Bruce Johnson, 1970

Bob Osgood's text as it appeared in
Sets in Order / Square Dancing magazine

Bruce Johnson
It was just 20 years ago this July, on a balmy summer evening, that a young caller recently out of the Navy hesitantly climbed five wooden steps, squeezed his way between fiddler and bass player and stood nervously beside the dignified, grey haired gentleman who addressed the crowd of more than 50,000. Words were always easy for Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw and this evening when he introduced the timid young caller the huge audience stood hushed. Finally the words of the introduction were almost completed and as Shaw’s voice rose you could sense the excitement in the crowd. “…and now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s with great pleasure that I bring you your next caller, a young man who is doing an outstanding job and whom I predict will go far in this world of square dancing, Bruce Johnson!” In the explosion of applause Bruce moved up to the microphone, signaled the piano player and delivered a long to be remembered rendition of “Alabama Jubilee.”

This was not the beginning but it was an early episode not to be forgotten in the life of our cover caller. Since that date back in 1950 Bruce has called in virtually every state, in most Canadian provinces, in Japan and the Philippines, in Germany and other countries overseas. His records on Windsor, MacGregor, and now on his own label, Pulse, have brought the Johnson personality into many square dance halls throughout the world. Bruce’s special brand of calling has stimulated the interest of many young callers and his callers institutes throughout the years have encouraged many newcomers to become sturdy practitioners of the art of calling. It is with pleasure, therefore that we reproduce the Gene Anthony original of Bruce Johnson on our cover and welcome Bruce to the Sets in Order American Square Dance Society Hall of Fame.

(Square Dancing, April, 1970)

Milestone Award Citation

Interview with Bob Brundage

Additional Photos