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For Leroy Brown, sharing a name with classic pop song isn’t so bad

Leroy Brown Marquette Park shares name with hit song written performed by Jim Croce. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Leroy Brown of Marquette Park shares a name with the hit song written and performed by Jim Croce. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 18, 2013 6:14AM

He’s not mean, but he does have a junkyard dog.

He admits to being a gambler, and he likes his fancy clothes.

Leroy Brown of Chicago has been associated with the 1973 Jim Croce hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” most of his life.

“I will never forget Jim Croce,” said Brown, 47. “I was first made aware of my name at age 13. It hasn’t stopped. My grade school teacher [at Garfield Elementary in Maywood] loved that song. He sang it every morning. It hasn’t stopped.”

Brown is not a bad, bad guy, however.

He works in the engineering department at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

“My name has opened doors from the first job I’ve had,” said Brown, one of several area men bearing that name. “Before they ask me anything, they say, ‘So you’re bad, bad Leroy Brown?’ And then they smile.”

Does Leroy Brown like “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown?”

“I have no choice,” he answered with a laugh. “I can’t get around it.”

The Sun-Times walked through some of Croce’s lyrics with Brown:

Well the South Side of Chicago

Is the baddest part of town

(Brown lives in Marquette Park on the South Side with his wife, Tonya)

And if you go down there, you better just beware

Of a man named Leroy Brown

(“They call me Uncle Leroy around here. Unfortunately I’m a humble guy, open-minded to everything.”)

Now Leroy more than trouble

You see he stand ’bout 6-foot-4

(Brown is 5-foot-7)

All the downtown ladies call him “Treetop Lover”

All the men just call him “sir.”

(“Men do call me sir,” he said. “It’s old school. Ladies don’t call me ‘Treetop Lover.’ I’m married.”)

Now Leroy, he a gambler

(“I am a gambler,” Brown admitted. “Three weeks ago I won $9,500 on the slots.”)

And he likes his fancy clothes

(“I love fancy clothes,” Brown said. “You come here on a Saturday night and I’m dressed sharp with suits, turtlenecks, dress jackets.”)

And he likes to wear his diamond rings

(“I do wear diamond rings.”)

On everybody’s nose

(“You know, that’s an imprint [from a fight]. I’ve done that a few times.”

He got a custom Continental

He got an Eldorado too

(Brown used to drive a 1976 Delta 88 — an Oldsmobile, not a Lincoln or a Cadillac.)

He got a .32 gun in his pocket for fun

(“Back in the day, but no more.”)

He got a razor in his shoe

(“Me and that song have a lot in common, man.”)

Well Friday ’bout a week ago

Leroy shootin’ dice

(“I go out and shoot dice on Friday and Saturday nights.”)

And at the edge of the bar

Sat a girl name Doris

(“I don’t know a girl named Doris, thank God,” Brown said. “He was definitely a lover’s man. I’ve only been with two woman my entire life. I’ve been married 24 years.”

And ooh that girl looked nice

(“Everyone would ask me, ‘Is that bad, bad Leroy Brown?’ ” Tonya Brown recalled of their courtship. “He’s a nice guy.”)

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