Chuck Wagon Gang celebrates 77 years

For the WPT


What would be your choice for the Top 20 gospel groups of all time? That was the question posed to listeners of SGM Radio when they conducted an email campaign to list those groups.

They were all there … the Goodmans, the Speers, the Cathedrals and all the greats of gospel music, but the No. 1 gospel group of all time according to this poll was The Chuck Wagon Gang.

The results listed all of the accomplishments of the Gang over the past 77 years such as being history’s best record-selling gospel quartet (more than 39 million sold on Columbia Records alone) and the fact that The Chuck Wagon Gang’s style has remained consistent through all those years.

Dad Carter would have it no other way. “Sing the old songs and sing ’em the way I taught you,” was his sage advice.

The Gang has done just that. At any of their concerts, one will still hear “Echoes from the Burning Bush,” “The Church in the Wildwood,” “I’ll Fly Away” and other familiar old songs that so identify gospel music’s most recognizable style of music. Today’s group consists of Shaye Smith, Julie Hudson, Stan Hill, Jeremy Stephens and Joe Rotten.

The quartet still maintains the clear, uncluttered sound of pure music that so established them in the mid-’30s. Four voices and one guitar and an acoustic bass is all it takes for this evergreen foursome to transport the listener to another time and another place where life was a bit simpler and time seemed to move to a slower pace.

The Chuck Wagon Gang will be appearing at First Baptist Church in Eupora at 7 p.m. Nov. 15. Opening for them at 6:30 p.m. will also be one of Mississippi’s greatest quartets, Southern Image Quartet of Plantersville.