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 group—an a cappella album, a studio table project, a live table project, and a live project of new songs—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.