Nicholas - Words Can't Express

Sunday 1st July 1990
Nicholas - Words Can't Express
Nicholas - Words Can't Express

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 4 4 4 4
LABEL: Command 7015504022
FORMAT: 12 inch vinyl Album

Reviewed by Shireen Qureshi

Nicholas started out as a six-piece but these days are a trimmed down husband and wife duo. Phil and Brenda Nicholas have carved out their own niche for themselves, pioneers of a slinkily produced MOR soul gospel which takes on board elements of storefront church and mush-for-the-upwardly-mobile. In the process they have built up a phenomenal following - phenomenal in America because they've done it on their own indie record label and phenomenal in Britain because despite being hugely popular with black church gospel buyers their albums had before this Word tie-up, only been available on overpriced and difficult-to-get imports. Now at last their whiole Command catalogue is available here. Is it worth the long wait? part, though it has to be said their -'Words Can't Express' album hasn't worn too well. The first track "God Said" starts in a bouncing waltz tempo that seems corny enough to nibble - but concludes with some surprising, throat-wrenching gospel wailing.  From MOR to black church in three minutes! The whole album seems to juxtapose a very classy, polished, expensive production sound, against rootsy black gospel. For example, "In Christ" is soulfully reminiscent of the Four Tops, with a four-part harmony which is impressive. Unfortunately, that is about all Nicholas do, a gospel remake of the secular hit! "The Closer I Get To You" begins with a monologue by Phil Nicholas, sounding rather like Barry White. There is also a pleasing funk track, "Don't Follow The Crowd",  that moves the shoulders - yes the shoulders - yet encases an incredibly blunt message: "Abortion, extortion, adultery, larceny, fornication, degradation - you better leave it alone, now" Nicholas tried here to be "all things to all men" resulting in an album which jumps from the blues in "For By Grace" to the jazzy, scat-derived "Got My Ticket".  Eclecticism run riot. For an album hinged around Mr & Mrs Nicholas, and their wonderfully blooming marriage

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Leah Watson in Los Angeles, CA @ 00:45 on May 25 2007

I would love for you to have all current info on Phil & Brenda Nicholas....for starters, please see their web site at


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