The Wheel Chair Singers – “The Famous York Family”

The Sleeve:
105_5283 105_5284

The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
I consider it a great privilege and honor to write the introduction for a recording by the York Family.
 I have known these wonderful people for many years, and they have truly been an inspiration to me as well as to everyone they have come into contact with.
 Not only has their singing ability inspired me but their great spirit and determination to go and sing for our Lord, even with their great handicap.
 These four are from a family of fifteen children, born to Mr. and Mrs. Arch York, of Summerville, Ga., Rt. #3, where they have lived all their lives. The other eleven children are all normal, but these four have been afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy from birth, and none of them has ever been able to walk and play like others. But even with their physical infirmities they have covered much of the southland singing and testifying for their lord.
 They have appeared in concerts, on radio, on television and in many churches throughout the eastern part of our land. Now they are making their first recording which I know will be a great success.
 Maggie was born October 6, 1914 and sings soprano.
 Ava was born April 3, 1927, and sings alto.
 Alvin was born January 8, 1929, and sings bass.
 Jimmy was born October 7, 1934, and sings tenor.
May God use these talented people to bless the heart of many.

 Rev. Harvey C. Brown
 505 Lakeview Drive
 Rossville, Ga.

Personal Review:
 Wheelchairs. Country church. Southern Gospel. Yup – I’m in love – now for the music.

 So, the album opens with “The Wheel Chair Song” which has some Richard Miller styled guitar playing and vocals, now, I don’t know who is who on this album, but that sibling bond these four have when singing is pretty nice. I like this classic 60’s southern gospel. I don’t know what they are singing though. After that comes “What a Day That Will Be” – and it’s another good sounding song, musically. Vocally, however it’s different and hard to understand, though, I do know they are singing about Jesus – and the song title. You definitely can hear the bass singer, Alvin. I wonder which one is Alvin, I’m guessing the one on the far left, with the moustache and Elvis hair. “Pleasures of Heaven” follows next, and you can really hear the female vocalists on this track providing the backing vocals. Then comes “Love is Why” – and once more, I mainly like it for the musicianship as opposed to the vocals, the vocals sound distorted and possibly recorded poorly. I’m sure these four are very talented individuals, but whoever recorded this album wasn’t good at what he was doing. “How Big is God?” comes next, and I love that twangy opening guitar strumming, then the group dynamic in the opening vocals, where all four sing like a quartet – that is neat! The A-Side closes with “The Last Mile of the Way” and it’s a pretty solid ending track, it has that train like feeling to it, and it makes for a smooth exit to the first set of six songs. I do wish the vocals were less distorted – but hey, still a good album – so far.

 The B-Side opens with “Everywhere He Went, He Was Doing Good” – which once more opens with some twangy guitar – and oddly, the vocals seem less distorted on this side. I can’t dance to this, but I can bob my head along. I’ve always dreamed of that old 60’s southern bible belt lifestyle, being a preacher, sitting on the front porch with my banjo, plucking away as I sing gospel songs – though, that has nothing to do with this album at all. Maybe, I’d play for the York Family. “Known Only to Him” follows next, and that guitar playing is pretty great. It’s a pretty good song, I’m pretty sure Jimmy is the one with the nasally, high sounding southern voice – and what a odd accent he has. Is that what Georgians sound like? I’m disappointed that this album hasn’t featured any solos yet. We need solos. I need solos. Then comes “When I Inherit My Mansion” – and well, now they all sound nasally in this song, it kind of sounds like how someone would sing with one eye closed and a cigar in the mouth. I’ve always wondered why people say they’ll get a mansion in Heaven? Why does it have to be a mansion? What if I want a bungalow, or a condo, or a trailer home? The song is good though. Then comes “Freeway to Heaven” and that sounds like it should be the name of a Christian heavy metal album – this song however, is exceptionally good – the singers all seem to have their own little solos – or is it all just Jimmy. “I’m on the Rocks” follows next, and that doesn’t even sound like a Gospel song. That’s like more of a folk or country sounding title. The musicianship is superb – and I am pretty sure one of the female vocalists did a solo in this, still may be just Jimmy singing – whoever it is, has a rather appealing voice and I am quite okay with this. The album ends with the track “Heaven Bound” – and of course, they end the album with a slow Gospel song, I really hate when bands do that – don’t end albums on a slow song. In conclusion, this album has been a rather interesting, yet – short experience.

 I searched all over the internet to find any sort of information on these four – but nothing turned up. If you know anything, send me an e-mail!

Interesting Facts:

Track Listing:
A1 – The Wheel Chair Song
A2 – What a Day That Will Be
A3 – Pleasures of Heaven
A4 – Love is Why
A5 – How Big is God?
A6 – The Last Mile of the Way

B1 – Everywhere He Went, He Was Doing Good
B2 – Known Only to Him
B3 – When I Inherit My Mansion
B4 – Freeway to Heaven
B5 – I’m On the Rocks
B6 – Heaven Bound

ChesCamp Records

Catalog Number:
LP 101

Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Background Music by The Joyfulle’s

Other Albums I Own by The Wheel Chair Singers:



  • Can’t believe you have a copy of this. I did some research. The disc indeed play slot around N. Georgia back in the day. The cover is a dark one indeed. Great postings!!

  • Brenda Campbell Shropshire says:

    I believe I have several copies as my dad was 1/2 of ChesCamp records and is possibly the twangy guitar player.
    My teen years were filled with this family and taking them around the South to sing.
    The recording ability, especially in the rural South, was greatly lacking and didn’t do justice to these 4 amazing voices.
    See if you can find something by James or Mary Padgett while you’re at it. Mary was a niece who married a friend also in a wheelchair.

  • Steve Gayton says:

    These were awesome singers and people. Alvin is on the far left, then Maggie, next is Ava, and finally Jimmy. They are my second cousins. Though I was young, I loved going to see them and play on the farm. Alvin used to ride me around on his electric wheelchair. I remember Jimmy had a car that was outfitted so he could drive it. Ava was the first to pass away. I remember her casket sitting in the parlor of the old country home. Jimmy passed away last of the 4. Can’t recall what year. Annie Ruth there mother prayed and God honored her request to be able to bury those 4 so she could take care of them

  • Sierra Dillard says:

    This is my grandmother’s aunts and uncles! She still sings some of their original songs in our church. If anyone has a copy of any of their albums for sale, I would love to buy them and keep a little piece of family history 😀 Thank you!

  • Tate says:

    Hello Sierra! That is great! I don’t think there albums come up too often, they’re pretty rare and pricey. I suggest to have eBay notify you if something is listed.

  • William says:

    I would love to get another copy of this LP. Please leave any info that will help me to find a copy.

  • Brenda Campbell Shropshire says:

    Sierra Dillard please let me know if you found a copy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have not

  • Brenda Campbell Shropshire says:

    Sierra Dillard please get in touch with me. I have albums and post cards that I’d like to send you. Is your grandmother Mary Padgett? I also have a promo picture of Mary and James Padgett.

  • Anonymous says:

    That’s amazing! Unfortunately, Mary never had children. She is my grandmother’s sister. I would love to see those things! My email is

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m locked out of Facebook so can you message address to

  • Sherri Davis says:

    I actually grew up knowing this family. Their mother, Mrs. York was a friend of my grandparents. When I was a small child we would visit their home and Alvin would ride me on his wheelchair. I remember thinking he was so handsome. This was a precious family.

  • Bruce Tammelin says:

    My brother and I were in our early teens when we were called upon by the preacher at Melville Hill Baptist Church in Daisy Tennessee (Joe Ivey) to build a ramp so the Wheelchair singers could get into the church house.
    We had never built a ramp before and on Sunday morning we watched in fear as they were rolled up the ramp.
    So afraid it would collapse.
    Fortunately they survived and we heard some wonderful gospel songs. I had the album but it is long gone.
    Bruce and Neil Tammelin

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