4 Essential Legacy Five Albums

Legacy Five - Strong in the StrengthThe Essential Albums column highlights the albums every Southern Gospel fan should add to their collections. This list is in chronological, not ranked, order.

  • 1999: Strong in the Strength. Southern Gospel fans tend to give newly launched groups a few years to prove themselves. But due to the unique circumstances surrounding their launch, Legacy Five had to prove they could carry their portion of the Cathedrals legacy without missing a beat. This debut project had to be a home run—and it was. Suppose you measure a project with two five-star songs as a double, three as a triple, and so fourth. Strong in the Strength could have taken Legacy Five around the bases twice. To this day, it’s still the strongest collection of songs they’ve put on one project.
  • 2003: London. This project kicked off the group’s still-running association with Daywind in style. Members Roger Bennett and Scott Fowler were, of course, Cathedrals alumni. In 1987, the Cathedrals made a trip to London to record their landmark project Symphony of PraiseLondon was a similarly epochal moment for Legacy Five. It produced what to this day is still their only #1 hit, “I Found Grace,” as well as concert favorites like “Joy” and “He Forgets.” And then there’s the unforgettable closing track, Roger Bennett’s re-interpretation of Wayne Watson’s CCM hit “Home Free.” It was immeasurably superior to the original from day one, and only took on added poignancy four years later.
  • 2006: Live in Music City. This recording would be a landmark project even if it weren’t Roger Bennett’s last recording. “I Have Been Changed” became Glenn Dustin’s signature song, and there is likely consensus that it’s the project’s strongest track. But the project is full of strong songs and vocal performances, and, for all too many of us, our final dose of Roger Bennett’s unforgettable wit and powerful tenor voice. This recording was the fifth ever reviewed on SouthernGospelBlog.com, here.
  • 2009: Just Stand. This site’s five-star review described the project as “simply one of the best CDs released this decade.” Rather than repeating all the reasons why, here’s the review.

Do you agree or disagree with this list? If you could only choose four albums to introduce a friend to this group, which would you pick?


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35 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Very good. I might actually swap out Just Stand for the recent A Wonderful Life. That would make one album represented for each of the four tenors Legacy Five has employed. Unless you use the re-do of Just Stand, that is. You probably made the right choice, though.

    The other three are exactly correct.

    • I could go with the re-do of Just Stand. I think that the songs on that one are stronger.

  2. You should have done 5 Essential Legacy 5 album , since they are Legacy FIVE. LOL

    • I thought about that! I contemplated adding Monuments, and I also contemplated dropping Live in Music City and making it a top three.

      • i agree with you choices! Which tenor do you have on “just STand” Isn’t that the one they had 2 versions? one with Frank, and again with Gus.

      • I have both versions of the CD. I was vague about which edition above, since I prefer Frank on “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and one or two others, and Gus on the rest.

  3. The song selection was very strong (no pun intended) on Strong In The Strength,, but I was not a fan of the production value. Many of the songs distorted (especially the end of “I Stand Redeemed”), and the overall mastering just seemed a bit off.

    I much prefer Heroes Of The Faith in terms of production value. The songs may not have been quite as strong, but it sounded great!

    • I guess it’s just who I am and how I think, but I’ll take great songs mixed and mastered in an average fashion any day over average songs mixed and mastered in a great fashion. 🙂

      • Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy great songs regardless of quality, but as far as overall merit of an album, production is a BIG dealbreaker for me.

      • Fair enough! Both are important.

  4. I agree. I never heard Just Stand with Gus though (I have a small issue with remakes, but another discussion for another time). Know So Salvation has always been my favorite L5 album but I think it’s because it was one of my first L5 albums but I wouldn’t put it in an essential list. I’m also glad you did decide to keep Live in Music City, even if it only had one or two great songs and it was Roger’s last album, a live album should be an essential if its good enough.

    • Yes. Between the fact that it was Roger’s last, it was a live album, and it contained Glenn’s signature song, I figured it merited a place on the list. However, if I have to pick a top 4 of theirs ten years from now, and in that time they have done several unbelievably amazing albums, I think that it would probably be the first I would have to bump.

      I think that Strong in the Strength and London will be at or near the top of best-of lists for as long as they are on the road. Just Stand will probably make many of them – though I wish they had singled different songs, because it would probably be higher if people remembered it for some of its stronger but forgotten tracks.

      • Overall, I think “Live In Music City” is a weak album, but I understand why you included it.
        As far as “Just Stand” goes, the song “My Soul Is Firmly Anchored” really made me perk up. I had lost interest in L5’s stylistic choices after “London”, and this song was the best radio single I’d heard since the songs on “London”.
        The song “Just Stand” earned my interest, as well. I beleive this is the best feature Glenn ever recorded.

      • Those aren’t the only two really strong songs on that album, either!

  5. I don’t have many of their projects, but of the ones I do have, “Heroes of the Faith” is by far my favorite.

    Now that Glenn is not with them anymore, I might have to see if I can purchase some of those you’ve mentioned. He was one of the drawing cards for me to attend an L5 concert.

    • I would definitely encourage you to find these four. As the blog post implies, these four are must-finds!

  6. Great list, Daniel. Call me crazy, but I would remove Just Stand from the list and add my all-time favorite L5 project, Monuments, instead. Heroes of the Faith is also one of my favorites.

    • If I had done a list of 5 instead of 4, Monuments would have been the fifth. I love the album, too, though I’ve thought from day 1 that they got the song sequence wrong. 🙂

  7. I agree with Brian. I would replace “Just Stand” with “A Wonderful Life”. I think the song selection is stronger on that one. The other three I would leave exactly as you stated.

  8. Daniel I feel you have nailed this list, these are the exact albums I would have selected. I would put “A Wonderful Life” and “Monuments” as 5a & 5b, with Heroes close behind.

    • I’m intrigued. Monuments would have been my #5 if I did 5, but there are probably 3 or 4 other albums I would have brought in higher than A Wonderful Life.

      I wonder if part of the reason people have been mentioning it is that there is naturally some level of inclination to include a group’s latest album in a list of this nature.

      • I guess there are two reasons that I prefer “A Wonderful Life” over “Just Stand”. First, I really like Gus, and “A Wonderful Life” was recorded with him in mind rather than the remake of “Just Stand” with Gus singing Frank’s features. Second, I feel that the song selection on “A Wonderful Life” is just a little better. Maybe it’s just me, but I think there are more four and five star songs on “A Wonderful Life” (Ask Me Why, Living In The Palace, Destination Known, I’m Still Amazed, Just Because Of You, There’s Only One Well, For What Earthly Reason) than there is on “Just Stand” (Faithful To The Cross, When They Found Nothing, Great Is They Faithfulness, Just Stand, My Soul Is Firmly Anchored, Thankful For The Change). However, it is very close between these two recordings, and I don’t think one could go wrong with either one for their essential list.

      • Interesting. My list of 5-star songs on “Just Stand” is pretty similar to yours. I gave “‘Til We Meet Again” 5 stars though, and not “Thankful For the Change” (4).

        On “A Wonderful Life,” though, I rated “Destination Known” and “Just Because of You” at 5 stars, and several of the others you mentioned at 4. I do genuinely like Gus’s version of “For What Earthly Reason,” but I don’t think it tops the original. On the other hand, his version of “Just Because of You” *at least* comes close. Perhaps that one is a tie.

  9. I agree with half of your list Daniel. lol Although I enjoyed Live In Music City, it didn’t blow me away. The same for Just Stand. If I had to pick 4 favorites I would pick Strong In The Strength, Monuments, London & one that hasn’t been mentioned (at least I don’t think it has)….. Know So Salvation.

    • If I was going to guess your four favorites, I probably would have guessed those four! Something tells me I like orchestras a little more than you do. 🙂

  10. Wow, we actually do not have Strong in the Strength! Definitely one we’ll have to find someday to complete our collection. 🙂

    We agree with your decision about not including It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a good album – don’t get us wrong – but Legacy Five has had stronger projects.

    -TGF

    • Yes, definitely. They’ve done two others that are equally good in other ways, but never done one that tops it.

      • Wouldn’t it be great if, once they get a bass singer, they record an album that tops “Strong In The Stregnth” ?
        My opinion is that they need a “makeover.” This would be the ideal time to “push the envelope” and beat their previous standards of excellence, set by “Strong..” and “London”.

        While we’re on the subject of L5, I had someone tell me that Danny Funderburk could have had the job as their first tenor. If I remember the details correctly, Danny was comitted to another group at the time. (Mercy’s Way, I think. I have also read somewhere online that Danny had sang with another group, in-between Perfect Heart and Mercy’s Way.) So, whoever Danny was with when L5 was formed, he didn’t leave. As they say, the rest is history.
        Imagine…………. “Strong In the Stregnth”, with Danny singing. Picture “God’s Love”, “I Stand Redeemed”, “Forgiveness”, with him leading.
        GOOSEBUMPS!!!!!!!

      • That would have been incredible. It’s probably just as well that it worked out like it did, though, since having three Cathedrals alumni in the same group would have made it even harder for them to chart their own course.

  11. I think you’re selections are accurate and I agree on Monuments being 5th. But I do think “It’s A Wonderful Life” will eventually go down as one of their strongest projects ever. On another question Daniel, I don’t recall ever hearing L5 do the song “For He Says I Will” live. Is Greater Vision the group that originally recorded that song? And who was the writer?

    • Are you talking about the Perrys’ song “I Can, I Have, I Will”?

      • I’m talking about the song that has the lyric “I will fight all of your battles, give them all to me. I can make all of your trials end in victory. I have all power and glory, it is mine to give. Oh what a blessing, I am resting for he says “I Will”.”

      • Yes, that’s a song the Perrys recorded about ten years ago. I don’t believe L5 or Greater Vision ever did it.

      • JR may have confused Legacy Five with Crossway. On one of their early projects as a quartet, they recorded that song.

  12. London is by far my favorite album by L5, and it could very well be my favorite CD period. It has great material, fantastic arrangements, and some of Roger Bennett’s best work.