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about

Jim Krueger grew up in Manitowoc, 25 miles up the shoreline of Lake Michigan from where I did. Friends affectionately called the soft-spoken guitarist “Bruiser,” and he became a musical force in the area before taking his talents to the West Coast. There, he joined up with established British singer/guitarist Dave Mason, writing Mason’s signature song, the late-‘70s classic “We Just Disagree” (later also a top 10 country hit for Billy Dean). Jim rode that wave of success for several years, playing mammoth stages and on recording sessions with Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson.

But the crowds thinned out in the ‘80s and he moved back to Manitowoc and started a band called the Happy Schnapps Combo. His goofy polka-rap Combo concoctions like “The Bears Still Suck Polka” have embedded themselves deeply in Wisconsin culture. Sadly, Jim’s life ended where it began in 1993 at age 43. I sure wish he was still around.

lyrics

You went out west with a Strat on your back
A song in your head, and a voice you could stack
Into the sweetest harmony

Played your way into rock n’ roll heights
Backstage blur in the Hollywood lights
It was a quicksand life
Did you ever reach your hand up high?

You were hardly around
Long enough to be the toast of the town
You couldn’t see the future
They’ll sing your songs
Probably long after we’re all gone
They won’t forget you, Bruiser

You came back here, to where you began
And you started a weird little polka band
The people came from all around

Raise it up, drink it all down
Wipe your mouth to the roar of the crowd
And stumble off the stage

They buy you shots, slap your back
They don’t understand, so nobody asks
What it was like up there
A hundred-thousand miles up in the air

You were hardly around
Long enough to be the toast of the town
You couldn’t see the future
They’ll sing your songs
Probably long after we’re all gone
They won’t forget you, Bruiser

Just a 3-inch-long
Article that told the world you were gone
I won’t forget you, Bruiser


© 2020 Chris Richards / White Mare Music (BMI)

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from Wisconsin River, released April 22, 2021

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Chris Richards Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Chris Richards is a critically acclaimed songwriter and recording artist from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

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