John Daniel (J.D.) Sumner (November 19, 1924 - November 16, 1998)


Legendary bass singer J.D. Sumner began his career in 1945 with the Sunny South Quartet in Tampa, Florida. He later served as manager of the Dixie Lily Harmoneers. His big break came in 1949 when he was hired as bass singer for the Sunshine Boys. After five years with that group, James Blackwood persuaded J.D. to join the Blackwood Brothers following the deaths of R W Blackwood and Bill Lyles in 1954.

In 1965, he left the Blackwoods to manage and sing bass for the Stamps. Over the next decade, JD Sumner And The Stamps Quartet became a fixture of the Southern Gospel Music world and became known to millions outside the gospel music community as a result of touring with Elvis Presley from 1971 to 1977.

During the 1980s, Sumner served as bass singer for the legendary Masters V quartet, along with Hovie Lister, Jake Hess, and James Blackwood. Near the end of the decade, Hess, Blackwood, and Lister left the Masters V. Sumner hired replacements and revived the Stamps name. He sang and managed the group until his death in 1998.

J.D. has been listed in Guiness Book of World Records as the World’s Lowest Bass Singer. J.D. is credited with the introduction of the tour bus to the Southern Gospel industry in 1955. He and James Blackwood also created the National Quartet Convention in 1957. He also composed over 700 songs, with his most famous being The Old Country Church. He served as Southern Gospel Music Association President from 1996 to 1998.


GMA Hall Of Fame (1984)
SGMA Hall Of Fame (1997)

Solo Discography

1965 Bass, Bass, Bass (Skylite Records/SLP-6033): Look Down That Lonesome Road, Lord, It's Me Again, If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again, Anytime, Anywhere, Near To The Heart Of God, I Am A Pilgrim, Steal Away, Keep Walking, What Heaven Means To Me, Lord I'm Coming Home, Ole Time Religion (Re-issued in 1975 as The Stamps Quartet Present Their Dynamic Bass on Skylite Records SLP-6148).

1968 The Many Moods Of The Illustrious J.D. Sumner (Heartwarming Records/HWS-1963): These Hands, God Put A Rainbow In The Sky, God Will Take Care Of You, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, The Way That He Loves, Swing Low, In The Upper Room, Life's Railway To Heaven, His Hands, At The Cross, When The Great Trumpet Sounds, Roamin' River.

hi res
1969 The Heart Of A Man (Sumar Records/SLP-4306): Time Has Made A Change, Papa's Banjo; Victory In Jesus, If I Can Help Somebody, Big Boss, Follow Me, Silver Haired Daddy, Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Sweetest Mother, Recitation: Who Will Take Grandma/Music: Where We'll Never Grow Old (Re-issued in 1982 as The Masters V Present Their Majestic Bass, J.D. Sumner on Skylite Records SLP-6266).

1972 The Way It Sounds Down Low (Heartwarming Records/R3149): If You Know The Lord, All Because Of God's Amazing Grace, Tears Are A Language God Understands, Turn Your Radio On, Medley: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again/Life's Railway To Heaven, The One Left Behind, Lord Build Me A Cabin In Glory, One By One, Roll Jordan Roll, The Unseen Hand.

1984 Thank God For Kids (Skylite Records/SLP-6321): Thank God For Kids, The Three Nails, If You Know The Lord, Life's Railway To Heaven, Put My Little Shoes Away, His Hand In Mine, Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Medley: Mama's Boy/Precious Memories, Blessed Assurance.

hi res
1985 The Masters V Present Their Magnificent Bass, J.D. Sumner (Skylite Records/SLP-6347): American Trilogy; The Unseen Hand; Leave It There; Just Thinking Out Loud; Old Man River; Roll, Jordan, Roll; In The Upper Room; Roamin' River; When I Hear Jesus Say, Come Home; Summertime.

1988 Present The Superlative Bass Voice Of J.D. Sumner (Masters Records/MSC-8801): His Hands; I Shall Be At Home; One By One; Now I Have Everything; Steal Away; Never; The King And I; Precious Is He To Me; We'll Talk It Over; My Way.

1993 RiverSong Comedy Classics/Live (reissued in 1995 as Live And Funny).

1999 The Wait Is Over (Skylite Records/9674504952) (compiles performances featuring Sumner from Skylite masters of the Blackwood Brothers, Stamps Quartet, Masters V, and J D's solo albums): What A Morning, Look Down That Lonesome Road, American Trilogy, If I Can Help Somebody, Precious Memories, Thank God For Kids, His Hand In Mine, Blessed Assurance, If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again, Going Home, Let The Lower Lights Be Burning, Green Green Grass Of Home, Old Time Religion, Roll On Jordan, I Am A Pilgrim, I've Got To Walk That Lonesome Road, Walking And Talking With My Lord, A Wonderful Time Up There, Give The World A Smile, Rainbow Of Love.

2009 A Musical Biography (Image Records/DAY1623D) (narrated by Donnie Sumner/features rare recordings of JD Sumner).

Songwriter's Résumé

(Partial List)

A Land Where Milk And Honey Flows
A Million Years From Now
Aloha Time
Because Of Him
Behind Your Tears
Beyond God's Horizon
Camp Meetin' Time
Crossing Chilly Jordan
Each Step I Take
Eternal Paradise
Everybody Ought To Love
For I've Got The Lord
From Now On
Give Me The Strength To Stand
God Made A Way
Guide My Feet
He Means All The World To Me
He Will See You Through
Heaven For Me
He'll See You Through
He's All That I Need
His Love
I Believe In The Old Time Way
I Can Feel The Touch Of His Hand
I Do Dear Jesus I Believe
I Don't Mind
I Found God
I Know It's So
I Serve A Living God
I Wanna Rest
I Want To Meet You Up In Heaven
I Wouldn't Trade
I'll Follow Where He Leads
I'm Gonna Serve The Lord Today
I'm Happy And Free
In That Land
Inside The Gate
I've Got To Walk That Lonesome Road
Jesus Cared For Me
Jesus Is Mine
Jesus Is The Reason
Keep Me
Lord Send Me
Lord Teach Me How To Pray
Mammy's Boy
My All I Give
My Prayer
Old Man Death
On That Happy Golden Shore
On The Other Side Of Jordan
One Day
Only One Touch
Paradise Valley
Pay As You Go
Rolling Along
Some Wonderful Day
Somebody Prayed For Me
Someday Soon
Something Old Something New
Something Took Hold Of Me
Sweet Peace
Thank God For Calvary
The Greatest Of These Is Love
The Long Long Road
The Old Country Church
The Touch Of His Hand
The Victory Road
There Is A Light
Walking And Talking With My Lord
Walking In The Light
What A Glorious Morning That Will Be
What A Morning
What Will You Do
When I'm Alone
When The Clouds Roll By
Wonderful Love
Wonderful Savior

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