KERA Arts Story Search

Looking for events? Click here for the Go See DFW events calendar.

This Week in Texas Music History: The Chuck Wagon Gang

by Stephen Becker 11 May 2012 2:54 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet the “other Carter Family” of American roots music.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman meets the “other Carter Family” of American roots music.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

  • Click the player to listen to the podcast:

  • Expanded online version:

Rosa Lola Carter, of the gospel quartet the Chuck Wagon Gang, died on May 13, 1997.  Formed in Lubbock in 1935 by David Carter and three of his children – Ernest, Rosa Lola and Effie – the group first performed on local radio as the Carter Quartet. By 1936, the Carters had moved to Fort Worth, where they landed their very own show on the powerful WBAP radio station. It was during this time that the program’s sponsor changed the group’s name to the Chuck Wagon Gang. The Chuck Wagon Gang soon became one of the most popular gospel groups in the country, selling millions of songbooks and records and making the very first recording of the classic gospel song “I’ll Fly Away.”

Although the Chuck Wagon Gang has changed personnel several times over the years, the group continues to tour and perform throughout North America.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a pioneer of barrelhouse piano who started his career underneath the house.