Skip to main content

Buddy Holly: The Decca Recordings

The first major record label Buddy Holly recorded for was Decca Records in Nashville. The Decca recordings failed to produce a hit single, but after Buddy had some success with recordings on the Brunswick and Coral labels, Decca decided to package the 1956 tunes into an album. That'll Be The Day was the third and final studio album released before Buddy Holly's death on February 3, 1959. Recorded January 26, July 22 and November 15, 1956 at Bradley Film and Recording Studios, 804 16th Ave. So., Nashville, Tennessee, the album was released in April of 1958, ten months before Buddy's death.


"That'll Be The Day (Decca, 1958)"
(Side 1) You Are My One Desire, Blue Days Black Nights, Modern Don Juan, Rock Around With Ollie Vee, Ting A Ling and Girl On My Mind. (Side 2) That'll Be the Day (July 22 version), Love Me, I’m Changing All Those Changes, Don’t Come Back Knockin’ and Midnight Shift.

On October 14, 1955, Buddy, Bob Montgomery and Larry Welborn performed at Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock in a show featuring Bill Haley and The Comets and Jimmy Snow. Eddie Crandall, a Nashville agent for country singer Marty Robbins, watched their performance. 14 days later, the trio appeared at the same venue, opening for Marty Robbins. Crandall see's Buddy perform again.

About the first of December, Crandall wrote to “Pappy” Dave Stone, radio station KDAV manager, asking for exclusive rights to help Buddy obtain a recording contract. He needed a recording of four original songs. On December 7th, Buddy, Don Guess and Jerry Allison drove to Wichita Falls to record at Nesman Recording Studio. The four songs: Love Me, Don’t Come Back Knockin’, Moonlight Baby, and I Guess I Was Just A Fool were submitted on acetate to Decca.

Around January 23, 1956, Buddy negotiated a recording contract with Decca and a three-year songwriter’s contract with Cedarwood Publishing Company. The first session on January 26th in Nashville included Buddy, Sonny Curtis and Don Guess under the name, Buddy and the Two Tones. They and the Nashville musicians recorded four songs: Blue Days, Black Nights, Don’t Come Back Knockin’, Love Me and Midnight Shift.

~

Buddy's legal name was Charles Hardin Holley. On February 8th, he received Decca’s contract from Jim Denny of Cedarwood Publishing. Someone had inadvertently left out the E in his last name. As a result, Buddy adopted the Holly spelling for his last name.

On July 22, 1956 Holly, Curtis, Guess, and Jerry Allison went to Nashville for the second Decca recording session. The songs that were recorded were I’m Changing All Those Changes, Girl On My Mind, Rock Around With Ollie Vee, Ting-A-Ling and a slowed-down version That’ll Be The Day, which was also four steps higher than the later hit record released on Brunswick. Buddy detested the Decca version.

On November 15th, Buddy returned to Nashville for the third and final recording session with Decca. Rock Around With Ollie Vee, Modern Don Juan and You Are My One Desire were recorded.

The complete personnel list from the Decca recording sessions was: Buddy Holly — vocal & guitar, Sonny Curtis — lead guitar, Grady Martin — rhythm guitar, Doug Kirkham — bass and percussion, Don Guess — bass, Jerry Allison — drums, Harold Bradley — guitar, Floyd Cramer — piano, Farris Coursey — drums, E.R. “Dutch” McMillan — alto saxophone, Owen Bradley — piano and Boots Randolph — saxophone.

~

On January 22, 1957, Decca informed Buddy that his renewal option was not going to be exercised and that his contract would expire on January 26, 1957. On February 24th and 25th, Buddy traveled to the Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico and recorded I’m Looking For Someone To Love and what would become the hit version of That’ll Be The Day. Besides Holly, the other players were Larry Welborn on bass, Allison on drums and Niki Sullivan, Gary Tollett and Ramona Tollett singing sing background vocals on That’ll Be The Day.

Afterwards, Buddy found out he was restricted from recording any of the songs that were done under his contract with Decca. A name, other than Buddy Holly, would be needed in order to release the new version of That’ll Be The Day. Buddy's group considered briefly, then discarded The Beetles before selecting The Crickets.

~

Norman Petty was able to secure a record deal for The Crickets with Brunswick Records and a record deal for Buddy Holly as a solo artist with Coral Records. Buddy knew Norman Petty's recording of That'll Be the Day was special. He sold the future hit to Brunswick and when Decca got wind of it, they tried to sue Brunswick before realizing they owned Brunswick. They also found out they owned Coral as well.

Over the next month, the make up of The Crickets came together as: Buddy Holly, vocals and lead guitar; Jerry Allison, drums; Joe Mauldin, bass; and Niki Sullivan, rhythm guitar. After Buddy was killed, his eventual replacement became Sonny Curtis, who still sings lead for the Crickets today.

~



("Buddy Holly Collector's Edition", 2008)

Buddy Holly "The Collector's Edition," is a 3-CD package that comes with a booklet that tells much of the history of Buddy Holly. It comes in an attractive collectors tin box. The last CD is a reissue of the MCA release of the Decca recordings, minus Ting-A-Ling. It's what I have been listening to lately. All of the recordings are great, with the exception of the slowed-down higher-pitched version of That'll Be The Day.

~

This 1967 release, "The Great Buddy Holly," on Vocalion Records is a collection of the Decca recordings, minus Ting-A-Ling.


~

This 1982 release, "The Great Buddy Holly," on MCA Records is a reissue of the 1967 Vocalion Records release of the Decca recordings, minus Ting-A-Ling.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…