CD Review: Just Stand (Legacy Five)

Over their first ten years on the road, Legacy Five has produced several landmark recordings. Their debut, Strong in the Strength, set a high standard that only one or two other CDs in the following decade—namely, London and Live in Music City—would approach.

Just Stand redefines just how magnificent a Legacy Five project can be. It raises the bar in such a literal way that if any of the three aforementioned projects were follow-ups to this release, they would be 4.5 star recordings. It’s that good.

It’s that good for two simple reasons—song selection and the master’s touch of Lari Goss.

Let’s start with the latter. Lari Goss had some hand in Heroes of the Faith; his touch can be seen in a couple tracks on that project, particularly the poignant title track. But he never produced an entire Legacy Five project, until this one. What took so long?

From Roger Bennett’s homegoing until this project, Legacy Five was a group of partially but not completely filled potential. Goss’s majestic vocal arrangements and lush orchestrations realize this potential.

The song selection is, stylistically, the perfect fit for this lineup’s voices. From jazzy numbers (“New Born Feeling”) to convention songs (“My Soul is Firmly Anchored”) to country-influenced songs (“Above All Circumstances”) to, of course, a heaping plateful of big ballads, this album shows off a wider range of what Legacy Five can pull off well than any previous project.

The project is anchored by two ballads, “When They Found Nothing” and “Faithful to the Cross.”

“When They Found Nothing,” the group’s first radio single, comes from the pens of four writers, Marty Funderburk, Beverly Lowry, James Isaac Elliot, and Melissa R. Bishop. All too often, groups with three or more co-writers lose that special something—a unity in the lyric and consistency in the tune—while in committee. But not so with this song; Marty Funderburk (one of Southern Gospel’s most prolific non-performing songwriters), Bev Lowry (Mark’s mother), James Isaac Elliott, and Melissa Bishop struck gold.

“Faithful to the Cross” is one of the greatest songs ever written. Notice that last sentence was without any qualifier. It is that one-in-a-million anthem that would be equally at home at a wedding or a funeral. And that’s not even to mention services where a pastor is installed or retires, or regular church services. Kenna Turner West and Lee Black have written a song that deserves to go down as one of the greatest all-time Southern Gospel classics.

In closing, I ought to try to find another way to say that this is simply one of the best CDs released this decade—but I’m out of superlatives and synonyms. Just buy the thing!

Rating: 5 stars. ♦ Average song rating: 4.5 stars. ♦ Group members: Frank Seamans, Scott Fowler, Scott Howard, Glenn Dustin, Tim Parton. ♦ Produced by: Lari Goss. ♦ Available from: Group. Review copy purchased (not provided). ♦ Song list: New Born Feeling; Great Is Thy Faithfulness; One Thing God Can’t Do; Just Stand; Faithful to the Cross; Above All Circumstances; When They Found Nothing; My Soul is Firmly Anchored; Statement of Faith (including Legacy Five, the Booth Brothers, the Hoppers, and Greater Vision); Thankful for the Change; ‘Til We Meet Again.


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20 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one, Daniel. I don’t have much time to write a review from my perspective, but I’d rate the whole thing as a 3.5 star. And say that there’s only 3 really good tracks (4-5 star): “One Thing God Can’t Do”, “Above All Circumstances” and “Thankful For the Change” Other than that they’re all very average in my eyes.

    • I suppose some people might say the same of the Cathedrals’ Symphony of Praise. 🙂

  2. Have to agree with the above poster…too many big ballads that are not balanced out by some changes in tempos…a great CD balances differing styles

    • Actually, I’d have to say this CD has a pretty decent balance. There are country-flavored tracks (“Above all Circumstances”), convention-style songs (“My Soul is Firmly Anchored”), laid-back slow songs like “One Thing God Can’t Do,” etc. 🙂

  3. I am in much more agreement with Daniel than Obadiah. L5 has always been an interesting group. I attended their first concert in Marietta, GA and have followed them closely all over the Carolinas since. There are certainly more superior voices collectively throughout SG, but I can’t think of another quartet I enjoy more live – both artistically and from a ministry point of view.

    In my opinion, most groups sound better vocally on a studio recording than live. L5 tends to buck this. Their singing could perhaps use a little more vocal finesse – but this is something rare in SG. Perhaps vocal finesse is not the right phrase – but the Booth Brothers have an abundance of it.

    One of my fondest memories of L5 was a few years ago on a Thursday night in Sumter, SC. The event was apparently poorly promoted as there were only a couple of hundred people in an auditorium that would hold perhaps 1,200. They sang their hearts out. You would have thought there was standing room only. There was never a mention as to the size of crowd.

    My gut feeling is they will be around long after a few more groups have come and gone. Fowler appears to be a solid businessman and the guys all seem to really enjoy each other. I’ll miss Frank – but Gus Gaches is the very best you could possibly hope for when searching for a new L5 tenor. He fits this group like a glove. I heard him with L5 in Greenville, SC during his audition trip. My gut feeling was the new tenor was with them that weekend.

    JUST STAND is a solid recording. You would expect nothing less from L5 and Lari Goss. I’ve owned it for eight weeks and it is yet to cycle away from my sun visor where I keep my two current favorites. By the way – the other is JUBILEE.

    Great job Daniel.

    JEB

  4. While I haven’t been a huge Legacy Five fan, I was intrigued enough to buy this CD and I have to say, it is fantastic. Song selection is, for the most part, superb. Lari Goss is just the producer that every quartet wishes they could have. He gets the most out of any group. Why would a group wait for 10 years to make a CD like this? Well, it’s pretty clear that this CD cost a substantial price. This CD is the type you spend 10 years saving money to do…it is that well-done. I really enjoy this CD by Legacy Five.

    • “This CD is the type you spend 10 years saving money to do…it is that well-done.”

      I couldn’t have put it better!

      Maybe they scrimped on the last one to have the budget for this one!

  5. If this project is that great with Frank Seamans vocals, can you imagine how it’ll be with Gus’s? This project has definitely moved up my list of must haves for 2009. Thanks for the great review.

    • Part of the reason it works, though, is that Frank has spent enough years with the group that they’re better at balancing out each others’ vocal dynamics than when he started. So I’d say get both. 🙂

      • I plan to get both for comparison and collecting. With Lari Goss producing the project, it makes you wonder how other groups would sound if he did one of their projects. I know the Greenes’ new project is being produced by Tony, TaRanda, & Lari. That’ll be a treat! 🙂

  6. I have been wanting to get this CD anyway; your review affirms my intention! Now I have to decide if I should get the “Frank version”, or if I should get the “Gus version”… 🙂

    • Both! (Or at least this one.)

    • I would definitely get both! Trust me, you do NOT want to miss Frank’s best recording ever! I love him in every project, but he nails this one like none other.

      PLUS! In a recent E-letter, Tim said:
      Since our latest cd Just Stand was just released in September of this year, we’ve chosen to re-release the cd in 2010 with Gus Gaches on the tenor part.

      So, here’s the deal…

      Purchase the Frank Seamans edition Just Stand cd at either our concert or online from now to New Year’s Eve. Then when the Gus Gaches edition is released in 2010 you may purchase that Just Stand cd for just $10.

      This offer is only available in concert as you MUST PRESENT the “Frank” version of the cd in person to our product vendor (one of us behind the table!) as proof of purchase. Neither online store purchases nor phone orders qualify for this discount.
      ___________________________

      So therefore, I would buy both versions 😉

  7. get both versions.

  8. I’m glad to see I’m not the only blogger that gave this project a 5-star rating! The “Frank version” is fantastic, and having Gus Gaches doing tenor vocals will push this thing over the top. I can’t wait to see the guys in February, to both experience the new lineup and purchase the “Gus version” of the CD.

    My hat’s off to the L5 guys; this is a project well worth the listen!

    • By the time you posted your review, I knew this would get 5 stars on my site, too. I just didn’t want to spill the beans too soon!

  9. Great review, Daniel!! I agree this is definitely their best project ever! They came out strong on this one, in EVERY way. The song selection was fantastic, their vocals sounded better than ever, and need I mention the ever amazing “Goss” effect? I know some don’t agree, but I think this project is a perfect example of southern gospel at it’s best!!

  10. :sigh: I need a job.

  11. GREAT review Daniel! I am a little late to the commenting, but I don’t think there has been a better review written of this project! I reviewed it a month or so ago and I still listen to this project most everyday! I totally agree on the song “Faithful To The Cross” It has the chance to be one of the best songs ever recorded! It is so powerful! Legacy Five did a great job selecting each song for this project but “Faithful To The Cross” is just one of those once in a lifetime songs that you DO NOT PASS UP if offered to you! If that one does not get released to radio something is wrong! I have seen some great songs in the past from this group and others not get sent to radio… Scott Fowler told me that most of the time their label gets the say on which songs get sent… So we will see… I believe they will send “When They Found Nothing” whenever Gus gets his vocals done! I cannot wait to hear Gus sing on this project… He has a special voice that will be getting alot of recognition over the next few years! Once again Daniel excellent review!!!

    • I’m honored that one of L5’s biggest fans would approve the review. 🙂

      Yes, “Faithful to the Cross” is definitely one of those once in a lifetime songs—the only song they’ve ever recorded that could be bigger for them than “I Stand Redeemed.”

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