CD Review: “London” (Legacy Five)

Legacy Five’s London album was released five years ago, when the group was at the pinnacle of the Southern Gospel field. The project came out in 2003; in the year following its release, the group had its first #1 song (“I Found Grace,” from this project) and swept the Singing News Fan Awards, winning Favorite Male Quartet and three of the five quartet positions (pianist, baritone, and bass).

Looking back on the projects recorded during the seven years Roger Bennett was with the group, this was probably their best. Only Strong in the Strength, their 1999 debut project, comes close in the area of song selection.

Listening to London is more than just listening to a CD. It’s an experience.

Here’s what I mean. The project starts off with a slow song, “Holy is Thy Name,” to give you a feel for the group and its sound. Then it has a string of three excellent songs–“I’ve Got That Old Time Religion” (an old convention song with orchestra), “It’s Good to Know” (a radio single), and “He Forgets” (a big hit ballad).

Then (also like many concerts) the album has a breather. The fifth through the seventh songs (“Meanwhile,” “Mercy Extended,” and “The God Who Comes Through”) compose this  slower middle section.

Then the album builds to a strong finish, where three of the strongest songs Legacy Five ever recorded (“Joy,” “I Found Grace,” and “Home Free”) punctuate the final five songs. Home Free is a quintessential Roger Bennett solo; this recording was one of three songs he recorded that were played at his funeral.

If there was a dictionary of Southern Gospel music, this album’s picture should be placed next to  the definition of “perfect song placement.” Sometimes I wonder if it is possible that this album’s placement could have been determined by the same person who chose the order for the songs on Monuments, their following project, which I’ve maintained since the album’s release would have been a much better project if the songs had been in a different order.

While we all wish we could have had Roger Bennett with us for many more years, at least he had the opportunity to leave us with a recording of this caliber during the years we did have him.

Rating: Highly Recommended. (5 stars of 5)


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5 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I was a little surprised to see this review this morning, because this album and Heroes of the Faith have recently moved up near the top of my wish list. This album is there partly because I remember seeing some comments you made along this line some time ago.

    My brother and I were browsing iTunes the other day and were quite frustrated at their being songs on these two albums that we haven’t heard. 🙂 My first introduction to L5 was probably the radio songs from this one that I got off the Gospel Greats. I wasn’t sure I liked them at first, and I didn’t even have any idea who they were. I’m ashamed to admit it (kind of), but I didn’t even know the difference in Scott F. and Scott H. until a year or so ago – that is, I could tell them apart but didn’t know who was who.

    Lately I’ve been really wanting to get this album and be able to listen to it as a whole. I like your comments about it being an “experience.” Most of the time I shuffle my music, but I do really appreciate an album that stands well when taken as a unified whole and listened to straight through.

    Finally, before this comment gets longer than your post, I was surprised at your mentioning the quality of Strong in the Strength. (How do you do formatting on here, anyway?!) I got that album … over a year ago, I believe, and have only come to appreciate it more and more. It does indeed have some powerful songs.

  2. Best project L5 has ever done.
    Of course, I ‘m slightly biased because I love hearing Tony Jarman. Any album with a strong solo from him is one I really enjoy. For example, “He’s Been There” on “Heroes Of The Faith”. I don’t really like that project, but this song is it’s redeeming feature, to my ears.
    Back on track, London had 2 Tony features, which made me really happy. It starts out with “Holy Is Thy Name”, which is phenominal, then he sings “Storm I Never See”, which is a lyrical masterpiece.
    Great performances by the rest of the group also, especially on “Home Free”, “He Forgets”, “Mercy Extended”, and “Meanwhile”, for each individual.
    It’s very rare for me to find an album that I totally enjoy every song on it. This is one of those rare jems for me.
    Overall, “London” could EASILY go down in history as the best Southern Gospel release of this decade.

  3. I love this Album probably my favorite L5 has put out. I Really like “Live In Music City” as well

  4. I just got this album … “Mercy Extended” may be my favorite Scott Howard performance. (After one listen.) Some of the songs I have or am familiar with, but a lot of them were new to me.

  5. I got the album from iTunes. I did notice Home Free was very stripped down though to just piano, bass, and synth drum. Then a choir.