The Stamps Quartet can be traced back to 1924 when V O Stamps started V O Stamps School of Music. At the same time, V O’s brother, Frank started the Frank Stamps Quartet. There were several groups formed under the Stamps name to sing and sell song books.
The rebirth of the Stamps Quartet came about in the early 1960’s, but it was JD Sumner’s ownership of the group in 1967 that took the group to new heights. For a decade, the group was unrivaled in terms of talent. The early 1970’s vocal line-up of Bill Baize (tenor), Donnie Sumner (lead), Ed Enoch (baritone) and Richard Sterben (bass) is one of the greatest quartet line-ups in the history of the genre.
The 1970’s for JD Sumner and the Stamps also saw superstar status as they would tour with Elvis Presley. Singing at least one Gospel song each concert gave the Stamps the greatest exposure of any artist to ever be a part of Southern Gospel music.
After the death of Elvis in 1977, JD Sumner and the Stamps also found themselves at a crossroads. By 1980 JD would join with four other Southern Gospel quartet legends (Rozie Rozell, James Blackwood, Jake Hess and Hovie Lister) to form the Masters V.
After his stint with the Masters V, JD wasn’t done with the Stamps quartet as he would re-organize the group in 1988 and give Southern Gospel listeners another decade of traditional quartet music until his passing in 1998.
- JD Sumner will be remembered for many things in Southern Gospel music. He was a larger than life personality. He joined with James Blackwood to start the first National Quartet Convention. He was the innovator behind using the first tour bus in Southern Gospel music. At one time he was credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the world’s lowest bass singer. JD Sumner was also a songwriter, penning over 700 songs in the course of his career.
- JD Sumner influenced many individuals as they passed through the Stamps Quartet and carried that influence in to other groups: CJ Almgren, Jimmy Blackwood (Blackwood Brothers), Tony Brown, Nick Bruno (Kingsmen), Gary Buckles (Jerry & Singing Goffs), Ed Hill (Singing Americans), Dave Rowland, Richard Sterban (Oak Ridge Boys), Larry Strickland (Palmetto State Quartet), Rick Strickland (Singing Americans/Kingdom Heirs) and Steve Warren.
- Known Songs: “A Soul Such As I’, “Army Of The Lord”, “Big, Big Love”, “Don’t Get Down On Jesus”, “Don’t Let Your Left Hand Know”, “For God So Loved”, “God Shall Wipe Away All Tears”, “He Made Me An Offer”, “I Can Feel The Touch Of His Hand”, “I Find No Fault In Him”, “If Those Walls Could Shout”, “In The Arms Of Sweet Deliverance”, “I’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Road”, “The Joy That Jesus Gives”, “Leaning On The Arms Of Jesus”, “The Lord Still Lives In This Old House”, “Love Him So”, “Night Before Easter”, “Now I Have Everything”, “Ole Man Death”, “Rainbow Of Love”, “Signs Of A Good Life”, “Standing In The Safety Zone”, “Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation”, “Tell Me The Story Again”, “Victory Road”, “What A Happy Time”, “What Kind Of Church”, “When God’s Chariot Comes” and “You Gotta Pay As You Go”.
- Best Album: Live At Murray State University (1975)
Here is a YouTube clip, published by adkinsda, of JD Sumner and the Stamps (1969/1970) performing “I’m Gonna See Heaven”. Enjoy!