1996. The second Big Rude Jake album, this recording has been called a Canadian classic. It’s dark, moody, and aggressive, and different from other sounds on the swing and jazz scenes of that time. It borrows heavily from several musical genres, and utilizes what many thought to be rather elaborate production techniques.
- “Buoyed by critical acclaim, but afraid of being pigeonholed as a “jazz artist,” Jake decided on a radical departure for his next studio project. He recorded what can only be described as an alternative rock album, entitled “Blue Pariah,” which features some of his most “outside” work. The musical influence is vast and eclectic, borrowing liberally from punk, soul, blues, rock-a-billy, ska, German cabaret music and jazz. Time signatures shift relentlessly, the lyrics are biting and fearsome, the emotions sweep across the spectrum of human trauma and the production, (courtesy of musical genius Pete Prelesnic and Rock Guitarist Gordi Johnson of Big Sugar), is exceptionally artistic if also uncompromisingly harsh. This is one scary album…
Predictably, “Blue Pariah” shocked a lot of people, but won over new listeners, especially in the USA, where certain alternative radio stations picked up the seminal “Swing Baby” as a radio single and made Big Rude Jake a popular figure among small pockets of listeners across North America.”
Lyrics1. Seventh Avenue Revisited
2. Cold Steel Hammer
3. Night of the King Snake
4. Swing Baby
5. Three Drunks at Last Call
7. The Girl in the Pink Canoe
8. The Artist
9. The Diner
10. Seventh Avenue Revisited
11. Blue Pariah (#3)
12. Lovesick Lullaby
- This is the second Big Rude Jake album, and a strange one at that. Blue Pariah was designed to push the limits of the neo-swing movement of the late 90’s. More than any other BRJ CD, this album mixes the raw elements of blues, jump, jazz, swing, cabaret, ska and punk in a way that no one could imagine at the time. It was designed to be the “alternative” swing album, for people who really wanted something different. The album was rejected by purists and embraced with powerful enthusiasm in the alternative rock scene. The song “Swing Baby!” is still a big fan favorite, and was, at the time, a radio hit in the Detroit area, even though Big Rude Jake had no distribution deal in the US! Considered by many to be a “true classic,” this amazing CD utterly transcends the era in which it was produced.
- Oh, yeah… That’s the stuff.
This is one of my favorite albums…ever…in life. Every song is a masterpiece…honest to FSM.
- I’d call this gutter swing. That’s right, swing. But this ain’t no happy-go-lucky shit. The vocals are coarse, gravelly and sing about working class life better than any punk album I’ve ever heard. Musically they take the rawest elements of punk, swing, jazz and blues and style them together in a way that’s both fun and dark at the same time.
- This one rocks hard but has some seriously impressive musicians and lyrics that don’t bore. I have had this for some time and still find myself playing it more than I expected to. If I owned a music store, I sure would have a hard time trying to figure out what bin to put it in.
- I love Big Rude Jake. This band is an excellent example of what popular music should be about. The album is a surprising mixture of Swing, Punk, Rockabilly, and Ska. They certainly do not sound like any other Swing band. Jake’s lyrics never lose a sense of grit and truthfulness. His songs at times have an honesty that reveal an inner loneliness and disillusionment. But Jake also never forgets his sense of humor. An attribute he shares with other complex artists such as Lou Reed or Tom Waits. He’ll make you want to cry with one song and dance with another. A very unique and creative band. I would highly recommend this album and every album by Big Rude Jake.
- They have this amazing blend of Rockabilly, Swing with just enough punk. The fusion is especially present in songs like “Cold Steel Hammer” or “Swing Baby”, the song that’s difficult to even describe due to the multiple musical styles represented. “Sliverman”, a haunting tongue in cheek song of a broken heart, or the tribute to oral gratification in “The Girl in the Pink Canoe”, or the dark sad imagery in “Lovesick Lullaby” or “The Diner”, Big Rude Jake is an incredibly talented songwriter with echoes of Tom Waits. The saddest thing about this band is that they didn’t get a wider audience. But such is the chaos and insanity of the music industry.
- If there’s a better album to listen to over cigars and gin, I haven’t heard it… As for the “Girl In the Pink Canoe”? Priceless. Probably the greatest “date song” ever released ;-)
- I saw Rude Jake In a club in Naperville Il. The place was jammin!!! Ever since then I love swing punk, and Rude Jake does it the BEST. You can’t go wrong with this CD or his new CD. If you ever get a chance to see Rude Jake Live, DO IT. You will have the time of your life.
- Big Rude Jake pulls out another great album, which I give a star higher rating than his first because in Blue Pariah, he truly accomplishes what he set out to do: evolve swing. Have a listen to Swing Baby! and you’ll see just what I mean. It has all the fire and passion of the swing scene, but adds a deeper, darker, brooding beat. Almost Dark Drum&Bass meets Swing in a few tunes, while keeping a few classics. It’s the ability to know where to take a step further and complete the album that makes Blue Pariah one to add to your collection.
Produced by: Gordie Johnson
Recorded by: Rob Selmanovic
Engineered and Mixed by: Peter Prilesnik
Musicians: Big Rude Jake (vocals), Gordie Johnson (guitars, bass, vocals), Al Cross (drums), Kelly Hoppe (harmonica), Alkaline (organ, wurlitzer piano, melodica, moog), John T. Davis (organ), Ashley MacIsaac (violin), Petronics (background vocals)