Jake Hess (December 24, 1927 - January 4, 2004)

Jake Hess


John Daniel Quartet (194?)

Troy Daniel Quartet (194?)

Sunny South Quartet (1946)

Melody Masters Quartet (1947-1948)

Statesmen (1948-1953, 1953-1963, 1975, 1977-1979, 1988-1989, 1992-1993)

Imperials (1964-1967)

Soloist/Jake Hess Sound/Singcord Records producer/Music City Singers/Worked with Televangelist Gene Scott (1967-1975; 1976)

Masters V (1980-1986)

Soloist (1986-1992)

Soloist (1993-2003) (Regular fixture on Homecoming Tour and other events)

Old Friends Quartet (2000-2003)

Find a Grave link

SMGA Hall of Fame link


Jake Hess was born on Christmas Eve, 1927, the last of twelve children born to Stovall and Lydia Hess. His birth certificate listed his name as "Manchild" Hess, a fact that Hess himself did not know until many years later when he attempted to secure a passport to travel outside the United States. He started singing gospel music with a family group billed as the Hess Brothers when he was just five years old. After singing with several other local groups, Hess accepted his first professional position at the age of sixteen with the legendary John Daniel Quartet.

He studied harmony at the Stamps Baxter School Of Music and organized vocal groups around northern Alabama. Hess married Joyce McWaters, the daughter of a gospel promoter who sang with her cousins billed as the Gallant Quartet.

During the late 1940s, Hess sang with the Sunny South Quartet and the Melody Masters Quartet, but he is most remembered for his years with the Statesmen. Mosie Lister sang lead for the Statesmen for a short time after the group formed in 1948, but Hess replaced him later that same year. He remained with the Statesmen for the next 15 years, leaving in 1963 to prepare the launch of his own group, the Imperials, in 1964. Hess returned to the Statesmen several times in later years. Elvis Presley used the Imperials on his Grammy-winning gospel album How Great Thou Art, and Jake later sang at Presley's funeral. Hess is reputed to have been Elvis Presley's all-time favorite singer.

After leaving the Imperials due to persistent health problems in 1967, Hess made appearances as a soloist and with his family group called the Jake Hess Sound. He also produced records for Singcord (a division of Zondervan) in the early 1970s and appeared with the Music City Singers. He later relocated to the west coast where he worked with television evangelist Gene Scott.

In the early 1980s, Hess joined the Masters V along with Hovie Lister, Rosie Rozell, J D Sumner and James Blackwood. The group featured five "masters" of their respective parts and was a popular act for several years.

After leaving the Masters V in 1986, Hess recorded for Genevox and made appearances billed as Jake Hess & Friends. By 1988, the "friends" included former Statesmen members Rosie Rozell, Buddy Burton, and Tommy Thompson. Hovie Lister joined this lineup in the fall of 1988 and for those dates, they were billed as the Statesmen. This version of the Statesmen was short-lived because Hess still had to fulfill contractual obligations to his record label.

In 1991, Bill Gaither launched the Homecoming video series. Hess was a favorite featured performer on the series until his death. Also in 1991, Hess and Hovie Lister formed a new version of the Statesmen. A year later, a doctor ordered him off the road for health reasons. In 1993, Hess and his wife Joyce relocated to Columbus, Georgia to be near their daughter Becky and her family.

Hess and George Younce launched the Old Friends Quartet in 2000 with Ernie Haase singing tenor, Wesley Pritchard at baritone, and Garry Jones playing piano. This part-time group recorded two albums, but they only performed occasionally at Gaither Homecoming concerts and special events like the National Quartet Convention. At some events when his declining health would not allow Hess to appear, Ben Speer filled in.

Jake Hess and his wife are buried in the Buck Family Cemetery in Juniper, Georgia.


Dove Awards
Backliner Notes: Ain't That Beautiful Singing (1970)
GMA Hall Of Fame (1987)
SGMA Hall Of Fame (1997)
SESAC Lifetime Achievement Award

Singing News Fan Awards:
Marvin Norcross Award (1993)


1962 The Great Voice Of Jake Hess Of The Statesmen Quartet And The Jordanaires Sing A Collection Of Gospel And Sacred Favorites (Modern Sound/MS-812)/(Songs Of Faith Records/SOF 108): Jesus Loves Me; I'll Be True; What Difference Does It Make; Love Is Why; Who; I've Been Born Again; A Little More Like Jesus; One Night; Then I Met The Master; Way Up Yonder; To The Lord; Oh, Cleanse Me, Savior. (Also re-issued on Bibletone Records/10174)

1963 Jake Hess And The Jordanaires From The Heart (Songs Of Faith Records/SOF 113): I've Got A Right To Praise The Lord; You Don't Get Too Big To Pray; Then My Life Will Just Begin; The Lord Loves Us All; Everywhere You Go; Mom And Dad; Straight Street; Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep; Checking Up On My Parents (To The Lord); My Prayer Forever; He Hides Me Behind The Cross; My God Knows.

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1965 Just Jake (Heartwarming Records/Benson Records/Stereo Version LPS-1826/High Fidelity Version LPHF-1827): Somebody Bigger Than You And I; If To Gain The World; The Touch Of The Master's Hand; It Is No Secret; I Believe In The Man In The Sky; God Came To My House; Just Whisper; Then I Met The Master; I've Found A New Way; You Don't Get Too Big To Pray; God Can; If God Didn't Care.

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1968 The Incomparable Jake Hess (RCA Victor LSP-3980): Canaan's Land; I Asked The Lord; Set Me Free; I'll Fly Away; What A Wonderful World; I'm Thankful; Church Twice On Sunday; Faith Unlocks The Door; Do You Really Care; I'm Waitin' My Time; Little Joe's Prayer; How Great Thou Art.

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1968 Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere (RCA Camden/CAS-2268): His Hand In Mine; This Ole House; Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere; Old Campmeeting Days; Let The Lower Lights Be Burning; Down By The Riverside; Keep Smiling And Singing A Song; Everytime I Feel The Spirit?; When I've Learned; Standing In Need Of Prayer.

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1969 Up With People (RCA Victor/LSP-4151): Up With People; God Takes Good Care Of Me; I Wonder What The People Will Find To Talk About Now; God Broke My Heart; I'll Sing On In Glory Someday; I've Been Up On The Mountain; These Hands; Do You Know; How Wonderful Is God; But For The Grace Of God; Let God Abide; Thou Art The God Of The Bles't.

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1969 Spiritual Reflections (RCA Victor/LSP-4198): Jesus Lifted Me; God Will Take Care Of You; There's A Reason For It All; I Believe In The Old Time Way; He Touched Me; Talkin' About People; Tell Him What You Want; How Small We Are, How Little We Know; So Many Reasons; That's Enough; The Bottom Side Of Heaven; I Don't Want This Modern Religion.

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1970 Ain't That Beautiful Singing (RCA Victor/LSP-4329): Peace In The Valley; Did You Let Your Light Shine; Wasted Years; Why Should I Worry Or Fret; On Judgement Day; Ain't That Beautiful Singing; Searching; God Is The Reason; Do You Know Where God Lives; My Home; Oh What A Love.

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1970 Everything Is Beautiful (RCA Victor/LSP-4400): Everything Is Beautiful; Saviour I Sing Of Today; I Will Serve Thee; You'll Never Walk Alone; He'll Still Be There; I Believe; A New Born Feeling; His Love Takes Care Of Me; I Thank God; The Lord's Prayer.

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1974 Sings The Story Of Christ (CAM Records/JH-1419): The Story Of Christ; My Life Was Empty; Down By The Riverside; I Know He Heard My Prayer; Old Camp Meetin' Days; Restore My Soul; Doing Fine; I Must Tell Jesus; More And More; Along Came Jesus; I Thank God; Happy Rhythm.

1974 The Best Of Jake Hess (CAM Records/CAM-1455): Somebody Bigger Than You And I; I've Got A New Born Feeling; It Is No Secret; Peace In The Valley; Mercy Lord; I Believe; Born Again; How Great Thou Art; Until You Find The Lord; If To Gain The World.

1976 Jake Hess Sound (Pyramid Records/PLP-1837): Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By; The Gentle Stranger; A Million Years From Now; Old Fashion Gospel Song; Story Of Christ; Grandma's Hands; They Tore The Old Country Church Down; Nearer To The Heart Of God; It Wouldn't Be Enough; The Lord's Prayer. (Jake Hess, Chris Hess, Becky Hess).

19?? Father And Son (Jake and Chris Hess).

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1981 Jake Hess Of The Masters V I'm Gonna Keep On Singing (Skylite Records/SLP-6255): I'm Going To Keep On Singing; How About Your Heart; Don't Take Your Eyes Off The Savior; I Thank My Savior For It All; You And Me Jesus; No One But Jesus Knows; When Morning Comes; Have You Tried The Lord Today; It's Not The First Mile; I'm Bound For The Kingdom.

1982 Jake Hess With Chris And Becky (One Accord Records/TO-6004): I Never Felt More Like Praising The Lord; He Was There All The Time; God Takes Good Care Of Me; Room At The Cross; Fill My Cup Lord; The Author Of That Book; When You Know The Lord; A Very Special Grace; Let Us Break Bread Together; Show Me The Ways (Jake Hess, Chris Hess, Becky Hess).

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1984 Jake Hess Sings The Songs Of J.D. Sumner (Skylite Records/SLP-6316): I Believe In The Old Time Way; Guide My Feet; A Million Years From Now; Keep Me; Wonderful Saviour; I Don't Mind; When I Am Alone; Lord Teach Me To Pray; From Now On; Till He Comes Again.

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1984 Gospel Classics Sung By Jake Hess - Volume One (One Accord Records/TO-6021): How Great Thou Art; It Is No Secret; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; The Gospel Ship; If God Didn't Care; Somebody Bigger Than You And I; I Believe; His Hand In Mine; He Touched Me; Less Of Me.

1984 Gospel Classics Sung By Jake Hess - Volume Two (One Accord Records/TO-6022): Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere; Until Then; Faith Unlocks The Door; Peace In The Valley; What A Day That Will Be; Because He Lives; Then I Met The Master; Medley: This Old House/When The Saints Go Marching In; Mansion Over The Hilltop; My God Is Real.

1988 I'm Traveling On (Genevox Records/4196-67): I'm Traveling On; No Other Word For Grace; When All Of God's Singers Get Home; Tell Me The Story; Sunshine Medley; Wherever I Am; My Savior First Of All; Going Home Medley; Forever; Leaning On The Arms Of Jesus; The Cool Baptizing Stream (Jake is featured with Steve Warren, Chris and Armond Morales).

1988 Come Home (Genevox Records/4196-75): I'll Be On My Way; The Pearly White City; Unclouded Day Medley; Come Home To The Father; I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy; Sunshine In My Soul; Old Fashioned Medley; You Don't Have To Be Alone Anymore; Softly And Tenderly; He Was There; Come Unto Me; Let The River Flow (Jake is featured with Steve Warren, Buddy Burton and Armond Morales).

1988 The Innovative Sounds Of Jake Hess (Genevox Records/4196-85): Little People; I'm Not The Same Anymore; God Showed Me Love; America The Beautiful; Come To Jesus; All Day Singing; The Story Of Christ; Medley: Prayer Is The Key (Jake is featured with the Steve Warren Singers).

1995 Jus' Jake And A Few Close Friends (Chapel Music Group/CDM5322): You And Me Jesus; God Takes Good Care Of Me; Sunday Meetin’ Time; Death Ain’t No Big Deal; Then I Met The Master; Come On And Sing; A New Song; God On The Mountain; Management Position; If God Didn’t Care; Faith Unlocks The Door.

1996 Leanin' (Custom Records/JH01): Leanin' On The Everlasting Arms; Higher Ground; In The Garden; Living By Faith; When We All Get To Heaven; My Jesus I Love Thee; I Surrender All; Where The Soul Never Dies; The Old Rugged Cross; Where He Leads Me.

hi-res (1996)
hi-res (1997)
1996 Terry & Jake (Spring House Records/CMD5398): Sweeter As The Days Go By; When He Was On The Cross (I Was On His Mind); Right Place, Right Time; My Room Of Prayer (solo - Terry Bradshaw); I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen; He's Still Working On Me; This Savior I Sing Of Today (solo - Jake Hess); If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side; What A Day That Will Be; There's Something About That Name (Jake Hess and Terry Bradshaw) (Another version of this title on (Spring House Records/GTPD068) released in 1997 had 20 songs. The additional song titles were: The Unclouded Day; Behold The Lamb Of God; Rusty Old Halo; He Touched Me; That's Enough; Take It To The Throne; I Will Serve Thee; Between The Cross And Heaven; Jesus, I Believe What You Said; Because He Lives).

1997 I've Been There (Gaither Music Group/GTPD065): I Don’t Think, I Know; No One But Jesus Knows; You Might Forget The Singer, But You Won’t Forget The Song; I’ve Been There; I Know Where I Am Now; Jesus, I Believe What You Said; There’s A Reason For It All; Wore Out; We’ll Talk It Over; Come Sunday.

1998 Nothin' But Fine... 40 Years And Counting - Volume One (Spring House Records/SHD0808): Disc 1: Everything Is Beautiful; Down By The Riverside; I Believe; Sunday Meetin' Time; I'm Thankful; We'll Talk It Over; Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere; No One But Jesus Knows; Wore Out; Peace In The Valley; Wasted Years; A New Born Feeling; I Know Where I Am Now; Let God Abide; He Touched Me; Faith Unlocks The Door Disc 2: You Might Forget The Singer, But You Won't Forget The Song; I'll Fly Away; If God Didn't Care; So Many Reasons; (I've Got) A New Song To Sing; This Savior I Sing Of Today; Jesus, I Believe What You Said; Bottom Side Of Heaven; Old Campmeeting Days; But For The Grace Of God; Come Sunday; I'm On My Way To Canaanland; Then I Met The Master; When I've Learned; Let The Lower Lights Be Burning; Church Twice On Sunday.

1998 Nothin' But Fine... 40 Years And Counting - Volume Two (Spring House Records):

1999 It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This (Gaither Music Group/GTPD092): It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This; Too Much To Gain To Lose; I Lost It All To Find Everything; Up Above My Head (featuring George Younce); I Could Never Outlove The Lord; Thanks For Sunshine; Nobody; His Love Is Like A River; My Home’s Not Far Away; But For The Grace Of God.

2001 All Of Me (Cathedral Records/CH50252): I Know Who It Is; I Just Love Old People; He Knows What's Best; I Got Blessed; All Of Me; He Set Me Free; Somebody Bigger Than You And I; It's All Over Now; I Couldn't Begin To Tell You; No Fishin'; Me And My Burro.

2003 Gotta Get A God Said (Crossroads Records/CR03872): Gotta Get A God Said; I Have Never Walked Alone; Come See Me; A New Born Feeling; Where The Teardrops Never Fall; That's Enough; Very Special Grace; Tell 'Em; I Think I've Got It Made; His Hand In Mine; Sweeter As The Days Go By.

2004 A Tribute To Jake Hess (Spring House Records/SHD2571): God Takes Good Care Of Me; That's Enough; If God Didn't Care; You And Me Jesus; Death Ain't No Big Deal; Floodstage; Faith Unlocks The Door Medley: Faith Unlocks The Door/God Takes Good Care Of Me/Climbing Higher And Higher/Then I Met The Master; Wore Out; Thanks For Sunshine; So Many Reasons; Jesus I Believe What You Said; The Fourth Man; I Just Love Old People; No Fishin'; Sunday Meetin' Time; Sweeter As The Days Go By; Up Above My Head; C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S; Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere; Too Much To Gain To Lose; I Know Where I Am Now.

Songwriter's Résumé

(Partial List)

Jesus The One Who Never Fails

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