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Lyr Req: Big Bruce (parody of Big John)

22 Feb 97 - 03:10 PM (#2471)
Subject: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce

A friend of mine is looking for the lyrics to "Big Bad Bruce" which I understand is a take-off of "Big Bad John".


27 Feb 97 - 12:34 AM (#2611)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: Ian


There was a song by this title that I remember hearing on a late-night, US radio show called 'Doctor Demento'. The Chorus went something like:

"Bruce... Big, Bad Bruce,

The hundred-and-forty-second fastest gun in the West."

There was a follow-up song to the same tune about 'Irving - The Son of the hundred-and-forty-second fastest gun in the West.' That's about all I recall. Maybe someone else here will remember more?

Good Luck! - Ian

(If this is the song you're looking for, you may be able to find it on a Dr. Demento recording. I seem to remember some type of compilation or 'Best of...' albums or CDs available.)

27 Feb 97 - 04:09 PM (#2624)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: Jamas

Thanks Ian - I'll pass the info on - Tony

15 Aug 08 - 05:22 PM (#2414960)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: GUEST,dave

Anyone find this.

Then came the day of the terrible fire, something went wrong in the number 5 drier. The flames grew higer got worse then someone heard Bruce yell 'I forgot my purse'
Into the fire without a scream or a shout, we waited and hour but he never came out.

15 Aug 08 - 07:55 PM (#2415065)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: Peace

Found this on the web:

"FBVP, I have the definitive answer for you: Your "mystery song" is "Big Bruce" by Steve Greenberg, a minor hit here in the U.S. in the Summer of '69. The song is described in one of my music reference books as a "gay" parody of Jimmy Dean's huge #1 hit from the Fall of '61, "Big Bad John", so that explains the connection w/ that song. The Greenberg single was released on the Trip label here in the U.S., but I don't know about Australia, where you are..."

15 Aug 08 - 08:05 PM (#2415069)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: pdq

I think you will find that it was written by John Duffey, the amazing high-voiced singer in the Country Gentlemen. Look on "Bringing Mary Home" from (I think) 1965. The Greenberg cover was lame compared to the original.

15 Aug 08 - 08:07 PM (#2415071)
Subject: Lyr Add: BIG BRUCE (John H. Duffey)
From: Peace

(John H. Duffey)
(A parody of "Big Bad John")
Steve Greenberg - 1969
Country Gentlemen - 1969

SPOKEN: The folk history of America is the history of its heroes. Big workin' men like John Henry, Paul Bunyan and Big Bad John. But today I'd like to introduce a new folk hero. He didn't work in a mine, or in a railroad, or any of those strenuous occupations. He worked in a beauty salon and his name was Bruce....

Well, ev'ry day at the salon you can see him arrive
He stood six foot six, weighed one-o-five
He's kinda narrow at the shoulders, narrow in the hips
With a curl in his hair and a smile on his lips
Big Bruce...Big Bad Bruce

No-one seemed to know where Bruce came from
He kinda swished into town and stayed all alone
Never said much, kind o' quiet and shy
And when he spoke at all, it was just to say "Hi"
Big Bruce...Big Bad Bruce

Same say he came from New Orleans
Where he had a social group called the Cajun Queens
Some say Hollywood or Beverly Hills
Where he got arrested for passin' three-dollar bills
That's Bruce

Then came the day o' that terrible fire
Something went wrong in the number five dryer
Into the chaos of those matronly caves
Went Big Bad Bruce, a-just a-fannin' the flames
Big Bruce...Big Bad Brucey-Woosey

Well, the flames grew higher and the fire got worse
And someone heard Brucey cry, "Mercy, I forgot my purse!"
Into the fire with a squeal and a shout
We waited an hour, but he never came out
Poor Bruce...Poor old Bruce

Where that salon once stood is a grocery store
But his name will live for evermore
In the annals of time and in the hall of fame
As a gay young cat who went down in flames
Big Bruce

You might say this is a big kind o' fairy tale

(Transcribed by Mel Priddle - September 2006)

That is from

15 Aug 08 - 08:12 PM (#2415072)
Subject: LYRIC ADD above.
From: Peace

I e-mailed the original poster. But after 11 years it may be a bit late. I'll let y'all know.

15 Aug 08 - 08:48 PM (#2415083)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: pdq

original recording session: 15-16 JUN 1966

location: Recordings Inc, Baltimore, MD

personel:   Charlie Waller: guitar
                Eddie Adcock: banjo
                Ed Ferris: bass
                John Duffey: mandolin (plus lead guitar on "It's All Over            
                                          Now, Baby Blue")

Seems to be on "The Traveler" which has not made it to CD format.

15 Aug 08 - 08:59 PM (#2415100)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: Peace

There's more stuff.

Do a google of

"bad bruce", lyrics

just like that.

15 Aug 08 - 09:00 PM (#2415101)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: Peace



"big bruce", lyrics

15 Aug 08 - 09:46 PM (#2415144)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce

The Traveler IS available, but so far as I know only as a part of the four CD set, Country Gentlemen - The Early Rebel Recordings 1962-1971, Rebel 4002, 1998.

Big Bruce is track 28 on Disc one and was from the same session that produced Matterhorn.

From the notes: The last track recorded was Big Bruce, a gay spoof on Jimmy Dean's classic of the early 1960s, Big Bad John. The song came to John Duffey's attention when they were "playing in a place called Brickskellar in which we used to do periodically in Washington D.C. Some guys from Georgetown University were in one night and they gave me this thing as a . . . it was like a poem. I looked at it and I said, 'Man, this is cute.' I asked who wrote it and he said, 'Oh, a bunch of us just had ideas and put it together.' I said, 'Well, if I should do anything with this, give me a name, address, phone number or something like that' and he said , 'You can have it.' So I took it. You'd be surprised how successful Big Bruce was. My wife and I used to go up above Bethany Beach, it was a place called Nomad Village. You rent A-frames and they allow dogs and of course we had a big St. Bernard and we always wanted to take her with us. We arrived there one afternoon and we said, 'Well, let's go to the bar and have a drink.' So we did [and] somehow or other the bartender had heard that Mr. Duffey had checked in. To make it very short, he says, 'You know that record of Big Bruce that you put out, we've got the third copy on the jukebox. They wear it out.' Well, come to find out this lounge that was a part of the complex there on Friday and Saturday was a gay bar and whereas some people thought it would be offensive, he said, 'The customers just love it. They play it all night long.' So it actually did fairly well." Dick Freeland lamented, "Unfortunately, at the time we released it there were a lot of radio stations that absolutely wouldn't play it. It sort of got around on the underground. If we had released it ten years later, it might have been a pretty good song . . . we were just a little bit ahead of our time." In spite of the relative popularity of the song, there was some dissention within the group. Eddie Adcock stated that "I didn't want to do that. There's gotta be some people out there like that and so I just don't like doing the song. I didn't mind John Duffey actually carrying on the way he did all the time but I thought the Big Bruce thing was a bit too much. It's all in the spirit of good fun but once a joke is told it's over with and a song like that to me is like a joke, once it's sung let's not do it anymore."
From the notes by Gary B. Reid, Roanoke, Virginia - October 1997.

Apologies for any typos that may have crept in. That is the longest I have typed at one sitting in a long time, and I didn't have the benefit of a scan program. I bought my copy of the box set from Eddie Adcock, by the way. I recommend it highly!

15 Aug 08 - 10:04 PM (#2415154)
Subject: RE: Lyric Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: pdq

Thank you very much, GUEST,DWR. That required some work , a commodity that most of us appreciate

03 Oct 08 - 06:30 PM (#2456754)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Big Bad Bruce
From: GUEST,Jim Foody

I was in the NJ National Guard at Fort Sill Oklahoma in the summer of 1963. I went into town to a bar in a cellar. It served pitchers of beer. A guy played a guitar [Hootenanny type] and sang Big bad Bruce. It was a HOOT.