Jim Speake, actor-singer jim@jimspeake.com

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Jim Speake Lives the Sweet Life – A Review
October 3, 2016 Scott Barbarino Cabaret, Cabaret Reviews 
NiteLifeExchange.com


From 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.
Stevie 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.
The 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 Life” nowadays.
You can see this show this Saturday, October 8th at 4pm at Don’t Tell Mama.
 


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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 as

Best Male Vocalist!  

 Quotes 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. 

Rob 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. 

Stu 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.

 

 

 

This site  The Web 

CD released in 2010 

"Jim Speake sings My Generation"
songs from the 1960's and 1970'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

 Order now online.

free samples of all songs on both sites

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download the CD to your computer today. 

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Jim Speake is an actor/ singer living in New York City. Jim is originally from Alabama. His early years were spent on a cotton farm. He earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia.  After working as a Landscape Architect for the Historic American Building Survey in Washington, DC, he lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia where he was founder and President of Speake Garden Furnishings. This company sold quality garden furniture and accessories to the design trade from a showroom in The Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. While in Atlanta, Jim worked as an actor for several local theater companies including The Atlanta Lyric Theatre. He was also Vice President of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre. In 1996, Jim was one of four "Catfish" in the Opening Ceremonies of The US Olympic Games in Atlanta. 

 

Since moving to New York in 2000, Jim has continued to study acting and voice and has been cast in a number of Off Off Broadway productions in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He has also been in cabaret shows at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT as well as Birdland, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, The Encore, Don't Tell Mama, the Duplex and The Metropolitan Room in NYC. Jim is pleased to have been a member of the board of directors of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs for five years, and is pleased to have served as the secretary of the organization for four years. 

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  Jim Speake as a Catfish in  The 1996 US Olympic Games 
                 Opening Ceremonies Atlanta, Georgia

Click here: NBC coverage of 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Atlanta. Go to 3:40 min in to clip, listen for "Old Man River" look for Catfish leading the Riverboat.