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Origins: Duncan and Brady

DigiTrad:
DUNCAN AND BRADY
DUNCAN AND BRADY (2)


Related threads:
Chords Req: Duncan and Brady (2)
(origins) Origins: 'Duncan and Brady' explored (7)
'Stagolee' and 'Duncan & Brady' (10)
Lyr Req: Duncan and Brady (7)
Lyr Req: Duncan and Brady (Johnson Mountain Boys) (2)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Brady (From Sandburg's American Songbag. A version of Brady & Duncan. -JRO-)


Earl 21 Apr 98 - 11:00 AM
S. P. Buck Mulligan 21 Apr 98 - 09:59 PM
Jimmy Rose 22 Apr 98 - 09:48 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 23 Apr 98 - 01:21 AM
Joe Offer 23 Apr 98 - 02:00 AM
Joe Offer 23 Apr 98 - 02:45 AM
Earl 23 Apr 98 - 10:13 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 23 Apr 98 - 10:46 PM
Sharpe 24 Apr 98 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,Sharyn Dimmick, sharyn@usisp.com 15 Oct 02 - 12:11 AM
GUEST,Itinerant Genie 15 Oct 02 - 12:46 AM
masato sakurai 15 Oct 02 - 01:37 AM
Sandy Paton 15 Oct 02 - 03:20 AM
Amos 15 Oct 02 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,leo 19 Jan 03 - 03:55 PM
BuckMulligan 19 Jan 03 - 07:23 PM
Stewie 19 Jan 03 - 07:53 PM
Amos 19 Jan 03 - 09:04 PM
kendall 19 Jan 03 - 09:22 PM
simon-pierre 20 Jan 03 - 01:16 PM
Genie 21 Jan 03 - 01:22 PM
Amos 21 Jan 03 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Brady Layman 24 Feb 03 - 09:45 AM
Amos 24 Feb 03 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Brady Layman 24 Feb 03 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Les B. 24 Feb 03 - 12:01 PM
Steve Parkes 24 Feb 03 - 12:13 PM
Stewie 24 Feb 03 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,Brady Layman 25 Feb 03 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Brady Layman 25 Feb 03 - 01:16 AM
GUEST,Uncle Fred Wilson 25 Mar 03 - 11:24 AM
Coyote Breath 26 Mar 03 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,John Garst 22 Apr 03 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Dave Hollowood 10 Jun 03 - 12:54 PM
Stewie 28 Jul 03 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,Jug Band Scott 21 Aug 03 - 12:10 PM
Stewie 21 Aug 03 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Tom Akstens 29 Oct 03 - 12:41 PM
Lighter 19 Feb 04 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,JOHN of ELSIE`S BAND 20 Feb 04 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Brady Layman 04 Jul 04 - 10:22 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jul 04 - 01:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jul 04 - 01:44 PM
RWilhelm 18 Aug 04 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Eric 21 Dec 05 - 06:19 AM
Brian Hoskin 21 Dec 05 - 06:56 AM
Azizi 21 Dec 05 - 08:26 AM
Brian Hoskin 21 Dec 05 - 09:22 AM
Brian Hoskin 21 Dec 05 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band 21 Dec 05 - 10:35 AM
Mark Ross 21 Dec 05 - 03:52 PM
Jacob B 21 Dec 05 - 05:37 PM
GUEST, Eric 22 Dec 05 - 03:57 PM
Azizi 22 Dec 05 - 05:40 PM
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Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Dec 05 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 01 Jan 06 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,catherine yronwode 23 Aug 06 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,Gerry 30 Apr 07 - 09:06 PM
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PoppaGator 01 May 07 - 01:51 PM
C. Ham 01 May 07 - 03:56 PM
Amos 01 May 07 - 04:39 PM
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Joe_F 01 May 07 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,dr snuggles 28 Jun 07 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Shine 15 Mar 08 - 05:08 PM
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Subject: Duncan and Brady
From: Earl
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 11:00 AM

I'm looking for information on "Duncan and Brady", sung by Leadbelly and others. I assume it is about an actual event. Does anyone know where and when it took place?


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: S. P. Buck Mulligan
Date: 21 Apr 98 - 09:59 PM

Heard Tom Rush's version from about 1965 - I've always assumed it was New Orleans, shortly after the turn of the century? ("Long comes Brady in his 'lectric car")


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Jimmy Rose
Date: 22 Apr 98 - 09:48 PM

Looking for tablature to Duncan & Brady. It can be Dave van Ronk, Tom Rush or any other neat approach Thanks Jimmy


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 01:21 AM

The version of Leadbelly's Duncan and Brady is on the Smisonian Folkways album "Where Did You Sleep Last Night"--Leadbelly legacy vol 1. It is done once with guitar and again a capella.

According to the liner notes you can find information about the song from:

Moses Ash and Allan Lomax, "The Leadbelly Song Book"--Oak publications 1962 (Anyone know if it was ever reissued?)

and

Carl Sandburg, The American Songbook--Harcourt, Brace and Co. 1927. I know there is a reissue of that one with an introduction by Garrison Keillor because I have a copy.

The Sandburg book, however, doesn't give any information about its history, it just tells how he got the song.

By the way. The Leadbelly version says "shinin' star" instead of "'lectric car".

Murray


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 02:00 AM

Sandburg's American Songbag (1927), says a Nebraska-born woman, practicing law in Chicago, gave one verse and a tune from St. Louis. It is a tale of wicked people, a bad man so bad that even after death he went "struttin' in hell with his Stetson hat." Geraldine Smith, another Chicago attorney, heard it from Omaha railroad men. A second text came from the R.W. Gordon collection. Sandburg say, "the snarl of the underworld, the hazards of those street corners and alleys 'where any moment may be your next,' are in the brawling of this Brady reminiscence."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: BRADY (from Carl Sandburg)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 02:45 AM

This seems to be quite different from the lyrics in the database, and the database doesn't have a tune.
-Joe Offer-

BRADY
(from "American Songbag," by Carl Sandburg, 1927)

Version A (from Geraldine Smith)
Down in St Louis at 12th and Carr
Big Bill Brady was a-tendin' bar;
In came Duncan with a star on his chest
Duncan says, "Brady you're under arrest."
Brady -- why didn't you run?
Brady – you should a-run!
Brady -- why didn't you run?
When you seen Black Duncan with his gatling gun?

Version B (from R.W. Gordon collection)
Duncan and his brother was playing pool
When Brady came in acting a fool;
He shot him once, he shot him twice,
Saying, "I don't make my living by shooting dice!"

Brady won't come no more!
Brady won't come no more!
Brady won't come no more!
For Duncan shot Brady with a forty-four!

"Brady, Brady, don't you know you done wrong
To come in to my house when my game was going on?
I told you half a dozen times before,
And now you lie dead on my barroom floor!"

Brady went to hell lookin' mighty curious,
the devil says, "Where you from?" "East St. Louis."
"Well, pull off your coat and step this way,
For I've been expecting you every day!"

When the girls heard Brady was dead
They went up home and put on red,
And came down town singin' this song –
"Brady's struttin' in hell with his Stetson on!

"Brady, where you at?
Brady, where you at?
Brady, where you at?
Struttin' in hell with his Stetson hat!"

MIDI file: BRADY&~1.MID

Timebase: 192

Name: Brady
Text: Generated by NoteWorthy Composer
Key: Bb
TimeSig: 2/4 24 8
Start
0000 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0256 0 65 000 0032 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 65 110 0336 0 65 000 0048 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0256 0 62 000 0032 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 60 110 0256 0 60 000 0032 1 58 110 0336 0 58 000 0048 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0256 0 62 000 0032 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 65 110 0046 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0046 0 65 000 0002 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 65 110 0336 0 65 000 0048 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 58 110 0336 0 58 000 0048 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 65 110 0288 0 65 000 0000 1 65 110 0256 0 65 000 0032 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 58 110 0336 0 58 000 0048 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 65 110 0288 0 65 000 0000 1 65 110 0256 0 65 000 0032 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 60 110 0256 0 60 000 0032 1 65 110 0336 0 65 000 0048 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 65 110 0288 0 65 000 0000 1 65 110 0256 0 65 000 0032 1 63 110 0094 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 58 110 0094 0 58 000 0002 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 63 110 0046 0 63 000 0002 1 63 110 0046 0 63 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 58 110 0094 0 58 000 0002 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 58 110 0096 0 58 000 0000 1 58 110 0256 0 58 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:Brady
M:2/4
Q:1/4=120
K:Bb
D2D4D2|F2F6|E2D4C2|F8|D2D6|F2F2E2E2|D2C6|
B,8|D2D6|F2F4FF|E2D4C2|F8|D2D4D2|F2F4E2|D2D4C2|
B,8|D2F6|F6E2|D2D4C2|B,8|D2F6|F6E2|D2C6|F8|
D2F6|F6E2|D2D4C2|F4B,2C2|D4D4|F2F4EE|D2B,2C2B,2|
B,11/2||


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Earl
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 10:13 AM

Thanks Joe, It looks like St. Louis is where it happened. It's interesting that version A has Brady tending bar and Duncan coming in wearing a star. The version I know has it the other way around.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 10:46 PM

Something I have always wondered about the Leadbelly version, which is now version 2 on the database.

Why does he say "grocery floor" instead of "barroom floor" or something like that. Was "grocery" a name for a general store that offered everything including a bar?

Murray


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Sharpe
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 08:54 PM

Check out version by Koener Ray and Glover (Blue Rags and Hollers).


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Sharyn Dimmick, sharyn@usisp.com
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 12:11 AM

Chris Smither has some good verses to this on his CD Drive You Home Again, including one about the doctor who treats Brady and one about the funeral procession


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Itinerant Genie
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 12:46 AM

The version I first heard, IIRC, was by Dave Guard and The Whiskey Hill Singers (with Judy Henske and Buck Wheat). It added a refrain, "[because he'd] been on the job too long...". Anyone happen to have their lyrics?

Genie


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: masato sakurai
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 01:37 AM

(1) From G. Malcolm Laws, Jr., Native American Balladry, rev. ed (1964, pp. 250-151):

I 9
BRADY
(Duncan and Brady)
Duncan kills Brady the policeman because he has wrecked Duncan's combination grocery and barroom. Mrs. Brady takes the news calmly and remarks to the children, "Well, all draw a pension when your daddy die".

Duncan, Duncan was a-tendin' bar
When in walked Brady with a shinin' star;
Cried, "Duncan, Duncan, you are under arrest!"
And Duncan shot a hole in Brady's breast.

Lomax, Our Singing Country, 333, lO, m. (a composite text, with tune from L.C. Record 1865. "Duncan and Brady"). Brown II, 571, 2 and chor. (N.C.); notes and refs. Gordon, 45, 2 sts. Gordon, Adventure, July lO, 1923, frag. of 5 sts. Odum and Johnson, The Negro and His Songs, 208, frag. of 4 sts. Sandburg, 198, frag. of 1d, m. (Neb. via Mo.); 4 sts. and 2 refrains, from R. W. Gordon's collection. Scarborough, 85, fragnents and 7 sts.
(Tex.). L.C. Records 1787 A2 (N.Y. Sung by B.L. Lunsford); 3978 B3 (Tex.); 1329 A2 & B2 (Ala.)

(2) Meade et al., Country Music Sources (2002, p. 67):

120. DUNCAN AND BRADY LAWS I9
[Ref: (3) Laws (1964), pp. 250-1; (5) 'Brady and Duncan,' Henry Truvillion, July 11, 1933, LC CYL-16-1O, 'Brady, Brady,' sung by negro convicts at the State Penitentiary, Parchman, Miss, 9-1O, August, 1933, LC 1865-A-1, 'Brady,' Bascom Lamar Lunsford, February, 1935, LC 1787-A-2, 'Brady,' Blind Jesse Harris, July 24, 1937, LC 1329-B-2, 'Brady and Duncan,' Will Starks, 1942, LC AFS-6652-Bl.]

Been On The Job Too Long (GEX 2456-) - Wilmer Watts & His Lonely Eagles (vcl w/gtr & bjo) - 10/29/1929 NYC.
Pmt 321O [1686] NWR 245
Bwy 8248 [1686] Yaz 2028(cd)

(3) From The Traditional Ballad Index:

Duncan and Brady [Laws I9]
DESCRIPTION: Policeman Brady walks into Duncan's bar and attempts to arrest the latter. Duncan, unwilling to have his business ruined, shoots Brady. Neither Brady's family nor those around Duncan seem to care much; Brady's wife looks forward to getting his pension
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1930 (recording, Wilmer Watts & the Lonely Eagles)
KEYWORDS: murder family
FOUND IN: US(MW,SE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Laws I9, "Brady (Duncan and Brady)"
Sandburg, pp. 198-199, "Brady" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 596, "Duncan and Brady" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 660, DUNCBRAD
RECORDINGS:
Wilmer Watts & the Lonely Eagles, "Been on the Job Too Long" (Paramount 3210, 1930; on TimesAint01)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Casey Jones (I)" [Laws G1] (lyrics)
File: LI09

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 03:20 AM

Paul Clayton sang this verse about the doctor:

Brady, Brady, was a big fat man;
The doctor caught ahold of Sheriff Brady's hand,
Felt for the pulse and then he said,
I believe to my soul Sheriff Brady is Dead.
Been on the job too long.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Amos
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 12:26 PM

The version I learned so many years ago had "Been on the job too long" as the recurring theme tagged to the end of every verse. Glad to see the alternatives!

A


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,leo
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 03:55 PM

the johnson mountain boys did a nice version [mid 90's] on rounder0292


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 07:23 PM

Damn, a thread revived that I was in back in '98. Nothing to add, really, except that Chris Smither's version is very much a carbon copy of Tom Rush's (both fairly close to van Ronk's). Duncan was a barkeep running an illegal game; Brady a (no doubt corrupt) lawman who'd "been on the job too long" - has both "shinin' star" and "electric car" references; Duncan shot a hole in King Brady's chest ("Brady, Brady, Brady, well you know you done wrong, bustin' in here while my game was goin' on")

And of course on hearing King Brady was dead, the women all went home and reragged in red (echo of, or echoed in Kweskin's "Ella Speed.")


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Subject: Lyr Add: BEEN ON THE JOB TOO LONG (Wilmer Watts)
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 07:53 PM

It appears that no one has posted the Wilmer Watts version, the earliest recorded - 29 October 1929. Here is a start on it. The bits I am uncertain about are in square brackets. Despite repeated listenings, the second line of the penultimate 'Early in the morning ...' stanza eludes me. Any ideas? For a change, it is not the quality of the Paramount pressing, but rather Watts' articulation and accent, that make transcription a challenge.

BEEN ON THE JOB TOO LONG

Twinkle, twinkle 'lectric star
Yonder goes Brady on a 'lectric car
Makin' his way to the freedom land
He's gonna kill him a sucker like a bullnose man
Been on the job too long

Brady was a worker on the telephone wire
'Long come Duncan with a shinin' star
Looked ol' Brady right through the specs
He says, 'There's no use in talkin', Brady, get your check
Been on the job too long

Brady replied and he answered, 'No'
Duncan showed him a sight that was never before
Says, 'Now, Brady, you are [running your 'rest']
Oh, Duncan shot a hole through Brady's chest
Been on the job too long

Brady had a little 25
Kill a man about a half a mile
Duncan had a big 44
Well, he laid old Brady in the barroom door
'Cause he'd been on the job too long

Early in the morning, just about nine
[Horses in the ????? formed a line]
White and the black all gathered around
They're gonna take Mr Brady to the buryin' ground
Been on the job too long

Brady went to hell with a crutch under his arm
Says, 'Mr Devil, well I ain't here long'
Devil says, 'Brady, just this-a way
Well, there's never been a sucker here that ever got away
Been on the job too long

Brady had a little 25
Kill a man about a half a mile
Duncan had a big 44
Well, he laid old Brady in the barroom door
'Cause he'd been on the job too long

Source: transcription of Wilmer Watts & The Lonely Eagles 'Been On The Job Too Long' recorded on 29 October 1929 in NYC and issued as Paramount 3210 [1686]. Reissued on Various Artists 'Times Ain't Like They Used To Be: Early American Rural Music Vol I' Yazoo CD2028.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 09:04 PM

Geeze, talk about variations on themes. The version I learned goes laong this wise:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
And along come Brady in his ee-lectric car
Big mean look, in his right eye
Bound to kill somebody just to see him die --
He'd been on the job too long!

Duncan, Duncan, he was tending bar
When along came Brady in his shiny star
Said "Come along, Duncan, you're under arrest!"
And Duncan put a bullet right through Brady's chest.
He'd been on the job too long.

"Oh, Brady," said Duncan, "You know you done wrong!
Come inta my saloon while the games were goin' on
Broke down my window, broke down my door --
That why I left you dead on my barroom floor.
You been on the job too long!"

When Mrs Brady heard King Brady was gone
She up and started singing his mourning song.
Runnin' round town, and crying up and down
In an old Mother Hubbard and a blue night-gown
She'd been on the job too long.

It's all over town, now, King Brady is dead
I called the undertaker, and here's what he said:
"Roll out your hearses, your rubber-tired hacks,
Takin' twelve men to the graveyard, bringing eleven back!"
He's been on the job too long.

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: kendall
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 09:22 PM

Gordon Bok did a very good job on this.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: simon-pierre
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 01:16 PM

Amos - I can't verify now, but it looks like we both learned our songs at Dave Van Ronk's school..


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Genie
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 01:22 PM

Amos, the version you posted is close (but no cigar) to the one I learned in about 1963. IIRC it was done by Dave Guard and the Whiskey Hill Singers (but I may be thinking of a similar song in that regard). It had a verse like:

When the women all heard that Brady was dead,
They went on home and they re-ragged in red ...

Genie


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 02:01 PM

Cigar? Why would I want a cigar? If I had a nickel for every cigar I haven't won because I wasn't playing the game, I woulda retired by now! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Brady Layman
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 09:45 AM

I've been fascinated about the song since I realized a few years back that there were so many versions that have been recorded. Here is what I've found so far:

Year        Artist/Group        Format
        versions I have:        
1929        Wilmer Watts & Lonely Eagles        CD
1937        Blind Jesse Harris        CD
1947        Lead Belly        CD (acapella)
1947        Lead Belly        CD (with twelve string)
1959        Dave Van Ronk        cassette/CD
1963        Tom Rush        CD/LP
1963        Koerner, Ray & Glover        CD
1963        Dave Guard & Whiskeyhill Singers        CD
1963        Judy Henske        CD
1964        Hoyt Axton        CD
1972        New Riders of the Purple Sage        CD/LP
1991        Harvey Reid        CD
1993        Johnson Mtn. Boys        CD
1993        Morrissey/Brown        CD
1997        Geoff Bartley        CD
1997        Bob Dylan        CD
1998        Ken Hamm        CD
1999        Chris Smither        CD
1999        Gordon Bok        CD
2001        Steven Senderoff        CD
2001        Dirty Birds Jug Band        CD
2001        Kate Seeger & Dean Spencer        CD
2002        Joel Mabus        CD
                
        versions I don't have:        
50s        Fred Gerlach        Easy Rider
70s        Tompall Glaser        CD "Outlaw"
50s        Paul Clayton        
30s        Odum & Johnson        
?        Paul Campbell        
2001        Martin Carthy        CD Box
2001        Paul Arnoldi        CD
?        Alan Lomax & the Duprees        
30s        Will Starks        
1976        Tom Akstens        LP
200?        Elijah Wald        CD
?        Wollies        45 rpm single
?        Mark Crawford        in production
2000        David & Roselyn        CD
1989        Volo Bogtrotters        ?
?        Louisiana Grass        LP?CD?
1966        Terry Burnett        
1999        Dillof, Rice & the Cuyahogians        
2001        Jack Norton        
195?        Win Stracke        LP Americana
                
        Book References:        
1927        Geraldine Smith        Sandberg book
1927        R.W. Gordon        Sandberg book
?        Paul Oliver        book?
1964        Native American Balladry        
                
        Live Performances:        
1970        James Taylor        
2002        Zen Tricksters        Dead cover band
?        David Nelson Band        DN from NRPS
2000        Paul Brady        
2002        Railroad Earth        
2000        Gene & Nancy Morgan        
                
        unconfirmed links:        
?        Bob Franke        
?        Michael Cooney        
?        Jonny Lang        
?        Seldom Scene        Live performance?
?        Blind Willie McTell        
?        Radiators        Live performance?
?        Quicksilver Messenger Service        Live performance?
?        LED39        CD?


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 09:47 AM

Wow, Brady!! Yer namesake would be proud!


A


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Brady Layman
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:39 AM

A few years back I'd hoped to find the origin of the song. I doubt I'll ever learn it for sure. Some are convinced it came from the race riots in East St. Louis of 1917. Others maintain it goes back to "King Brady" in a series of dime novels in New York in the 1890s.
It seems that most versions from the 1950s on are derived from Lead Belly's interpretation in the 1940s. One of the more interesting versions is that of Joel Mabus, based on one of the versions in the Sandburg book of 1927. His lyric can be found at www.joelmabus.com


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 12:01 PM

To add to your list of recordings - Either the Brothers Four or the Highwaymen (one of those fresh-faced college boy groups) also covered it back in the 1960's. Their lyrics were almost exactly what Amos posted above. I'm not at home or I'd confirm.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 12:13 PM

I was beginning to think the electric car was a farly modern intrusion, unitl I saw the Wilmer Watts version from '29. emeber John Wayne in "The Shootist"? The Bad Guy drove a car: easy to conflate a movie with a song. Another theory bites the dust!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:44 PM

Brady

You might be interested in this from John Garst, who has posted some info on 'John Henry' to this forum, in the archives the old-timey newsgroup:


Duncan and Brady is another 1890s St Louis crime. Brady was a white policeman, perhaps a vice squad cop (I'm not sure, but some versions of the song make him out that way). Harry Duncan was a well known black singer. There was a bar-room brawl into which Brady belatedly came, and he might have been plugged by Duncan. There is considerable question about this. Quite a few people thought that the owner of the bar fired the shot that killed Brady. Be that as it may, Duncan was executed for the crime.


Garst also references the following which may be worth your while tracking down:

John Russell David, 'Tragedy in Ragtime' 1970s
Dissertation about 'Frankie', 'Stagolee', and 'Duncan and Brady'.
Available from University Microfilms

The above comes from here: Click Here

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Brady Layman
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 01:07 AM

Stewie,
In the liner notes to his "Thumb Thump" CD Joel Mabus writes about St. Louis, "It was there that Duncan (a black man) shot Brady (a currupt white cop) and a riot erupted." He places it "a few years" before 1899. I have not run across any real corroboration on that story. I'll try to follow the link you provided...thanks!
On a different topic...the electric car. It is interesting, many of the versions have Brady driving an electric car (or lectric car)but somehow Harvey Reid has him in a Caddilac car. I believe electric cars were not uncommon from about 1915 to abour 1925. The good thing was they were not hard to start as most of the internal combustion cars of the time...you just turned it on and went. I understand they were popular with Doctors. Bad thing was short range and short battery life resulting in high operating cost. Maybe only Doctors (and crooked cops) could afford them.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Brady Layman
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 01:16 AM

One other frivolous (maybe) thought...it was said that Dave Guard left the Kingston Trio because he was frustrated they would not pursue more authentic, ethnic folk material...that they were "too commercial". On his first LP after leaving and forming the Whiskeyhill Singers he records "Duncan & Brady"! Did this song cause the breakup of the original Kingston Trio?!


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Uncle Fred Wilson
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 11:24 AM

This song has been so grassroots popular I told my wife if she wanted to add a "jug band" song to her repetoire this one would be sure to go over well. It is really remarkable how many Leadbelly versions of songs are the ones remembered by the most people. Last year at the annual Rackensack concert I did Titanic just to add a little black-race input to our local folklore. Suzanne will do a killer
version of 'Duncan and Brady' , she's been the only blind white woman to perform at several blues festivals, I know they're gonna love it.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 08:41 AM

Hi ho!

Groceries commonly sold whiskey and other "ardent" spirits. They also sold other things. Reading "Five Points" (locale of Gangs of New York)now, author says groceries were more prevelant than saloons, the booze was cheaper but not sold by the drink as much as in a saloon.

Line from Moonshiner song:

"I'll go to the grocery and drink with my friends
No woman to follow to see what I spend
No woman to follow, no children to squall
If you want to stay happy, never marry at all."

But you'd find women in a grocery before you would in a saloon. In fact when women went out to drink they were more likely to go to the grocery and do it since women were generally not allowed in saloons unless they were working and I suppose they could always claim they just came by the grocery for some flour.

Gee I felt bad about Brady getting shot seeing as he was so ecologically sensitive, driving an electric car and all!

CB


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 11:34 AM

Following up on Stewie's posting quoting me from another source ...

John Russell David's PhD dissertation "Tragedy in Ragtime: Black Folktales from St. Louis" gives an enormous amount of information about the killing of Officer Brady by someone, officially Harry Duncan.

This work is readily available from University Microfilms. It is really excellent in its treatment of "Frankie," "Duncan and Brady," and "Stack Lee," all of which are about St. Louis crimes. Russell goes to original sources, newspaper accounts and court records, as well as interviews, etc.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Dave Hollowood
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 12:54 PM

Glad somebody else has heard the Brothers Four version. Heard it when I was just a young'n.

Intro verse was:

King Brady was a crooked Policeman,
One day he got shot,
Most people say,
He deserved what he got...

Oh Duncan, Duncan was tending the bar
When in walked Brady with his shiny star
Duncan! (Yes?) Duncan! You're under arrest!
Duncan shot a hole in Brady's chest!

Oh Brady, Brady, Brady
Don't you know you done wrong
Come'n in to my baroom when the game was on
You sprung my lock
And you broke my door
Now you're lying dead on the baroom floor!

There were a couple of other verses, notably the "women runing home and dressing in red.

But the one verse that seems to be missing from other versions is:

Momma, Momma, I can hear a strange sound
There's a bumpin and a thumpin coming up from the ground
Well son, oh son, don't you have any fear
That's the devil and he's yellin' I Got Brady Down Here!


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 09:09 PM

In relation to my transcription of the Wilmer Watts recording in this thread, the New Roanoke Jug Band have a version of it on 'Play it for a long time' Copper Creek CCCD-2003. Although their version has many minor departures from the Watts text, it does clarify the 2 bits that I could not decipher and placed in square brackets.

Stanza 3, line 3:

Says, 'Now, Brady, you're resisting arrest'


Stanza 5, line 2:

'Horses and hacks all formed a line'

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Jug Band Scott
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 12:10 PM

Howdy,

Someone brought this thread to my attention. I play in the New Roanoke Jug Band & thought I would address the minor departures which Stewie points out.
While very little is known about Wilmer Watts, we know he was from the North Carolina Piedmont region, and that some of his other songs (notably Cotton Mill Blues) suggest that he worked the cotton mills in that area. His version of Been on the Job Too Long appears to be a commentary on the labor troubles which took place in the mills in the early 1900s as mill owners fought the organization of unions int their mills. We changed the text to set the song here, where the town constable works at the behest of the mill owner and workers who cause trouble may wind up dead if they persist in their attempts to organize a union.

Mostly, we love the songs and playing style of Wilmer Watts and the Lonely Eagles and wish more of their recordings were available on reissue projects.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Aug 03 - 07:06 PM

Scott,

Thanks for the info. Your 'Play it for a long time' is a most enjoyable album, and it is great to have the four 1929 sides from the Roanoke Jug Band.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Tom Akstens
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 12:41 PM

I just stumbled onto this--and it's kind of amazing that there's so much interest in this song. The only versions I heard before I recorded mine were Van Ronk, Rush and the weird NRPS version. What always appealed to me about the song was the sense of mystery--what was left out of the story--


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 04:57 PM

Harvey Reid's solo performance on "Steel-Drivin' Man" (Woodpecker 107
CD [1991]) has been mentioned in passing. A great recording and a great album.

Very much worth hearing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,JOHN of ELSIE`S BAND
Date: 20 Feb 04 - 12:05 PM

I have an EP of Alan Lomax doing "Brady", recorded in London with a little rock`n`roll combo during the 60`s - terrific. All interested parties - give me a shout.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Brady Layman
Date: 04 Jul 04 - 10:22 AM

I've been trying for over a year without success to find Tom Aksten's rendition.
Likewise, John of Elsie's Band, the Lomax recording.
In the last year I've managed to collect nearly 20 more versions of the song as well as the David dissertation. David's work is very well documented and suggests that within weeks of Brady's demise there were several songs about the incident being sung in the bars of East Saint Louis. Harry Duncan hung for the death of officer James Brady, but maintained to the end he did not shoot Brady, that it was the bar owner, Charles Starkes. Starkes, on his deathbed, confessed that it was he, not Duncan, that shot Brady.
The New Roanoke version and entire CD are a delight. I just got Eddie Pennington's "Walks the Strings" (Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD40146)with another version patterned after the Watts rendition but with some unique verses. In Eddie's version the dispute is over a woman:
"Brady was a fixer of the telephone wire,
Duncan was a gambler with a shiney car,
Just one pretty woman, two hard men,
Lord, Lord, Lord, here we go again.
Cause they've been on the job too long.
Brady had a little 25,weapon of choice for a midget's suicide,
Now Duncan was packin' a big 44,
and he laid poor Brady on the barroom floor,
Cause he'd been on the job too long."
Some that I have located that were not on my earlier list:
Tongue and Groove, a 60s SF rock band.
The Brother's Four from their 1963 live LP.
Hilary James, a blues/jazz/big band sounding version from "Bluesy" on the UK Acoustics label.
Jim Page, Seattle folkie, aa solo acoustic version recorded around 1970 in Stockholm.
Tom Rush has a new version he credits to "Spider" John Koerner that is very funny and runs over nine minutes long. It is on his newest CD and available only from his web site.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jul 04 - 01:23 PM

Here is what Odum and Johnson had in "The Negro and His Songs," 1925. Lyrics only.

Lyr. Add: BRADY

Brady went to hell, but he didn't go to stay,
Devil say, "Brady, step 'roun' dis way,
I'm lookin' for you mos' every day."

Brady, Brady, you know you done wrong,
You come in when game was goin' on,
An' dey laid po' Brady down.

Up wid de crowbar, bus' open de do',
Lef' him lyin' dead on pool-room flo';
An' they laid his po' body down.

Womens in Iowy dey heard de news,
Wrote it down on old red shoes
Dat dey glad po' Brady was dead.

"The scene is one of a killing in a game of poker or craps. "They laid his po' body down" is the common way of saying they killed him. The expression has been met in a number of verses previously given. Just what the conclusion of the scene with the devil was, the Negro singer does not seem to know."
Odum and Johnson, 1925, The Negro and His Songs, Univ. NC Press; reprints by Negro Universities Press, pp. 208-209.

The expression "laid" for kill appears in a version of Railroad Bill:
Railroad Bill went out west,
Met ole Jessie James, thought he had him beat;
But Jesse laid ole Railroad Bill.

Many of these songs borrow from others. Verses above about the ladies dressed in red often appear in these songs, even in "Casey Jones."

Womens in Kansas, all dressed in red,
Got de news dat Casey was dead.
De womens in Jackson, all dressed in black,
Said, in fac, he was a cracker-jack.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jul 04 - 01:44 PM

Legman, in Randolph-Legman, "Roll Me in Your Arms," had this to say about Brady (p. 470, in 151. Peggy Howatt):
"A similar trait exists in another 1910s topical ballad, not bawdy, entitled "Brady" (in Hiler's "Full Dress Suits and Plenty of Whores, manuscript, Paris, 1928), in which the policeman and the badman in East St. Louis, Illinois, both shoot each other simultaneously. And the song ends with the delicate doubt expressed- in what has to be one of the greatest rhymes in the English language!- as to whether either of them will arrive in heaven at all, or perhaps have gone elsewhere, when St. Peter reacts impatiently, after waiting for them far too long:

St. Peter standing by the gate
Says, Ain't them fellows kind o' late?
Seems to me that's mighty curious,
Two hot sports from East St. Lourious.

Too bad that this manuscript has not been published.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: RWilhelm
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 06:18 PM

Since this thread has popped up again, I would like to add my speculation on the electric car. The first automobile driven in Manhattan was an electric buggy purchased by Diamond Jim Brady in 1895 (he didn't drive it himself, he was chauffeured). Everything Diamond Jim Brady did was big news; it was front-page news in New York and it would have been known throughout the country.

Of course, Diamond Jim had nothing to do with a murder in St. Louis but, since the line is not essential to the song, and the time is about right, maybe with the Brady connection, his electric car found its way into the song.

Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 06:19 AM

Several contributors here have mentioned the references to the women dressing in red. I know it from "Ella Speed," which Buck Mulligan refers to (19 Jan. '03). Can anyone help me here. In the lines

    The women all heard that Ella Speed was dead,
    And they all went home and re-ragged in red...

what is the meaning of "re-ragged in red"? They all went home and dressed in red. Why? In the Duncan and Brady song, I could see it meaning a celebration -- good riddance to Brady, let's dress up! But in "Ella Speed" the women are most likely grieving over Ella Speed, who has just been murdered downtown. Was there some custom?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 06:56 AM

Eric,

Dressing in red was/is apparently the accepted dress for funerals in some African(-American) traditions (I don't pretend to know the details of this!). This is also mentioned in John Hurt's song Louis Collins:

When they heard that Louis was dead
All the women folk they dressed in red
Angels laid him away


Brian


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 08:26 AM

Brian Hoskin,I'm far from an expert on African religions or anything else. However, my interest in traditional West African folklore has led me to gather information about the Yoruba orisas {pronounced "orishas" whose tales read like stories of the Greek & Roman gods and goddesses.

See this excerpt from a Mudcat post I made in the
Folklore: Are Bright Colors Evil? thread:

"One explanation for the number of traditional African American songs about religious people dressed in red {such as "whose that yonder dressed in red/must be the people that Moses led"} is the association of West African deities with colors.

See this online passage:

"Shango
by Micha F. Lindemans
The god of thunder and the ancestor of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He is the son of Yemaja the mother goddess and protector of birth. Shango (Xango) has three wives: Oya, who stole Shango's secrets of magic; Oschun, the river goddess who is Shango's favorite because of her culinary abilities; and Oba, who tried to win his love by offering her ear for him to eat. He sent her away in anger and she became the river Oba, which is very turbulent where it meets the river Oschun.
Shango is portrayed with a double axe on his head (the symbol of thunder), with six eyes and sometimes with three heads. His symbolic animal is the ram, and his favorite colors are red and white, which are regarded as being holy. In Brazil, Shango is worshipped as a thunder and weather god by the Umbandists. In Santeria, Shango (Chango) is the equivalent of the Catholic saint St. Barbara.

Shango was once the fourth king of Yoruba, immortalized after death."

Source: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/shango.html"

-snip-

In that thread I also mentioned the orisa Osun {Oshun} who is the Yoruba {Nigeria, West Africa}goddess of vain, flirtatious love, among other things. Although her color is the yellow of honey, there are images which depict her wearing a red piece of material around her waist.

Of course, none of this may have anything to do the question of why the reference to the color red shows up in early African Americans folk songs...

The color red is decidedly NOT a color that is wore to funerals by contemporary {or even 20th century}Christian African Americans. Females might wear red dresses or red suits to church during Christmas or a Valentine day social event, but in those contexts, the color red has no religions significance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 09:22 AM

Thanks for that Azizi.

Just to add another reference to this, Paul Oliver in his book Blues Fell This Morning, makes reference to the wearing of bright red mourning gowns and quotes from Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup's song 'Death Valley Blues':

"Tell all the women, please come dressed in red,
Then goin' on 61 Highway, that's where the poor boy he fell dead"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 09:40 AM

Like so many topics on the Mudcat, the issue of dressing in red at someone's death has been discussed before:

here


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,John of Elsie`s Band
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:35 AM

Brady Layman,
               If you wish I can do you a CD of my Alan Lomax recording of "Brady". Let me have your postal address and I`ll see what I can do.
                                                   Regards,
                                                    John


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 03:52 PM

In his memoir THE MAYOR OF MACDOUGAL STREET, Dave says he learned the song from Paul Clayton. Where did he get it from?

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Jacob B
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 05:37 PM

I have heard a recording which, instead of the refrain line 'Been on the job too long', has the refrain 'Been on the take too long'. It's an interesting variant, since it makes it explicit that Brady was corrupt.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST, Eric
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 03:57 PM

Brian Hoskin and Azizi,

Thank you so much for those detailed and helpful answers, and for the links. Having read through all this material, I have to conclude that wearing red is/was a funerary custom, especially practised by women. The theory that "it rhymes" isn't satisfactory. The point about rhymes is that the words match AND the lines make sense! The examples like "Who are those children dressed in red / black / white" are different -- those seem more arbitrary. But many instances have been posted in these forums to show that after a death, the women change into red clothes -- and even if a woman has got another daddy in the wings, the wearing of red is still, I would say, a funerary custom, not a celebration.

Thanks again!

Eric


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 05:40 PM

While this may be tangential to the Duncan and Brady song,
I'm intrigued by the idea that was posted in the link that Brian provided that women dressed in red may represent a traditional African funeral practice of celebrating life. In this view, the color red symbolizes the person's return to the red earth. Red probably also symbolized blood=life, and menstruation=fertility in traditional African cultures and other traditional cultures.

This discussion also reminded me that some etymologists say that the name "Adam" means red "earth". Also, the early Egyptians depicted themselves with red paint {note: Some West African, Central African, and East African ethnic groups are Nilotic}.

Also, see these excerpts on the symbolical use of the color "red" in Christianity and in feng sui:

"In the earlier days of the church it was understood that a soldier could not pursue an enemy that had entered through the red doors of a church. The red doors were a symbol of refuge and sanctuary for all people who entered. To all concerned the red on the doors signified the blood of Christ that had been shed so that all who came to him could be saved. Anyone who passed through those doors was safe as long as they stayed behind them.

Over time, Christian people began to see the red doors of the church as symbolizing not only physical refuge and safety, but spiritual refuge as well. The blood of Jesus, and of the Church's martyrs, that the red doors of the church symbolized, would protect you from evil, both physical and spiritual. The red doors spoke to the world of holy ground that existed inside those doors, space that had been purged and made clean by God's Holy Spirit. Today people choose to paint their church doors red for many of the same reasons that churches did centuries ago. The Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, as I'm sure your church does (even if it doesn't have red doors), would like to be recognized as a place of peace, refuge and salvation for all people in our community."

Source: http://www.motherflash.com/goodsamaritan/reddoor.html

-snip-

"On a tangentially related note, red doors are also featured in feng sui:

A red door can be used with the intention of protecting the home and those inside, especially if your house is at the end of a T street intersection. Red can also be used to attract chi towards the door."

Source: http://www.timboucher.com/journal/2004/09/red-doors.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 05:42 PM

Sorry, that sentence should be

"This discussion also reminded me that some etymologists say that the name "Adam" means "red earth".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 07:36 PM

Adam, from the Hebrew, has the meaning "to make," cf. Assyrian adamu, to build; hence 'adam' in the passive sense would signify man, 'as made'. This seems to be the prevailing theory at present (Catholic Encyclopaedia).
The word is not common to all Semitic tongues (it occurs in Phoenician, Sabean and perhaps Assyrian).
The term is used as both a common and a proper noun in the Old Testament.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 01 Jan 06 - 06:31 AM

Re-ragging in red for a funeral IMO from repeated references signifies affirmation of life in the presence of death. It is a flagrant refusal to wear black and thus signify acquiescence. The women were saying Brady / Ella Speed / Alice B., etc, lived on in the glory of their presence, death couldn't take them away.

My assumption, based on Paul Clayton's version of "Been On The Job Too Long," is that he learned it from a copy of the Wilmer Watts record he found while collecting songs in Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky, and rewrote it just enough to gain copyright on his recording. He collected 78s for the wind-up phonograph he kept in the cabin he owned in the foothills outside Charlottesville, VA.


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Subject: RE: ADD: 'Been on the job too long' - Wilmer Watts
From: GUEST,catherine yronwode
Date: 23 Aug 06 - 01:15 AM

Back in 2003 Stevie posted a transcription of the Wilmer Watts version of Been on the Job Too Long / Duncan and Brady with one line unclear. I have not completely unravelled it, but here is my take. It is the second line in this stanza that is at issue:

Early in the morning, just about nine
Horses in the high [court?] formed a line
White and the black all gathered around
They're gonna take Mr Brady to the buryin' ground
Been on the job too long

I have always liked this verse, despite Watts' poor enunciation, because on the surface the "black and white" seems to refer to the horses, but since the song also involved black and white people (James Brady being white, and Harry Duncan black), the song speaks to complex racial conditions in (East?) Saint Louis at the time of composition and to the fact that desite the modern "electric car", automobiles had not yet replaced horse-drawn hearses.

Also, for what it's worth, i like the theory Earl proposed about Diamond Jim Brady's electric car being tansferred to the policeman James (Jim) Brady.

I also like the idea that GUEST,Brady Layman proposed, in which the King Brady dime novels influenced the nick-name of King Brady for the policeman.

catherine yronwode


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:06 PM

A few random comments about this song.

1. There have been (at least) three threads with Duncan and Brady in the subject line, but none of them are referenced in either of the DigiTrad lyric pages.

2. I own three recordings (van Ronk, Rush, and Nathan Rogers), and on all three this song is track 1. Is it a law that if you record this song, you have to make it the first track on your album?

3. Am I the only one who thinks it odd that (one version of) a murder ballad begins with a reference to the nursery rhyme, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star? I mean, are there any murder ballads that start, "Jack and Jill went up the hill"? or "Mary had a little lamb"?

4. Am I the only one who thinks it odd that (one version of) the song announces that Brady is going to shoot somebody just to see him die, but then it's Duncan who does the only shooting?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: iancarterb
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 11:56 PM

GUEST Gerry- I've always thought it was a miraculously GREAT first line, and it would not be out of keeping that a sheriff who had BEEN the law too long would get taken out pre-emptively in a good story!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 May 07 - 01:51 PM

Of course, the twinkling star is the sherrif's badge...

I surely hope that MOST of you realized that all along, but it probably deserves mention anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: C. Ham
Date: 01 May 07 - 03:56 PM

2. I own three recordings (van Ronk, Rush, and Nathan Rogers), and on all three this song is track 1. Is it a law that if you record this song, you have to make it the first track on your album?

Not all versions are track 1:

Hoyt Axton- track 23
Geoff Bartley- track 14
Gordon Bok- track 4
Wanda Fischer- track 9
Ken Hamm- track 14
Ken Hamm- track 4
Judy Henske- track 9
Koerner, Ray & Glover- track 7
Lead Belly- track 12
Lead Belly- track 33
Bill Morrissey & Greg Brown- track 7
Eddie Pennington- track 19
Harvey Reid- track 5
Nathan Rogers- track 1
Tom Rush- track 1
Tom Rush on a compilation- track 4
Chris Smither- track 8
Dave Van Ronk- track 1
Dave Van Ronk on a compilation- track 12
Dave Van Ronk on another compilation- track 19
Elijah Wald- track 1


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:39 PM

Amazing. I had no idea so many have recorded it!!



A


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:41 PM

Kinda makes a person think twice about working up yet another interpretation!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Joe_F
Date: 01 May 07 - 08:28 PM

I would be happy to be disabused of the notion that the women dressed up etc. because they were *grieving* at the death of a prestigious bully. It has caused the song to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Of course, such things do happen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,dr snuggles
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:06 AM

Great version on the new Martin Simpson disc out end of July.

Trying to track down more info after listening to Martin's disc - Mudcat ALWAYS cones up trumps!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Shine
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 05:08 PM

I've heard a much later version in which the women who dressed up in red came

....."shufflin' up the street
In they sweet little shimmies
And they black-stockin' feet.
Been OFF the job too long."

Brady's demise had allowed them to return to their profession.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Mike Thompson
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 03:28 PM

I remember an EP in the late 50s with 'Brady and Duncan' as one of four songs.
Another was 'Long time man' and yet another 'Get along little dogies'

I am sure that they were sung by Alan Lomax, but can find no references in any web search.
Can anyone help, as I really rated this record?

(The fourth song may have had the phrase 'Cow cow yippee' in it - it's a long time ago !! )

Alsager CTC 1958-60   Group 3


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 03:57 PM

Dear Mike Thompson,
                  Just to confirm our telephone conversation, I cannot believe the timing. As I was composing this, post haste, suddenly you were on the phone!!
                  I have the E.P., "Alan Lomax Sings", issued under the "Nixa Jazz Today Series", #NJE 1055 (Pye Record Group). Alan Lomax sings, "That`s All Right", "Long Time Man", "Abilene" and "Brady". I`ll get a c.d. done for you a.s.a.p.
                                             Regards,
                                              John


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Les B
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 11:27 AM

Funny, I always assumed in both "Ella Speed" and "Brady" that when the women re-ragged in red they were celebrating because someone they didn't like was dead.

After all, Ella Speed was "downtown just havin' her lovin' fun" so she was either attracting the attention of some other woman's man, or, as a prostitute, competing for money. I figured it was pure jealousy.

Similarly, in Brady, - "When the women all heard King Brady was dead they went on home and re-ragged in red, Came downtown just a singin' this song, Brady's struttin' in hell with his big Stetson on" -
Seems like they were just glad to have a bully/authority figure out of the way - perhaps as suggested in one post above, so they could return to street walking ???


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 08:48 AM

doesn't that dresed in red business come up in a song called Louis Collins as well.

these recurring things in folksongs, I'm not ever so keen on. Not in English, not in American and Irish folksongs either - I call it 'the seven long years syndrome'.

Its like talking to your Dad or your Grandad, and you want to shake him by the throat and say - you told me this story a million times before.....the first time when I was eight and it wasn't interesting then!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 11:44 AM

WLD, if you don't like recurring themes, you must find folk and traditional music very annoying(?).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 12:33 PM

Well lets put it this way. I have no trouble in seeing why a lugubrious piece like Louis Collins died out and I'm not totally convinced of the wisdom of reviving it, or the long term survival of such a song.

Similarly I'd could cheerfully watch half the English folksongs consigned to the dustbin area of the folk library.

I know its not a popular view on Mudcat, where anything tradtional is 'good' and anything ordinary folk are likely to go around the streets singing spontaneously is a bit iffy. 'two legs good, four legs bad' sort of aesthetic judgement.

Still its the way I think and feel. and yes I think some halfway decent songs in the traditional canon are buggered up by someone looking over his left shoulder and going away for seven long years - because obviously some peasant has forgotten the real words and decided to plug the gap with something from another song.

Oh by the way, doesn't that 'dressing in red bit' come in some versions of Whitehouse Blues.

i rest my case


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 12:51 PM

The other thing that is worth noting is the way some 'writers in the tradition' take dull folk songs as some sort paradigm or justification for THEM writing excruciatingly dull folk type songs.

All this:-

It was on the first of August.....nonsense


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Cory from Iowy
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 01:02 PM

WLD, part of the beauty of these songs is they become slowly evolving amalgamations of various artists POVs as they are handed down. Sure some artists are taking more than they give, but the best bits can always be reused and recycled, much like traditional story telling. I'm amazed how this one song has inspired so much variation in theme and mood. It's a testament to how the themes of many of these dull folk songs will remain relevant as long as human nature and music coexist.

This thread is a microcosm of that. Look at the age of it. How many BB threads span over a decade?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Brendan Silveira
Date: 07 Dec 08 - 05:09 PM

For anyone that was a fan of the Outlaws (Waylon and Willie and the boys), you should listen to Tompall Glaser's version of 'Duncan and Brady' from his album Outlaw. Tompall was the forgotten Jewish outlaw.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Anton Redman
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:29 PM

The Martin Simpson version is great and I know a fair number of the others. Electric like steam cars were not uncommon between 1905 and 1925 so why has nobody found any historic links ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Tom L from Chico CA
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 07:45 PM

Check out Tom Rush's extended talking version on 2008 cd "Trolling for Owls". He said that he learned it from Spider John Koerner.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Dr John
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:37 PM

Dr C P Lee of Salford, late of Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias, has a grand version downloadable from his website www.cplee.co.uk, as performed regularly by his band The Salford Sheiks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,nicolas
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 08:31 AM

Thanks everybody for this great discussion, I learnt a lot

I'm doing a series of post on my blog River's Invitation about black ballads and I was searching for info about Duncan and Brady

Thank you guys

I guess I'll be back !


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,nicolas
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 08:43 AM

Of course I've linked to this thread


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: TinDor
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 11:37 AM

Many of these St Louis area folk/muder ballads are mention in

Stagolee Shot Billy
By Cecil Brown


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Lord Moosejoy, Bart
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 09:45 AM

There is an interesting article at
The Delta Blues Web Site
Entitled "The Truth about Duncan and Brady, it begins: "Roughly 130 years ago, an event would transpire that would serve as the basis for the murder ballad Duncan and Brady that is still commonly played to this day. On October 6, 1880, Patrolman James Brady was shot and killed at the Charles Starkes Saloon in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri. A man by the name of Harry Duncan would be arrested, convicted and executed for the crime..."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 10:31 AM

Dunno whether anyone else has mentioned this in the 12 years that this thread has been running. However, Ledbelly's version had "In walked Brady with a shining star". Which strikes me as a lot more likely than having him arrive on an electric car.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 01:53 PM

Versions mentioned in previous threads other than Lead Belly's had 'shining star', and 'shiny car' also was well-used. Some versions did not have this line.

The first electric carriage was invented in the 1830s but the imorovement of the storage battery put some on the road in the 1880s. By 1897, they were used as taxis in New York.
It is unlikely that an electric car figured in the event since they were expensive, short-range 'toys' at the time.

The first hybrid (gasoline/electric) appeared in 1916 but was never commercially produced.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 03:11 PM

A few dates of the actual event:
Oct. 6, 1880. Patrolman James Brady shot and killed at the Charles Starkes saloon, in a "hail of bullets" as police tried to make arrests following a brawl.
Harry Duncan arrested and convicted.
A series of appeals kept Duncan alive until July 7, 1894, when he was hanged.
The case was finally decided by the Supreme Court when the appeal was denied. African-American attorney Walter Moran Farmer presented Duncan's case, and was the first of his race to appear before the court.
Duncan alleged that the bar owner, Charles Starkes, shot Brady.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,Steve Lohmeyer
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 04:53 PM

So I'm still working on my book of parallel versions of folk songs recorded by multiple artists during the folk music revival period of the 50's and 60's.

I own about 5,000 recordings that I consider "folk songs" which were recorded by at least three artists that I consider "folk artists" during that period.

I've got recordings of "Brady and Duncan" (cross listed as "Duncan and Brady" and "Brady, Brady, Brady") by Lead Belly, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Rush, Dave Guard & Whiskeyhill Singers, Judy Henske, and Hoyt Axton.

But try though I might I can't transcribe the first two lines of the Whiskey Hill Singer's version!?!

What the heck are the words up to "electric car?"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: reynard
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 11:55 AM

Re Electric cars-
Obviously the original Brady didn't arrive in an electric car. The shooting occurred in 1880. The first (3 wheel) electric car was made in France in 1881, followed by London (1882) Boston (1888) and Iowa (1890). (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1985)

    Somebody suggested this as a confusion with Diamond Jim Brady who is primarily famous for two things- his enormous meals and for being the first person in New York City to own an automobile (in 1895). Nice quote-

"To Long Branch, the gambler Diamond Jim Brady brought Lillian Russel. Brady designed and commissioned an electric car with a rounded glass front, with no headlights but a hundred bulbs in that transparent interior, where the couple could seat themselves on display, two large-bodied people adorned with brocades and sparkling jewelry, gliding silently at dusk down the oceanfront promenade, trailed by a procession of spare cars, each chauffeured and ready to serve in case of mechanical failure."
Thousands of Broadways: dreams and nightmares of the American small town By Robert Pinsky

    There is another possible confusion, however- not mentioned above- with Charles Brady King- who was an engineer, artist, mystic and inventor.   King test drove his (not electric) first car in Detroit on March 6, 1896, at speeds up to seven miles per hour. King provided parts, instructions and assistance to Henry Ford for his first car. This would explain why James Brady is called "King" Brady in the song.


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Subject: Australian pub song
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 13 - 08:02 PM

I like to have a beer with Duncan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST,tim page
Date: 16 Mar 16 - 01:06 PM

Hi Stewie
"Horses and the hacks all formed a line"
See (google it) pdf 80245 new world records.
Hope this relieves an itch. Iknow what it is like.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 29 Aug 17 - 10:54 AM

Prompted by a reader's letter to my website (PlanetSlade.com), I recently did some research on this song. I dug out the original newspaper reports of the real gun battle that inspired it, and you can read my description of that battle and its consequences here.
.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 29 Aug 17 - 02:02 PM

Thanks, Paul -- I'll definitely have to spend more time exploring your website. Looks great!

The story of Duncan and Brady (1890) is the second song background in the 2015 book Hear My Sad Story: The True Tales that inspired Stagolee, John Henry, and other traditional American folk songs by Richard Polenberg.

The book breaks down songs by the headings St. Louis, Lying Cold On the Ground, Bold Highway Men and Outlaws, Railroads, Workers, Disasters, and Martyrs. It gives the stories behind 27 songs as well as who wrote the song and who were the first to record it (I read the book with my iPad in hand so I could listen to YouTube videos of early and later recordings).

Linn


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Chris Amos
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 10:44 AM

Hi,

That fount of all knowledge Wikipedia has
this to say on the subject including a dood discography.

chris


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Cool Beans
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 11:07 AM

Earlier this year some anonymous copy editor at the New York Times paid homage to the song with a headline ("Dunkin or Brady?") on a story about Boston sports fans' split loyalty between the Dunkin Donuts Center and football star Tom Brady.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Duncan and Brady
From: Cool Beans
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 11:10 AM

The actual headline...

Brady vs. Dunkin': Rank the New England Institutions


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