The Chuck Wagon Gang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Chuck Wagon Gang
OriginLubbock, Texas, U.S.
GenresCountry, bluegrass, Gospel
Years active1936–present
MembersShaye Smith
Melissa Kemper
Stan Hill
Karl Smakula

The Chuck Wagon Gang is a Country gospel musical group, formed in 1935 by D.P. (Dad) Carter and son Jim (Ernest) and daughters Rose (Lola) and Anna (Effie).[1] The group got their first radio break as sponsored singers for Bewley Flour in 1936.[2] The "Gang" signed with Columbia Records and remained with them for 39 years, creating a world record with them that lasted until 2000, when Johnny Mathis' overall contract with the same label (combining both his signage in 1957 and re-signage in 1968) entered its 40th year. At one point they were Columbia's number one selling group with excess of over 39 million in record sales.[3]

The Chuck Wagon Gang has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Grand Ole Opry. The group has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Smithsonian Institution's classic American recordings.[3]


The group was founded in 1935 broadcasting from radio station KFYO in Lubbock, Texas, and took the name in 1936 when they moved to WBAP in Fort Worth.[4]

From Columbia to Copperfield[edit]

By the late 1970s, the group was still touring but felt a lack of support from the label they had recorded for during the previous forty-one years. Columbia had stopped servicing their songs to radio; thus airplay had become non-existent. Roy and Ruth Ellen Carter talked about it. They asked each other the question: "What can we do to rebuild what Daddy started?" That became the aim: not to make money, but to truly dedicate themselves to rebuilding the group to the strongest position it had enjoyed in years past. It was at this point starting in 1979 that they began recording for Copperfield Records for several years.


  • Shaye Smith – alto, manager/owner (1994–2007, 2010–) (granddaughter of original alto Anna Carter Gordon Davis)
  • Melissa Kemper – soprano (2001–2006, 2015–)
  • Stan Hill – tenor (2006–)
  • Wyatt Austin – bass (2017–2018) [5]
  • Karl Smakula – bass/guitar (2017-) [5]

Former members[edit]

Original members:

  • D.P. (Dad) Carter – tenor, mandolin (1936–1955)
  • Rose (Lola) Carter Karnes – soprano (1936–1975)
  • Anna (Effie) Carter Gordon Davis – alto (1936–1975, 1978) (Married to former Governor Jimmie Davis of Louisiana from 1968 - 2000)
  • Jim (Ernest) Carter – bass, guitar (1936–1953, 1968–1970)


  • Jim Waits
  • Haskel "Hi-Pockets" Mitchell
  • Roy Carter
  • Eddie Carter
  • Howard Gordon
  • Ronnie Crittenden
  • Pat McKeehan
  • Greg Gordon (Son of Anna) see Billboard Feb 3 1968.
  • Vicki Gordon (Owens) (Daughter of Anna)
  • Ronnie Page
  • Bettye Goodwin
  • Ruth Ellen Yates
  • Shirley Carter
  • Patricia Neighbors
  • Harold Timmons
  • Debby Trusty
  • Anita Saylor
  • Kathy Watson
  • Renee' Martin
  • Darrell Morris
  • Jim Wesson
  • Rick Karnes
  • Ronnie Page
  • Allen Thompkins
  • Penny Greene Shelnut
  • Kelly Jennings
  • Dave Emery
  • Julie Hudson
  • Jeremy Stephens
  • Kasey Owens
  • Grant Owens

* Source 'CWG 70th Ann. CD Cover'

Partial discography[edit]

  • Joy To The World (1954)
  • Perfect Joy (1960)
  • God's Gentle People (1962)
  • He Walks With Me (1963)
  • That Old Time Religion (1964)
  • Joy Bells Ringing in My Soul (1965)
  • Christmas With The Chuck Wagon Gang (1965; reissue of Joy To The World with two additional songs)
  • Lord, Lead Me On (1966)
  • Move Up To Heaven (1967)
  • Songs Of Faith & Glory (1967)
  • The Glory Land Way (1967)
  • Revival Time (1968)
  • Rejoice (1969)
  • Standing On The Rock (1969)
  • The Chuck Wagon Gang's Greatest Hits (1969)
  • Oh What A Happy Day (1973)
  • Camp Meetin' Time (1974)
  • Greatest Hits - Volume 1 (1990)
  • Keep On Keepin' On (1993)
  • Gathered Together (2002)
  • The Acoustic Sound Of The Chuck Wagon Gang (2003)
  • Live At Renfro Valey (2003)
  • Live In Branson (2004)
  • Clinging To A Saving Hand (2005)
  • Timeless Hymns (2006)
  • 70th Anniversary CD (with Various Artists) (2006)
  • Remembering The Old Songs (2007)
  • Reminiscing (2008)
  • Country Gospel Treasures (2009)
  • The Best Is Yet To Be (2011)
  • The Chuck Wagon Gang Complete Recordings 1936–1955 (2014)
  • Meeting In Heaven – The Chuck Wagon Gang Sings the Songs of Marty Stuart (2014)


  1. ^ "old-time country music cds, cassettes, videos, books". The Music Barn. Retrieved 2008-02-14.[dead link]The Start of the Carter Family
  2. ^ Rick Marsehall Encyclopedia of Country and Western Music 1990 Page 33 "Soon thereafter, Bewley Flour lost their sponsored singers on the station, the Chuck Wagon Gang, and the Carters were asked to assume the role. The year was 1936, "
  3. ^ a b "The Renaissance Center - Home - News - Chuck Wagon Gang 2003". The Renaissance Center. Archived from the original on 2012-08-10. Retrieved 2008-02-14.The Chuck Wagon Gang's Start
  4. ^ "Southern Gospel History - C / ChuckWagonGang".
  5. ^ a b "News".

External links[edit]