Monday, May 19, 2014

Rev. Charles H. Nicks & The St. James Adult Choir - "Hold Back The Night"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents the lyrics for and three YouTube examples of the now classic Gospel song "Hold Back The Night". Information about Rev. Charles H. Nicks, the composer of this song, is also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Rev Charles Nicks for his religious and musical legacy. Thanks also to all those vocalists and musicians who are featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube. In addition, thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

"When Charles H. Nicks, Jr. became the organist for the St. James Baptist Church in Detroit in 1957, a thirty-year success story was begun, one which continued throughout his pastorate of the church. His recordings with the St. James Adult Choir, which captured the "feel" of the traditional Black Baptist church, helped to strengthen Detroit's position as a major center for gospel music.

Rev. Nicks was born in Lincoln, NE, July 18,1941, to the Reverend Charles Nicks, Sr., a Baptist pastor, and Alliece Nicks, a pianist who was his first musical influence. After extensive training in classical and gospel music, Rev. Nicks developed on organ style that attracted students from around the country who wanted to learn how he made the Hammond organ "talk."

A founding member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, he was also organist for the Harold Smith Majestics and a respected record producer. Rev. Nicks, who died in 1988, was celebrated for composing and/or singing several gospel classics, including "He's So Real," "Something About God's Grace," and "I Really Love the Lord."

Under the direction of Jimmy Dowell, the St. James Adult Choir continues to perform in the traditional style that first brought them and Rev. Nicks into the national spotlight."

"Rev. Charles H. Nicks, Jr., was called as the fifth pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church in April, 1972

The following achievements for the Lord were realized under the pastorship of Rev. Nicks:
...Leader of the National Baptist Church Music Department - Artist for countless musical recordings - Facilitator for may nationally televised productions - Vice President and leader for the Gospel Music Workshop of America [GMWA} - Leader of many other local and national organizations to numerous to be counted"...

(composed by Rev. Charles Nicks)*

Comment from one of this post featured videos:
k cooper, 2008
"I was a member of the St. James Adult Choir. Here are the lyrics to HOLD BACK THE NIGHT: Chorus: Hold Back the Night give me strength to fight. I'll do your will if you just say to my storm, peace be still. O Lord, I love your name, every day you're just the same. I'll be alright, if you Hold Back the Night. Verse: The storm is raging all around. Satan is trying to pull me down. Lord you told me, in your word I could abide. So stretch forth your mighty hand and Hold Back the Night."
Here are those lyrics in song format:

Chorus [sung by the Choir]
Hold back the night.
Give me strength to fight.
I'll do Your will
If You just say to my storm
“Peace be still.”
Oh Lord, I love Your name.
Every day You're just the same.
I'll be all right
If You just hold back the night.


Solo: The storm is raging
All around.
Satan keeps tryin
To pull me down.
But Lord, You told me
In Your word I could abide.
So stretch forth Your mighty hand
And hold back the night.


[Choir sings the chorus with the soloist vamping.]
Vamping: To improvise a musical accompaniment, to improvise (an accompaniment, for example) for a solo, to improvise simple accompaniment or variation of a tune.

*Online information about the Gospel song "Hold Back The Night" is very difficult to find. However, I happened upon this website That site gives suggested songs & their composers for a Men's Day and lists “Charles H. Nicks, Jr as the composer of "Hold Back The Night".

"Hold Back The Night" is also the title of a 1990 Gospel album by Rev. Charles H. Nicks & The St. James Adult Choir. That album features that song and other songs that would now be considered "old school Gospel".

It seems very clear to me that "Hold Back The Night" Gospel song lyrics directly refer to the New Testament verses which recount the story of Jesus calming the waves that threatened to overturn the boat that he and his disciples were traveling in on the Sea of Galilee. This is the same Biblical story that is the theme of Rev. James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir of Nutley, New Jersey's hugely popular 1962 or 1963 record "Peace Be Still". Notice the inclusion of the words "Peace Be Still" in the Gospel song "Hold Back The Night".

Click for a link to that Biblical story told in contemporary Standard American English. Also, click for a sound file of that "Peace Be Still" record. By the way, that Rev. James Cleveland recording also features keyboardist Billy Preston, who was very highly regarded for his accompaniment on Gospel recordings as well as his popular secular records.


Example #1: Rev. Charles Nicks teaching Hold Back The Night

Marcel West, Uploaded on Dec 29, 2008

Example #2: Rev. Charles Nicks & The St. James Adult Choir - Hold Back The Night

Marcel West, Uploaded on Jun 4, 2008

One of my personal favs!! Lead by Rev. Charles Nicks & Sis. Jean Frederick


Example #3: St. James Mass Choir - Hold Back The Night

Marcel West Uploaded on Jan 8, 2009

Mary Thompson sings "Hold Back The Night" with the Mass Choir

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