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)