CD Review: “A Little Christmas” (Legacy Five)

This project is an interesting collection of contrasts. It contains old and new songs, everything from lush orchestration to Tim Parton’s country-tinged rendition of “A Little Peace on Earth,” and, oddly enough, everything from a song protesting the secularization of Christmas (“Christmas with a Capital ‘C'”) to a medley of secular Christmas songs (“Piano Christmas Medley”).

Arranging “A Little Peace on Earth” to bring out a country flavoring was probably a good production call. If Parton–or any other pianist/vocalist replacing a legend–attempted to sing as close to Bennett’s style as possible, comparisons would be completely unavoidable. But Parton is clearly charting his own course.

The title track, “We Need a Little Christmas,” also serves as the title track for Triumphant Quartet’s new Christmas project. Comparing the two, Legacy Five’s arrangement and orchestration has a slight edge.

Frank Seamans takes the lead on “Winter Memories.” It is not surprising that this Luverne Isbell song has the feel of a novelty song, since her best known previous song is probably the Cathedrals’ “Mexico.”

The production team of Steve Mauldin, Tim Parton, and Scott Fowler brought out some new elements in Legacy Five’s sound. The two tracks on which this is most notable are also the two standout tracks of the project. While I never heard any resemblance before, Fowler’s strong lead on “Welcome to this World” suggests comparisons to, of all people, Steve Green. On the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, the production team brings out more warmth and resonance in Glenn Dustin’s voice than on any previous track he has recorded with the group.

Especially if those two tracks are indicative of what we can expect in the future from Legacy Five, this iteration of the group shows great potential.

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10 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Great review. I absolutely love this project.
    I have a comment I’d like to make here that I feel I can’t make in the SN forums without someone being offended:
    First of all, let me say the I believe that this is the direction L5 has been trying to head toward for several years now. But they have had a road block. That road block was the health problems of Mr. Bennett. Now, before anyone gets angry with me, please hear me out. I have the most respect for Roger. He was a man that had a thirst and hunger for God and His will that I don’t think I could ever understand. He IS truly a Hero Of The Faith. But almost every project that L5 has done up to this point has had to be produced in such a hurry to try to finish it before Roger got sick again. Roger had such a short time between episodes, that the group had to record as quickly as they could in the sort time that they had.
    But now, the group as the freedom to take their time and do it they way they intend it to be. I maybe wrong, but this how I see it with the information that I have. I just have a feeling that we will see many more great projects like this come form L5.

  2. Daniel, see what I meant when I told you what I did after Bennett’s passing that L5 would be just fine? Of course I have yet to hear this CD, but I’m sure that Tim Parton can bring his own uniaue stamp to the legacy that L5 will be.

    Great gospel groups have ALWAYS been bigger than just one member…even the Statesmen.

    BTW, Eric’s observation is quite interesting…he may be on to something there.

  3. Eric, that’s a fascinating perspective and there could well be a lot of truth to that.

    The only counterpoint that I have is that they didn’t seem to put the same level of innovation effort into “Know So Salvation,” in part because that was intended as more of a table project. But this project definitely shows what they can do.

  4. I maybe wrong, but I think the major difference between a Daywind project and a table project is money. Groups that self-produce a project just don’t have the resources that a major company will have. They just can’t afford the extra studio time that it would take to bring the project to it’s highest level quality. Money (the lack of) is also why table projects have some songs that are “Public Domain” so royalties are kept to a minimum.

  5. I’m not sure that Gospel groups are always bigger than one member, even though they usually are. Take the Dixie Melody Boys post-Ed O’Neal, the Melody Boys Quartet post-Gerald Williams, or the Happy Goodmans post-Vestal. (They tried that in the 80s, but it wasn’t the same.)

  6. Daniel, notice the modifier I put in front of “gospel groups” in my initial post.:-)

  7. You don’t think any of the three I named were great? 😥 😉

  8. Daniel, notice the modifier I put in front of “gospel groups” in my initial post.:-)

    Inquirer, does this post mean that you do not believe The Melody Boys Quartet is a “Great gospel group”? That is what it sounds like to me (and quite a few others who have informed me about the comment). I take great exception to your veiled suggestion. I believe The Melody Boys Quartet most definitely is a great group as do most of their peers in the SGM industry. I believe I can support my beliefs with recordings and opinions from major “experts” in the Industry. I hope everyone will listen to TMBQ’s material and make their own decision instead of just believing Inquirer’s opinion. Thanks!

  9. Gayla, I’m sure those who do listen and sample the work of the Melody Boys are fully capable of deciding for themselves if the Melody Boys Quartet is a “great” group or not.

    I did not express an opinion one way or the other as to whether or not the Melody Boys are a “great” group or not. People who know me know that the surest way to get my opinion is to simply ask me. You know how to do that.

    If you or any of the “others” who informed you of my comment wish to get my opinion, you(or they)can ask me. I’m not trying to impugn the motives of those “others”…my point in posting what I did here was to underline the point I made in my very first comment on this thread, not to make any judgments on the merits of the Melody Boys, the Dixie Melody Boys, or the Happy Goodmans(the groups mentioned by Daniel in his response to me).

    You’re welcome.

  10. This is my favorite Legacy Five CD to date.

    Sometimes in our field of music, Christmas CDs are put together quickly just to make them available for the season. Scott, Glen, Scott H., Frank, and Tim did this one right! They invested the time, effort, and dollars to make it something special. It sounds like Christmas music is supposed to sound!

    No matter how many CDs Legacy Five records in their career, this will always be considered a Legacy Five “must have” classic.