Encore Series #3: Not That You Died

I started the encore series several months ago to revisit songs that are too good to be forgotten.

Monuments occupies a unique place in Legacy Five’s discography. Though Roger Bennett would go on to record four more projects with the groupβ€”an a cappella album, a studio table project, a live table project, and a live project of new songsβ€”Monuments was the group’s final studio album with Bennett at the creative helm.

The project was anchored by the title track and by two Bennett solos, “Out of My Darkness” and “Whispers in the Night.” The latter song, coupled with Bennett’s powerful testimony as he was entering into what would be his final battle with cancer, brought the house down at NQC 2004.

Though this project marked an end in one way for Legacy Five, it was the start of another: Monuments introduced Frank Seamans to Legacy Five fans. He would go on to stay longer at the tenor slot (five years) than any L5 tenor before or since. Seamans’ personality would lead him to take an active role in concerts; he would give his testimony each night. For the first two years or so, it would lead into his big feature from this project, “Calvary Reminds Me.”

His other solo waited quietly at spot eight for its turn in the sun. But though the group did sing it here and there (video), “Not That You Died” was never really used to its potential.

This Belinda Smith / Tony Wood collaboration starts simply enough, musing on the familiarity of John 3:16. The chorus highlights our personal response to salvation:

It’s not that You died for the whole world
That humbles my heart, brings me to my knees
Not that You died for the whole world
But Lord, that You died for me

The second verse paints a picture of the crucifixion scene, and builds into the chorus’s response. There is no bridge; after a modulation and another chorus, the song comes to a close.

This song was effective as a big ballad, but now that it has been down that route, a group revisiting the song would do well to go another direction. The lyrics are more reflective, more meditative than typically found in anthemic big ballads. So while the big ballad treatment brings out the power of the melody, a simpler, acoustic easy-listening version, perhaps with a light jazzy touch, would bring out the power of the lyric.

The perfect fit for an encore of this song would be Legacy Five’s good friends, the Booth Brothers.

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24 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I really like how they bring in a lyric from “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” in the second verse. Speaking of which, when was the last time you heard a recorded version of that hymn? Last I recall it was Ken Medema…some SG artist really ought to do that one justice.

    • You know, I’ve heard that hymn, and hadn’t noticed that in the lyric of this song, even though I’ve had the song ever since it came out. Interesting.

    • Oh: And Glad did the song in 1993 on their Acapella Hymns project. That’s the only version I have.

      • Oooooh, sweet! Love me some Glad. Will have to chase that down.

        Yeah, you never heard that? Surely you hear it now: “With trembling voice, I confess Your redeeming love, my unworthiness.”

      • Now that you say that, it sounds like it fits. I had only heard the hymn a few times, so it hadn’t hit me immediately.

    • I definitely hadn’t caught that reference. Is it the right tune?

      Homeland Quartet did “Beneath the Cross…” It’s a decent version.

      (I’m back from a week-long vacation!)

  2. Great pick for an encore series song… I have always felt that song along with “Unless” from the same project should still be staged by L5… Scott did tell me that “Unless” never went over very well despite the powerful lyrics. He said it was possible that the words maybe were just to deep for it to really sink in at a concert…

    As for “Not That You Died” I remember hearing it for the first time, I was laying in my bed with my ipod… I cried my eyes out that night… That song has always been very moving to me ever since… I think Gus could nail that one!

    I also agree that the Booth Brothers could nail that song, along with The Talley Trio IMO…

    • Probably the arrangement of “Unless” played a role in its reception.

      • Thats probably a big part of it… That project had more than one arranger/producer which leads to a varying of styles…

      • “Unless” wasn’t bad, but I think “Had It Not Been” is better-written along similar lines.

  3. Thanks, gang. Nice of you to mention our song. Tony brought that idea into our session. Can you imagine how glad I was?! I love Legacy V’s version and I also like to hear it totally stripped back with just a piano/vocal. Daniel, you are clearly the smartest and most brilliant person I’ve ever not met.

    • πŸ˜€ Thanks! We need to change that sometime!

  4. Ah, Frank’s version of “Not That You Died” is one of my all-time favorite recordings! πŸ™‚ I completely agree that is is too good to be forgotten! Thanks for drawing some attention to it!

  5. I have often wished songwriters had a website or that there be some kind of directory. I hear a great song, look up the credits on the CD hoping to google and discover other songs by the writer. It’s hard to find.

    • Yes, it can be! sghistory.com is a helpful resource there.

      • There you go blogging at 5 in the morning again Daniel…

      • I was actually up at 4:45 – I didn’t get around to this till after breakfast. πŸ™‚

      • You need to examine your priorities. πŸ˜‰

      • Duly noted and accomplished. I’m still eating breakfast, checking emails and blog comments, getting my treadmill workout, all before going to work. It’s a good routine, I’m happy with it, and it gets the job done. πŸ™‚

      • Daniel, you are so disciplined, it’s disgusting! πŸ˜€

      • …but I have to be, if I want to have any chance at losing weight and getting in better shape. I’ve just hit a point where being disciplined isn’t optional, it’s a must.

      • There’s always a choice. ;)Seriously though,I am impressed. Kudos.

      • Thanks!

  6. Slacker. ;)(filler words that have nothing to do with my desired post.)