“Duncan and Brady”


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


The notes in Brown describe a history of this ballad which bears little resemblance to the song itself: Brady is not a policeman but the criminal in the piece, shot by deputy Albert Bounds around 1900. It is noteworthy that Laws quotes none of this. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "Casey Jones (I)" [Laws G1] (lyrics)
  • cf. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (lyrics)


  • Arthur "Brother-in-Law" Armstrong, "Brady" (AFS 3978 B3, 1940)
  • Wilmer Watts & the Lonely Eagles, "Been on the Job Too Long" (Paramount 3210, 1930; on TimesAint01)


  1. Laws I9, "Brady (Duncan and Brady)"
  2. BrownII 248, "Brady" (1 text)
  3. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 85-87, "Duncan and Brady" (3 texts; the second is incomplete and may well be a version of "Joseph Mica (Mikel) (The Wreck of the Six-Wheel Driver) (Been on the Choly So Long)" [Laws I16] with some Brady lyrics mixed in; both the second an third start with lines from "Twinkle Twinke Little Star")
  4. Sandburg, pp. 198-199, "Brady" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  5. Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 596, "Duncan and Brady" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. DT 660, DUNCBRAD
  7. Roud #4177
  8. BI, LI09


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (recording, Wilmer Watts & the Lonely Eagles)
Keywords: homicide family
Found in: US(MW,SE)