Jim Speake Lives the Sweet Life –
3, 2016 Scott Barbarino Cabaret, Cabaret Reviews
the moment Jim Speake steps on stage, you know you’re in for a special night of cabaret. Having done his first cabaret
show to celebrate his 60th birthday, he is relatively new to genre, if not this earth and he has studied well and learned
the craft. His patter, in an authentic Southern drawl, has charm and is in the moment. The “aw, shucks” quality
comes through when he questions himself with an “I’m thirsty today?” while reaching for a sip of water.
There’s a joy that Jim Speake brings to his performance that’s like a little boy with a new toy. He gets the essence
of what a good cabaret show should be.
Ray Watkins has deftly crafted arrangements to perfection which are well suited to Jim. “Your Mama Don’t Dance”
(Music & Lyrics by Jim Messina and Kenny Loggins) was particularly well done; so much so that Jim lets out a howl at the
end, not necessarily what you’d expect from the pleasant, mild-mannered gent on stage, but spot on. The harmonies in
“Not the Boy Next Door” (Music and Lyrics by Peter Allen and Dean Pitchford) and “I Hear A Symphony”
(Music & Lyrics by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland & Edward Holland) where exquisitely delivered with subtlety and never
over-powering Mr. Speake.
musicians rounding out this evening, which they kept musically, very tight while still getting to jam at times, were Donna
Kelly (Drums & Percussion), Matt Scharfglass (Bass) & Peter Calo (Guitar). Jim Speake’s delivery of “You
Don’t Know Me” (Music & Lyrics by Cindy Williams and Eddie Arnold) was accompanied by a brilliant sweet guitar
solo by Mr. Calo and created a particularly dreamy moment in the show.
Hats off to Lennie Watts who wears two for this show, as back-up singer and
director. There’s a lot of talent up on that stage surrounding Jim Speake (Lennie Watts, Karen Mack, Rachel Hanser and
Stevie Ray Watkins), but Watts makes it solid behind Jim’s voice, charm and honest delivery keeping him center stage.
Jim tells us he was a rebel as he talks about his
first set of wheels and how he’d go to the drive-in with three in the front, four in the back and two in the trunk.
Ah, for those simpler times. The title of Jim’s CD, Sweet Life, which is celebrated with this performance, perfectly
explains him and he shares it generously with us with his song and style. After all, who couldn’t use a little “Sweet
can see this show this Saturday, October 8th at 4pm at Don’t Tell Mama.
The "Sweet Life" recording WON
the 2016 Lamott Friedman Recording Award given by the members of MAC, the Manhattan Assoiciation of Cabarets and Clubs
Sample the songs from "Sweet Life" recording by clicking here.
Title song for the recording, "Sweet Life"
Click here and go directly to "Sweet Life" on CD Baby.com
"Sweet Life" CD available now, see link to CD Baby above.
Also available on iTunes
"Jim Speake" was nominated for a 2015 MAC Award by the
Manhattan Assocaition of Cabarets and Clubs
Best Male Vocalist!
about Jim Speake sings Cy Coleman, “I’m A Brass Band”
By Kevin Scott Hall of the Bistro Awards
“His persona is kind of like Mister Rogers with
an easy southern drawl….. his simple, honest delivery brought a lump to the throat….…..Jim Speake’s
heart is clearly in the right place and we came to appreciate the songs in his more understated style. And that is the point
of cabaret—bigger isn’t always better.”
"Jim Speake Sings'Til the Cows Come
Home" was nominated for a 2013 MAC Award by the Manhattan Assocaition of Cabarets and Clubs in the best Musical Comedy Performer Category! Jim and this
same show were also nominated for Best Musical Comedy Performance by BroadwayWorld.com.
Videos of selected songs on YouTube:
Video: click here for "Here's To Life" on youtube
VIDEO: click here for "Life Is" opening song from "Jim Speake Sings 'til the Cows Come Home"
VIDEO: Click here for "I Feel Lucky" from "Jim Speake Sings 'til the Cows Come Home"
Video: click here for "Little Egypt" on youtube
VIDEO: click here for YouTube "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life"
VIDEO: Click here for YouTube video of "Solitaire"
VIDEO: Click here for "Don't Mess Around With Jim Medley" from My Generation Show, Don't Tell Mama, NYC
Video: click here for "The Rules of the Road" on youtube
Three quotes about "Jim Speake
Sings 'Til the Cows Come Home"
If charm counts for a lot, the soft-spoken
Alabama transplant wins extra points for aw-shucks amiable personality and entrenched Southern gentleman manner that bring
a refreshing modesty.
Lester - Cabaret Scenes
Jim Speake invites you to join him for an
hour of true bliss and entertainment... Entertain he does, in spades, in this gem of a show that will play games with your
emotions - comic to serious.
Hamstra - Cabaret Hotline
...dapper and poised... optimistic and smooth...
Jim Speake truly did sing “’til
the cows came home” ...communicating his joy with every number...
Joel Benjamin- TheaterScene.net
About "Jim Speake Sings 'Til the Cows Come Home"
: It's a celebration of life!
Singing songs written by Kander and Ebb, Mary Chapin Carpenter,
Cy Coleman, Barry Manilow, Dave Grusin, Gilda Radner, Neil Sedaka, Peter Allen, Billy Joel, Dale Evans and Stephen Sondheim,
Jim illustrates life experiences both serious and comic. Special Guest Sidney Myer, Music Direction by Steven Ray Watkins
and the Cow Band, Direction by Lennie Watts at Don't Tell Mama.
released in 2010
"Jim Speake sings My Generation"
songs from the 1960's
With Wendy A. Russell and Lennie Watts
Musical Director: Steven Ray Watkins
Drums: Jerry Smith
Bass: Dan Fabricatore
Director: Lennie Watts
Recorded live at Don't Tell Mama, NYC
free samples of all songs on both sites
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