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A Young Owen Bradley

Grady Martin


Session #2
Buddy wanted to really capture his own sound on tape for the Nashville people to hear, so Buddy, Sonny, Don and Jerry went to the Norman Petty Studio in Clovis for the first time to lay down some of Buddy's original songs. After these were sent to Decca, they returned to Nashville on July 22nd to record more songs for the Decca group. "Rock Around With Ollie Vee", "Changing All Those Changes", "Girl On My Mind", "Ting-A-Ling", and "That'll Be The Day" were recorded. Owen Bradley deemed "That'll Be The Day" the worst song he had ever heard and none of the songs were released.

Session #3
Buddy thought they may be happier if they used their Nashville session musicians again, so as one last attempt, they returned on November 15th.
"Rock Around With Ollie Vee", "Modern Don Juan", and "You Are My One Desire" were recorded with sax riffs and solos by ER Dutch McMillin (the only saxophone player used by Bradley at the time). Decca attempted a 2nd single with "Modern Don Juan/You Are My One Desire" released on Christmas Eve of 1956.
Buddy had to let his one year contract with Decca expire, and within 90 days of these last recordings took a trip 90 miles west of Lubbock to see Norman Petty again in Clovis, NM.

In 1956 there were two important studios in Nashville. The most important was the Quonset hut where Bradley produced for Decca and its subsidiaries and a studio on Mc Gavock street where Chet Atkins produced for RCA.
Atkins moved when Studio B was opened in November 1957.

In 1962 the Quonset Hut was sold to Columbia and in 1965 Bradley opened his Barn studio outside of Nashville. All of Owen’s session administration was lost in a fire a few years later.
In later years Sony Music built their offices around the house and the studio. The quonset hut housed the art department untill early 2005. Just like RCA's Studio B down the street, the Quonset Hut studio is now being restaured in its old glory. It will soon be open to the public. At last!


It always was said or officialy stated that Buddy recorded in a studio called Bradley's Barn in 1956. But here's the real story: Owen enjoyed record production and in 1952, he and his brother Harold Bradley built their own recording studio (one of the first in Nashville), where initially they produced short documentary films. However, they also began to record singers such as Ernest Tubb and Kitty Wells. By 1956, they had moved to larger premises and had their famed quonsethut studio on 16th Avenue South, Nashville. It was only a surplus army building but it contained superb recording equipment and facilities. It was here that Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent recorded some of their earliest sessions.
The immediate area surrounding the army barrack eventually became known as Music Row. It was here that, over the years, the recording industry of Nashville developed. When, in 1962, Columbia Records persuaded Bradley to sell the studios, they carefully built their new complex over and around the hut, so as not to destroy the excellent acoustics of the building. His contract with Columbia prohibited him from opening another studio in the immediate area of Nashville for five years, but in 1965, he found an old barn about 20 miles away and restored it to the standards of the hut. It became known as Bradley's Barn.

Posted by Bjorn Witlox (october 2003)

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