Feed Jake

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"Feed Jake"
Single by Pirates of the Mississippi
from the album Pirates of the Mississippi
Released February 25, 1991
Format CD single, cassette single
Genre Country
Length 4:00
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Danny "Bear" Mayo [1]
Producer(s) Rich Alves, James Stroud
Pirates of the Mississippi singles chronology
"Rollin' Home"
"Feed Jake"
"Speak of the Devil"

"Feed Jake" is a song written by Danny "Bear" Mayo, and recorded by the American country music band Pirates of the Mississippi. It was released in February 1991 as the third single from the band's self-titled debut album. The song is also the band's highest chart peak, having reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts.


"Feed Jake" is a mid-tempo accompanied mainly by guitar and synthesized strings.[1] In the chorus, the male narrator reminisces on his childhood friend, a dog named Jake ("If I die before I wake / Feed Jake..."). The narrator also addresses societal stereotypes toward homeless people and homosexuals, of whom the latter are addressed in the final verse.[2]

Guitarist Rich Alves said of the song that it "means something different to everyone who hears it."[3]

Music video[edit]

Deaton-Flanigen Productions directed the song's music video, which was the first country music video not to feature the artist at all.[4] Most of the music video was filmed southwest of Nashville, Tennessee on Tennessee State Route 100 as well as on Highway 70 in White Bluff, Tennessee. It tells the song's story through two men, who are childhood friends, as shown in flashbacks. Later on, one of the men is attending the other's funeral, and the surviving man goes to pick up his dog at the cemetery. Upon its release, the music video was believed by some members of the gay community to have a gay theme; the two men were said to be lovers, one of whom dies from AIDS at the end.[2] Kimberly Lansing, then the executive producer of Deaton-Flanigen Productions, said that the video was "not meant one way or another" regarding the back story or the one man's death. She also says that the video is about returning home and not fitting in anymore. Additionally, because of the Persian Gulf War, some people have also assumed the man's death is war-related.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

In the book The Encyclopedia of Country Music, Tom Roland wrote that the final verse, with its theme of tolerance towards homosexuals, showed a shift in political beliefs for the typically conservative country music audience.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

"Feed Jake" debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of March 16, 1991. It spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts, peaking at number 15.

Chart (1991) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[6] 12
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 15

Other versions[edit]

A live recording appeared on the band's 1995 album Paradise for Giant Records. This version was produced by David Malloy.[8]


  1. ^ a b Pirates of the Mississippi (Media notes). Pirates of the Mississippi. Capitol Records Nashville. 1990. C2-94389. 
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Russell (4 July 1991). ""Feed Jake" video clip gives rise to questions". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  3. ^ Asker, Jim (6 April 1991). "Pirate Power: After a rough start, it's smooth sailing for band". The Free-Lance Star. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Inventive images on the increase". USA Today. 17 April 1991. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  5. ^ Kingsbury, Paul; et al. (2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 417. ISBN 0-19-517608-1. 
  6. ^ "RPM Country Tracks." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. June 15, 1991. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "Pirates of the Mississippi Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Pirates of the Mississippi.
  8. ^ Paradise (CD booklet). Pirates of the Mississippi. Giant Records. 1995. 24603. 

External links[edit]