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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/Warner 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.

Want to know more? Get in touch at info@bigrudejake.ca


1. 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

1. Bearing a cross in a jerk-water ‘burg,
Where the fact of the matter takes a turn for the worst.
And getting out of bed is too much work,
When you’re dead wide-awake and you don’t care.

When Mike the Spike came into sight,
After shagging a rose down in Brooklyn Heights.
He’s says the Big Town is gonna wail tonight,
And don’t you know that I’m gonna be there.

I wish you could be here with me,
On this night in New York City.
I wish you were standing here,
As Broadway opens up her arms.
When the crimson skyline bruises black,
And lights up like a favourite song,
I wish you could be here with me,
On this night in New York City.

And in the project homes in Bedford Stuy,
Some sevens flights into the sky
A sweet young thing talks to her guy,
With one leg on the windowsill.

She says, they might give you accolades,
And they might play at lawn croquet,
In beatnik shades of pigeon gray,
But they won’t love you like I will…

And she says..

The Geronimo Kid was the new St. George,
With a Gibson guitar for a rapier sword.
Drove a Cutlass Supreme to the Rockaway shore,
Slew a hep-cat dragon, jammin’ on the beach.

And the pork-pied-piper blew that song ,
And the Jericho walls came a-tumblin’ down.
And the rats assembled in the middle of the town
And they danced into the shadows and right out of reach.


I stayed out late
Last Saturday night
And I finally made it home about 3.
And, Oh! My Lord,
When I walked through the door,
What’d you think I’d see?

With her hair up fine
and a scoop neck line
and a red dress bustin’ at the seams
With the music slow
and the lights down low
I saw my girl with the girl of my dreams!

My gal is queer for cat!
She’s queer for cat and that’s a fact!
She likes ‘em tall and slim and stacked,
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

She says let’s go swingin’!
Let’s paint the town!
You and me and kitty makes three.
Ain’t no doubt about it, we sure get around!

My gal is queer for cat!
She’s queer for cat and that’s a fact!
She likes ‘em tall and slim and stacked,
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

In days of old,
Or so I’m told,
The Greeks and them crazy old Romans
Were wont to employ
Some fat little boy
In the place of a sweet fine woman.

Now in the modern age,
We’ve changed the stage,
But folks are still slaves to fashion.
People still do
what they’re told to do,
But now the trend is much more to my liking!

I tell ya, now
My gal is queer for cat!
She’s down on the mound and sweet on the slack!
She can please the pink in five minutes flat
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

She says let’s go swingin’!
Lets jump and jive
I know a spot where the music’s hot
And you’ll be the happiest man alive!

My gal is queer for cat!
She’s queer for cat and that’s a fact!
She likes ‘em tall and slim and stacked,
And she likes it that I like it that she likes it like that!

1. I’m going down to Terrebonne Parish,
Where the River surrenders to the Bayou.
I’m gonna set a trap, I’m gonna bag a monkey man,
gonna get myself some money tail stew

I’m gonnna get a cedar box from that old general store,
Cut a hole in it the size of a peach.
I’m gonna fill that cedar box with licorice and sugar cane,
Gonna tie that Cedar box to a tree.

That’s all it takes, and I say…

Lord have mercy on the Money Man
For the Monkey Man is such a fool
Monkey love his candy and monkey love his cane.
Gonna get myself some monkey tail stew

You see the monkey ambles up to that sweet cedar box
And before he can know what it’s about,
He can squeeze a hand into that tight little hole
But he can’t pull the sweet candy out.

And so the monkey sits all day and all night
With his hand on the candy in the a hole
Monkey can’t eat, and the Monkey can’t sleep,
But the Monkey just can’t let go.

And I say

I am that I am, and I fear the Monkey Man.
I fear that I am bound to be like he.
And I do declare that this dogged desire
Oh, Lord, will surely be the death of me!

And I say

I was born on a tear
With the fight in my eyes
I came out swinging like a hepcat on the stage
And they said to mother
This one is Trouble’s younger brother
You’d better heed me now and wean his wicked ways

So some butcher quack
Crept up to my crib
And as I slept he pulled a knife on me
And he left me bald
And crying out loud
To wonder why they did this thing to me

When you’re walkin’ down the street, walk tall Buster Boy
Feel the beat beneath your feet, walk tall Buster Boy!
Some day the world will love you and see you like I do,
‘Til then, you gotta walk tall, Buster Boy, walk tall.

And as I made my escape
I told them not to take it hard.
It’s not their fault; I just got bored of being bored.
And I saw the fruits of Eden
Go from green to ripe to rotten.
I saw that it was time to take my leave.

When you’re walkin’ down the street, walk tall Buster Boy.
Feel the beat beneath your feet, walk tall Buster Boy!
Some day the world will love you and see you like I do,
‘Til then, you gotta walk tall, Buster Boy, walk tall.

And now everywhere I go
As I travel through this world
From London town to the streets of old Hanoi
In the wayward eyes of brothers
On the crossroads and the corners,
I see the face of my friend Buster Boy.

And I say when you’re walkin’ down the street, walk tall Buster Boy.
Feel the beat beneath your feet, walk tall Buster Boy!
Some day the world will love you and see you like I do,
‘Til then, you gotta walk tall, Buster Boy, walk tall.

1. There’s a woman in the desert,
Lying in the sun.
And the heat flicks across
Her butterscotch thighs.
And should I imbibe
Them gin-dappled eyes,
I might fall over drunk,
But not satisfied.

My Lilly
Caramel Christine,
I can feel your name
Trip (slip) along my tongue.
And the whole world trembles
When I’m watching you move:
So many years between you and my love.

My Lilly,
Kitty Cat Christine,
My life for your love,
Would not be in vain.
The world may have lost you
To the languor in time,
But I will forever remember your name.

The skin beneath the scab
Is blameless and pink,
And free from sin,
And Lust and deceit.
And so might she too
Be gentle and sweet,
But no one looks so pure
In the great pounding heat.

So as the sweat collects
On her brow and her breast,
And beads on her belly,
And on to her ankle,
She steams like a stovepipe,
Smokes like a hot-knife,
Moves like a tiger
Out on the Bengal.

My Lilly (Chorus)

(This is the original version of a song that appears on the big Rude Jake album “Blue Pariah.” I was always disappointed that we never recorded it quite the way I wanted, i.e. in the style of a Quincy Jones soundtrack or theme song. So, I took the opportunity to re-record this number. The record company didn’t want to pay for the extra recording time, so we just winged it one day and taped it live off the floor. The band did a great job, but it still isn’t quite what I was looking for. In a classic case of music industry irony, the record company decided they liked the track and insisted that we put it on the CD even after they discouraged us from recording it in the first place! So here is the so-called “original version,” thus referred to as #1. The lyrics are slightly altered.)

On a day like this in the Market quarter
And alleys lined in patchwork posted bills
And coats of paint like petals peel
And colors glow from within themselves

Serengeti pink and Prussian blue
Rembrandt reds and amber honey golds
And garden greens and deadly sharkskin grays
As the mob thickens, the mystery unfolds.

And I take to shade, and I play the shadows
And I watch my back and I play it cool.
And I stand on guard and I stop to wonder
And one day withers and a new one blooms.

And on a day like this in the gridlock traffic
In the grinding gears and the razor wires
And a thousand faces and the island music
The charge electric, in the air and sky

And fresh killed flesh, and rhinestone studded ironies
Are crucified on every porch and post.
And vestal whores on second story balconies
Cuttlefish and diesel go dancing up your nose


And the city steams and rides a steelyard fulcrum
It teeters and sways in the sundown light.
I hold my breath and I hang in the balance
Of a city that reels between despair and delight.

And I am not your judge, I am not your Champion
I won’t straight the road for some new messiah.
I am a boulevard dog in the concrete corridor
I am compelled by a mystery, I am the Blue Pariah.

(Chorus 2x)

1. Cattin’ around after hours,
Speak Easy, my friend, Speak Easy:
I heard a cadence in the rhythm,
And in the rumble down in the street.
One sweet chorus comes to mind:
Speak Easy, my friend, Speak Easy,
As the swaggered slack in my staggered step
Gives into a melody.

And it ain’t ‘cause I’m lazy, baby:
It’s just there’s nothin’ that I wanna do.
‘Cause nothin’ seems worth doing,
If I gotta do it without you.

And I know your angry and I know you ache,
But Speak Easy, my friend, Speak Easy,
And an ember glows inside your coat,
And Sizzles next to your heart.
You’re just like all the rest of us,
In this Speak Easy, my friend, Speak Easy,
Hang dog blue and out of breath,
Beat down and out, clear right from the start.


Throw back your head,
And swing wild at the moon:
Eye-toothed and crazy,
And torn up in rage.
Ring out your guts like a dirty old rag,
‘Till the tears burn furrows
from your eyes down your face.

3. (half verse)
(Then) Pull up and chair and raise a glass,
And Speak Easy, my friend, Speak Easy.
Some day, some day, we’ll be happy again,
For tonight we rest fallow in the blues.
And I know an old whiskey barrel
Speak Easy, my friend, Speak Easy,
And a song we used to sing there,
And a girl that I once knew.

And a song we used to sing there,
And a girl that I once knew.

And nothing seems worth doing,
If I gotta do it without you.

When the Devil came to dinner
Our mom was quite impressed
She said, “ Why can’t you be more like
Our esteemed satanic guest?”
And he always knows just what to say
And exactly how to behave
And it makes for such a pleasant stay
As he plots to steal our souls away

And you may call it irony when co-incidence collides
But I’ve had dinner with the devil and I have seen the light
And you may call it righteousness, when civility survives
But I’ve had dinner with the Devil and I know nice from right

And no one could believe it when the nicest guy in town
Took an axe as big as him and chopped his family down
And he was careful when he spoke
To never tell a dirty joke
Nor ever swore or even smoked
Or interrupted other folks

And everyone was baffled when the nicest girl we knew
Knocked off a local Grocery with a loaded .32
She never wore her dress too tight
Or ever stayed out late at night
Or ever strayed from teacher’s sight
‘Cause she was always so polite

And our mom says she’s changed her mind about the devil’s brood
They may be evil, so she thinks, but at least their never Rude!
And hasn’t he got lovely hair
And hasn’t he got looks to spare
With elegance and graceful flair
As he pulls out a lady’s chair

Leaning up and looking large
In a swank Delancey bar
I was aqua vitae and “who loves ya baby?”
I was three fingers tall in a malt whiskey jigger
Knowin’ just how far that that jive was gonna get me

Now, I don’t say I got the right,
I’m just tellin’ what it’s like.
My friends say “What you got to go shoutin’ about?
Unsound and senseless, unruly and reckless
And callin’ some heavy cat out!”

But I was gassed up and geared up
And brother, don’t you know it,
I was greased up and run-way ready
I was two pair better than that cat’s high-card bluff
‘Till I ran two yards short in the city

Meet me on the east side Baby.
Meet me on the east side of town.
I’m livin’ on the outside, baby.
Checkin’ in to see what’s goin’ down

She drove a mean Mercedes, hard
And death card coloured
She pushed her white wals
Up against the curb.
I said, “That ain’t no way to go and treat that good rich rubber.”
She said, “You better cart your carriage out of here.”

‘Cause she got a kid leather gorilla man
And from what I understand,
He’s first in line every time and every where that he goes
With a wide stride cock-walk like he owns the whole sidewalk
A brass cheek and a face that nobody knows.

Consequently, she had nerve in her curves,
But that ain’t the worst
She could sex you but she sure weren’t pretty
She was tore up from the floor up with a fish-eye grin
And I landed two yards short in the city

And the subliminal criminal
At the four transit terminal
Robs you blind when you’re just standing there talking
With no scratch until Tuesday and no line of credit
You’ll be lucky if you leave and you’re still walking

‘Cause with everyone sweating’
Workin’ hard at not workin’,
Big wheels and sweet deals
And angles everyday
I figure one score more and they’ll be bodies on the floor
So don’t you give truck to what the suckers gotta say

‘Cause I had an outstanding plan
To take on the Man
I had green on the hip and cash in the kitty.
I was two Lincolns long at the Chase Manhattan,
‘Till I landed two yards short in the city

And I say, who cares if you’re
King of the hill Jack,
In some speck on the side of the road-map
Gettin’ fat, pullin’ slack, fingers folded in your lap
A frog prince in frilly fancy pants

I say, give me the brush-burn abrasion
And the stinging sensation
Of hunger and liquor and lust
Give me shadows that breathe like true living things
In the din of the ram-shackle rush

And when the devil-may-care
Testosterone stare
And the glare in this eye turn to spaghetti,
(limp like spaghetti)
I’ll be two days older, a hundred years smarter,
And two yards short in the city

Salutations Boys and Girls
And welcome to the Modern world
And the splendid stinking mess that the others left behind
Them who stood to curse the gods
Have built an alter to themselves
And they’ve squandered all our hopes and stole our peace of mind
Well, they’re swindlers and they’re thieves
And they’re Big Celebrities

Oh, let’s kill all the rock stars,
Lets line the fuckers up and shoot the fuckers down
I’m pissed off and I’m bored
With all these corporate Whores
Oh, lets kill all the rock stars. Put them 6 feet in the ground
Oh, lets kill all the rock stars. Put them 6 feet in the ground

Them hippy dippy hypocrites
With a B.T. Barnum bag of shit
And the Artist formally known as a man I could admire
And here comes Princess Smarty-Pants
With a Limousine and a grand pretense
And the radio plays the same old shit, over and over and over and over
And as I stare in disbelief,
She flicks a perfumed handkerchief

Oh, let’s kill all the rock stars,
Lets line the fuckers up and shoot the fuckers down
Someone’s got to pay
For all the shit I’ve had to take
Oh, lets kill all the rock stars. Put them 6 feet in the ground
Oh, lets kill all the rock stars. Put them 6 feet in the ground

And In the pits of Hell
Elvis lifts his pointy tail
And he pulls a hunk of burning love out of his ass
And as they force it in the face
Of one of his dead proteges
Elvis waits impatiently for the next one’s life to pass.

Coked up, coughing, whining, wheezing
Pancake make up, bloated, bleeding…

Oh, let’s kill all the rock stars,
Lets line the fuckers up and shoot the fuckers down
I’m sick of all the hype
And all the bullshit artsy tripe
Oh, lets kill all the rock stars. Put them 6 feet in the ground
Oh, lets kill all the rock stars. Put them 6 feet in the ground

In this first and blackest minute,
I whistle a requiem for a good little man.
Trampled and lonely,
I was glad for him when he died:
A clever, wit-whimsy gamine,
Doughy and creased and soft:
A stand up who hated the gag
And told me over and again in private moments
That he’d never let himself breathe past 35,
Squeamish of the day
He’d see a petty miniscule reflection
Living the Sartrian nightmare.

Clipped in the ear and healed on the rope
With a choke and a switch willow whip
Begging for a stroke and pet.
Would they just have declared him a good little man
Thinking it was not in vain.

Andy, I wish I could say I’ll miss ya,
I wish I was sorry, I wish I was stricken,
But none of it’s true.
Still, I won’t forget the things you taught me
With the lies you believed in your poor chafing heart,
And your prayers that went unanswered.
I’ll honour your name,
I’ll tend to the grave
The unfinished business and all the loose ends
I’ll remember the debts outstanding, Andy
And, unlike you, I’ll make them pay.

And when I come upon a slitted sideways glance,
Or sulking clot-coloured lips, I’ll tell them:
You may have been displeased with the state of his gait,
And his brisket not perfectly straight,
But before you complain,
Be glad it weren’t me at the end of your chain.

The old boy’s dead, sweet heart
And whats left is a rage like December:
Without will, without reason,
It acts from its nature.
And what fool fights the hail and the wind
And the black seething night?

Go tell the mistress on the mule and the cackling hens,
The wee wicked lads and the good little men:
In this first and blackest minute,
I whistle Andy’s Requiem.

I whistle 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
CD Music-Critic

- 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.

Write us at info@bigrudejake.ca or try:

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).

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