Some Information on Jean and Shorty Bradford
Shorty was born on Lookout Mountain in the northwest corner of Georgia. Every night after supper at the Bradford household a singing school for all seven children was held teaching the do, re, mi’s. Shorty and his brother Grady went on to the Stamps Baxter singing school in Fort Worth, Texas. Shorty studied voice with W. W. Combs. Grady and Shorty taught singing schools all over Texas. It is said they taught 48 weeks out of 52 each year.
I was born in Cartersville, GA in a gospel music loving family. My father took me to every singing school he heard of. At the age of 13, I was singing with three men in the “Gospel Four Quartet” on the radio every Sunday morning.
The Suwanne River Boys were to be at a singing one Sunday in Atco, GA. George Hughes, their tenor, was sick and could not attend. I was asked to sing his part. We practiced about an hour on “Lord, Build me a Cabin” and other famous songs of theirs. Since they were one of my favorite groups, I already knew their songs. Of course, my family was “proud.”
Shorty and I met at an “All Day Singing” in Acworth, GA. He was with the Homeland Harmony Quartet and I was singing in a trio with Lee Roy Abernathy’s sister, Edith.
We married at a concert in College Park, GA. Eva Mae and the Lefevres along with the Blue Ridge Quartet and “Minnie Moore” provided the wedding music.
Lee Roy & Shorty formed the Happy Two and were together approximately 25 years. They had a unique communication between them and were the best of friends. On one occasion Lee Roy booked a concert in St. Louis, MO. He told Shorty the date, time and Place they should meet in St. Louis. Even though it was not mentioned again, one year later Shorty went to the street corner in St. Louis where they were to meet. Lee Roy was already there waiting for him.
The Homeland Harmony, after great national success disbanded. Lee Roy decided the two of them could handle all four parts and it was easier with just two people. They founded the Miracle Men and sang for a few years during the time with the Happy Two. Later the Shorty Bradford trio was formed. It was Shorty, Lorena Jones (Shorty’s cousin) and myself. Sue Gray played the Piano. Shorty loved this trio because of the personal, spiritual touch,
Shorty and I had three children, a boy and two girls. Our son Marshall died in 1966 at the age of 14 because of an accident at school. Shorty was still making TV shows with the Happy Two, but had a heart attack in 1967. He never quite recovered from Marshall’s death. Another heart attack in 1969 took him to be with Marshall. Our girls, Carolyn and Louise, and I started an evangelistic singing ministry. The Lord used our trio to win many souls to Him.
Over the years, I have done backup studio work, made several recordings of the trios and church choral groups I have led. At present, I have a county choir in Dade County, GA, where Shorty was born and raised. I also have a choir at Parkway Baptist Temple in Fort Oglethorpe, GA, I have the privilege of Playing the piano and traveling on weekends with Calvin Newton and his son, Wes, I have written gospel songs for many years. The first came to me one afternoon when the kids, then 8, 9, and 10 were chasing each other and jumping over furniture. That song, “Lord I Need You, Again Today”, has been recorded by the Spear Family, Lee College Choir, the Happy Goodmans and many others. “It Will Be Worth It” was recorded by the Spear Family and the Goodman’s, etc. Doug Oldham and others made “We’re not Home Yet Children.” The Cathedrals did “Then I’ll Know that You Know.” Jerry Goff sang “There’s a Payday (for the Saints of God).” The Gaither Trio recorded “You’ll Need Jesus to Carry you Through” in 1964. Most recently, Gold City recorded “Calvary’s Hill.” I was a staff writer with Benson Publishing Company in Nashville for three years, 1963 to 1966. I teach choirs, quartets, trios and individuals, gospel Piano and voice harmony. My life has been very full because of gospel music.
The Happy Two were singing in Mississippi in a gymnasium. While they were singing a fast song, a bird flew in one of windows at the top. Since Shorty always stood at Lee Roy’s back, Lee Roy didn’t know why the audience suddenly erupted in laughter. Shorty had taken a handkerchief from his pocket and laid it out on his “bald head”.