Letters clearly shows a magnificent, deep and very detailed stage. The viol that comes in the second minute has been set up in the further parts of the stage does not sound thwarted nor do you feel it's presence is lessened in any way. Jungr's voice has been gathered quite close, which might suggest that there is a slight lack of space. The tone and texture were, however, exceptional. Thanks to it's quality and intimacy, you can actually forget about the close perspective. My personal favorite and a piece of art is the Long Black Limousine, where the depth of the stage is staggering. And as the description clearly shows, it has been created artificially! The entering of additional instruments could be compared to a delicate noise (perhaps the hypothesis of an analogue recording was correct), which did sound just as recordings on an analogue Studer - not opposed to the primary sound, but interlaced with it in some organic way. The gongs moving behind the listener's head, from left to right, will help verify the correct phasing of the equipment. They should progress in a smooth and calm way. And the test for playing smaller signals - the first couple of seconds have a slight hum in the left channel.
All songs show a perfectly caught balance between the fullness of Jungr's voice and it's texture. It is very easy to make her voice sound in a heavy, even nasal way. If we can hear such an effect, it means something is wrong with our equipment - for example, the speakers could be too close the walls. Another example - the piano in Kentucky Rain was resonant, and yet you did not get an impression of listening to it with your head below the piano flap. It must have been gathered quite close, still that does not pose a problem. Quite the contrary, as with the strings in I Shall Be Released, it sounds as if from a slight distance in a clear, but not exaggerated way. Knowing, we are listening to a multi channel recording, it is hard not to wonder at the capabilities of the engineers.
"Love Me Tender" is - in my opinion - one of the best Linn Records' albums and generally a very good album. The technical side is awe inspiring, while it enhances the musical content. Which is exactly as things should be.
The SACD layer is both 5.1 channel and 2-channel. The Studio Master files are 96kHz / 24-bit.
Download includes - cover art, booklet
Produced by Barb Jungr, Adrian York & Calum Malcolm
all* vocals & tambourine: Barb Jungr
celeste, piano, vocoder programming, synth, organ, bells, waterfone and soundscape recordings: Adrian York
clarinets, piano, keyboard samples and sounds cape: Jonathan Cooper
violin: Miriam Teppich & Dominika Rosiek
viola: Rebecca Brown
cello: Thangam Debbonaire
harp: Billy Jackson
acoustic bass: Mario Castronari
*backing voices: Barb Jungr, Mari Wilson, Ian Shaw (track 13)
Barb Jungr writes:
Night. Some mythical Deep South. Looking through the frayed, gently blowing curtains into the large room of a decaying ante bellum house. Vines push through the ceiling and roots puncture the floorboards. On a chair, in the moonlight, a woman in a faded ball gown sits, spine straight, eyes straight ahead, cradling the bruised and bloodied body of her dreams to her heart. In the corner of the room casting intermittent green light a modem blinks. Beating time. Silently.
That’s the picture that came to me when this collection of songs came together. With this repertoire and the memory of the King, something happened and the songs and the language we needed musically, emerged of their own accord.
The songs are not all obvious, though some are. They chose themselves as soon as I started to peel the list down and work on the material. The lyrics, when exposed, tell a very different story of life, love, loss and faith now, and speak to the memory of the great singer who sang them half a century ago.
I am indebted to Howard Thompson for pushing me towards this repertoire, to my stupendous arrangers Adrian and Jonathan, and of course Calum Malcolm - who have to put up with me talking in images and demanding the impossible, and to all the friends and colleagues who gave research help, song suggestions and encouraged in every way.
Arrangements: Adrian York and Jonathan Cooper.
Recordings: Calum Malcolm, Adrian York and Jonathan Cooper.
Recorded at Livingston Studios with help from Jon Olliffe., and at Adrian York and Jonathan Cooper’s studios.
Mixed by Calum Malcolm and Adrian York at Calum Malcolm’s studio.
Photos and sleeve design: John Haxby
Barb Jungr’s Website design James Johnstone
01. Love Letters 3:13
02. Heartbreak Hotel 4:04
03. Long Black Limousine 4:23
04. Wooden Heart 3:04
05. Are You Lonesome Tonight? 8:03
06. Kentucky Rain 4:49
07. In the Ghetto 3:39
08. Love Me Tender 5:28
09. Always On My Mind 5:05
10. I Shall Be Released 5:32
11. Tomorrow is a Long Time 6:00
12. Looking for Elvis 3:44
13. Peace in the Valley 2:56