Defiance / self-titled
This is the third and one of the most commercially successful BRJ albums. Released internationally on Roadrunner Records in 1999, some people mistakenly assume that it’s Jake’s first. This is because it was self-titled, as is typical of many first albums. Indeed, for many Europeans, this truly was Jake’s premiere, being his first commercial release outside of Canada.
Ironically, once the most accessible of all Big Rude Jake albums, it’s now the hardest to find. It went out of print, but it’s hoped that Roadrunner/Universal will make it more easily available again, at least digitally.
In the meantime Jake was able to strike a deal with with them, procuring the right to print a small quantity of this classic. We are told that downloads are available (scroll down for links) and, if you catch Jake at a show, he might have a few copies for sale from the stage. The cover has changed from the original release, but the songs are the same. Some call this CD Defiance, rather than “the self-titled album,” as Defiance was the originally intended name.
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Lyrics1. Gotham City Serenade
2. Queer for Cat
3. Mercy for the Monkey Man
4. Buster Boy (Walk Tall)
5. Song for Lilly Christine
6. Blue Pariah (#1)
7. Speak Easy
8. Dinner with the Devil
9. East Side Jive
10. Let’s Kill All the Rock Stars
11. Andy’s Requiem
- This is cabaret-influenced jump blues. The music on the album strays from the power dance jive we have been getting hit with, and goes deeper into the strain. The obvious Southern influences are there, and when coupled with the smoky jazz feel we are given the sound to revive the revival.
Jake’s sound is sure to be enjoyed by most everyone. I have played it for everyone from High Schoolers to Grandparents, with no complaints from anyone… “Dinner with the Devil” definitely borrows from the styles of Rockabilly and “Let’s Kill all the Rock Stars” is a punk-swing combo that redefines the limits of swing & jazz.
- The true shining gem of this album is the lyrics and vocals. It is deeply rooted in politics and the realities of life. Songs like “Mercy for the Monkey Man” speak of the fears Jake has for society and himself – that we do not become trapped by our desires. In “Dinner with the Devil” Jake starts out with a vocal style straight from the 30s and goes into a power-driven style filled with an angry tone perfect for the song. Everything speaks to the listener – no one is alienated by these lyrics because he is the everyman. Included on the album are two spoken word pieces – which I amazingly enjoyed. Spoken word usually never grabs me, but the smoky jazz-lounge style in which they are done, along with the captivating voice of Jake drew me in. Every song shines, but I must make one thing clear. Jake is not your happy-go-lucky music. He tackles life and does it tactfully and tastefully. His character is one of true professionalism with a bottle of genius and a shot of sarcasm.
bill aicher 1999
- Big Rude Jake’s album came out on Tuesday, February 23, 1999 on Roadrunner Records. It is one of the most innovative “swing” albums released in this recent swing resurgence. The album received a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 on our site (www.music-critic.com) and has been received with open hands by the music community. One of the songs, “Queer for Cat” can be be found on the March 1999 CMJ Monthly magazine
- What do you get when you combine Morphine, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Duke Ellington? You get Big Rude Jake. BRJ’s latest album(self titled) is smooth ride through, back alley jazz joints, smokey lounge clubs, and seedy watering holes. Such an eclectic mix of styles could very easily produce a watered down, bland sound as the styles clash and overlap, but Jake avoids that by playing to the strengths of those genres, creating something all together new. His penchant for non-pc lyrics is probably his strongest and most striking attribute, but will undoubtedly also cause him the most trouble… but that’s also what makes the music so much fun. Every one of the 12 tracks on the album tells it like it is, without sugarcoating, and that’s where the music derives its real kick.
BRJ began in Canada nine years ago, long before the new “swing” scene began to take hold, and the band’s originality, versatility and unique sound will ensure that BRJ will be around long after the fadsters trade in their wing tips and zoot soots for the latest hip new apparel.
- I absolutely adore this upbeat, fun music. Big Rude Jake is where its at in the swing world. This cd is amazing! I saw him perform live, he is a king!
- Big Rude Jake throw their (collective) fedora into the neo-Swing thing, and what separates them from the pack is the rowdy, decidedly politically-incorrect sense of humor that infuses their lyrics. The mysteries of modern romance are discussed in “Queer For Cat” and the scathing “Let’s Kill All The Rock Stars” speaks for itself. In some ways, Big Rude Jake are closer to their historical forefathers Louis Jordan and Wynonnie Harris than many of their ilk—Harris and Jordan did topical songs with a strong shot of satire, not to mention a healthy dose of leering (but good-natured) lust for the fruits of the tree of Love. The music has more of a rock and roll whomp to it than the neo-Swing-set, and Jake sounds a bit like ex-Wall Of Voodoo singer Stan Ridgway.
- I first encountered Big Rude Jake about two years ago on the main stage at Harborfest in Oswego, New York. The band’s electrifying music stopped people in their tracks and lured them over to the stage. The songs on this album are wonderfully written with richly textured melodies and stories to tell. I believe that this album is a must for the neo-swing fan, as it combines the spirit of swing with a modern twist.
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Personnel: Big Rude Jake (writing, vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion); Jessie Barksdale (guitar, banjo, tenor saxophone); David Baxter (guitar, bass, percussion); Peter Hudson, Jeremy Wilms (guitar); Wally Jerico (alto saxophone, trumpet); Rob Fenton (tenor & baritone saxophone); Jeff Pierce (trumpet, cornet); James Stager (trombone); Tyler Yarema (piano, Hammond organ); Jay Brunca (bass); Dylan Fusillo (drums); Michelle Joseph, Ron Burman, Ormond Jobin, Erik Krallisch (percussion); Julie Michaels (background vocals).