The late Harry Bray always dreamed about being a recording artist, and his wish finally came true at age forty five. According to his son, Ron Bray of Hale Center, when Harry was about eighteen he attended music school in Arizona, and what he learned there stayed with him his entire life. Ron said, “At times it was a hobby, other times it was a career.
Harry Bray grew up in Turkey, Texas and spent several years in other area towns before settling in Plainview, Texas around 1964 with his wife Zula. When he wasn’t working on his music career, he ran a used car lot in Plainview. His first few recordings weren’t in a crowded studio in Nashville, Tennessee but were made in Quitaque, Texas with Garrett Morrison and possibly Dick Polk around 1961.
Although he never quite made it to the big time, Bray was quite famous in the area, During his recording career Bray wrote, recorded and released seventeen singles on his own labels, “Satin” and “Twix-Tween” Records. His songs were regularly played on Floydada, Texas radio station, KFLD. He Mostly wrote and produced country songs, but he did branch out of his comfort zone and produced one rock record and one soul record. His last recorded song, “Sweet Love Letters”, recorded by Larry Nelson in 1982, was said to have been played in Fort Worth, Texas on the Bill Mack, Midnight Cowboy Show, on WBAP.
Ron, Who played a few times with his father, said that music was always a part of his father’s life. “He wrote a lot of songs”, Ron Said. “And was real passionate about his music. Even though he was more famous as a local artist, his music did reach some people in the music industry. Dac Crowell, a music critic in Champaign, Illinois, said, “Bray’s music style was different than any one else’s at that time”. “He brought together such diverse elements as old timey writing styles, fifties honky tonk music and unconventional recording techniques,” Crowell wrote. “His music is definitely unpredictable and does not follow a commercial format. He did his own thing, totally independent of trends and style, and should be praised.
Musicians which Harry Bray worked with in Plainview, included Carolyn Collins, Jackie Johnson, Larry Nelson, and Shirley Malone. Bray remained active in music until his death in 1984. Robin Brown, who spent many years researching local musicians, said, “Bray was very passionate and humble about his career. He had a belief that someday his music would be valued, even though he received no accolades during his lifetime.