Dale Lawrence Shelnut 
1935 - 1983 

Inducted 2001 - Southern Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame 

Few individuals ever sang a Gospel Song with the innate feeling of Dale Shelnut. 

Born July 29, 1935, just outside Guin, Alabama, Dale began his career in 1951 with the formation of the Rhythm Masters. In 1960 he joined the Tennesseeans Quartet but he became best known as lead singer for the Dixie Echoes and as a regularly featured soloist on the Gospel Singing Jubilee television program. 

Always a crowd favorite, Dale took control of the Dixie Echoes in the late 1960s and for the next fifteen years kept them atop the industry as one of Southern Gospel's finest quartets. He passed away suddenly in 1983 but not before making an irreversible contribution to the heart and soul of Southern Gospel.

The statement's below are by Jerry Kirksey, former Editor-in-chief of the Singing News Magazine.

"Be Yourself"

Dale was a mama's boy and proud of it. He is picured here with mom, Mrs. Lemmie Shelnut. Folks this lady knew how to cook.

This is one of the two Dale Shelnuts I had the honor of calling my friend. "Be Yourself" that was the only advice Dale would give anyone, and he lived it better than anyone I know. Dale was Dale. He was real to the bone and plain as a piece of cornbread. He didn't even know how to put on airs. He loved singing, farming and ranching. He loved the Lord, Shirley, Randy and Andrew and then all the rest of us.

This is the other Dale Shelnut. He was a singer and I do mean singer. Dale had a powerful voice and a range that was the envy of many singers. Dale could be heard with or without a PA set. He was a lead singer, but he could climb over most tenor singers and hang in there with the best of the baritone singers. Dale loved to sing more than any man I ever knew. It was so easy for him, the sounds just poured out. His voice was as big as was his heart.

Dale first sang with The Rythm Masters in 1959. He joined the Tennesseans Quartet in 1960. The Tenneseans are pictured above: L/R at the top is Noel Fox who later joined the Oak Ridge Boys, and Dale Shelnut who joined the Dixie Echoes in 1963. Dean Basham is in the middle. On the bottom left is Wally Laxon. The man in the bottom right is Eddie Crook who later joined the Sego Bros and Naomi and then the Happy Goodman Family before going into the record business.

Pictured here are L/R Tom Walls owner of Supreme Records for whom the Dixie Echoes recorded at that time. Tom was a lot like Dale, a real down to earth guy who was great to work with. Tom and his wife Jean ran one of the best record labels in the history of this industry. Don't you just love the outfits Tom and Dale are wearing.