Guest Post: Translation series #2: Runner

This is a guest post from NewSoGoFan.

In 1985, Twila Paris released her fourth full-length album, Kingdom Seekers. She had already made a name for herself with classic hits like “We Will Glorify,” “Warrior Is a Child,” and “Do I Trust You?” This album contained the also soon-to-be classic “Lamb of God.”

But today we’ll take a look at another song from that album which hasn’t gotten as much attention, and that’s the hidden gem “Runner.” Co-written with her sister, Starla, it’s an inspiring, anthemic message of encouragement to Christians striving to finish the course:

Courier valiant, bearing the flame

Messenger noble, sent in His name

Faster and harder, run through the night

Desperate relay, carry the light, carry the light…

The second verse expands the analogy of a message that must be carried in time of war, talking about the “enemy wakened” and the other obstacles the runner must overcome to complete his mission.  But the end of the chorus tells the runner, “When the race is won/You will run into His arms.” For a somewhat low quality but adequate recording, see the Youtube clip below:

It’s an exciting piece, full of suspense and drama—not to mention that it’s surprisingly “masculine” for a song written by two sisters! And that brings me to the suggestion that this would work extremely well for a male quartet. There is doubtless more than one group who could handle it well, but the group that first came to my mind was Legacy Five. Scott Fowler could carry the song, singing the first verse as a solo with later verses perhaps going back and forth between step-outs by him and full harmonies. I would, however, suggest adding a key change at the end of the third verse. This would give the piece more musical interest (as the melody is somewhat repetitive). Scott could hand over that section of the song to Gus Gaches for a power tag.

Production-wise, the original arrangement is of course rather dated, but in the hands of a producer like Lari Goss, it could come to full orchestral life. And now more than ever with the addition of Gus Gaches’s dynamic tenor vocals, I say L5 definitely has the power to give it the strong delivery it deserves.

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  1. I hadn’t heard “Runner” before, but I share your enthusiasm for the song. Twila’s father, Oren Paris, was an excellent writer in the 1970s, so she and her sister come by songwriting honestly. It would make some group a great and powerful song. Thanks for posting it.

    • I can’t take credit for the initial idea, because that was Daniel’s, but I came up with the group idea and arrangement. 🙂 The song was actually new to me too until Daniel introduced me to it. I wasn’t particularly surprised to find that it was top-shelf, just like Twila’s other work. Wonderful artist.

  2. I could see L5 doing this song, I could also see the Kingsmen doing it…

  3. I love this song! Nice ideas.

  4. OK, you fooled me. I thought it was Daniel till I read the comments!

    • Ha! Thank you. I take that as a compliment! 😀

      • Hey, I should be the one taking that as a compliment, right? 🙂

      • Can’t y’all share? 😀 Play nice, now.

  5. I knew this song. It heard it first on an album from The Continental Singers (20?)years ago. I believe it was on the album “Elijah”.

  6. “Runner” was one of the first songs I sang at church when I was 12 or 13. This is a good, good song written by one of my songwriting heroes.