Golden Echoes

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One of the first gospel groups signed to the legendary Specialty label, the Los Angeles-based Golden Echoes were led by brothers William "Big Axe" and Willmer "Little Axe" Broadnax, Houston…
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One of the first gospel groups signed to the legendary Specialty label, the Los Angeles-based Golden Echoes were led by brothers William "Big Axe" and Willmer "Little Axe" Broadnax, Houston natives who after relocating to the West Coast during the mid-1940s joined the ranks of the Southern Gospel Singers, an act led by onetime Soul Stirrers member A.L. Johnson. The group was primarily a weekends-only concern, however, and soon the Broadnax brothers' restlessness prompted them to form their own full-time vehicle, the Golden Echoes; a series of lineup changes followed as the decade drew to a close, and eventually William exited to settle in Atlanta, where he joined the Five Trumpets. At the time of the group's one and only Specialty session, recorded in Hollywood on April 5, 1949, their roster included co-leads Wilmer Broadnax and Paul Foster, tenor Eldridge Bostic, baritone Jimmy Copeland, and bass James Ricks, a longtime veteran of the gospel circuit whose career included tenures with the Birmingham Jubilees, the Famous Blue Jays and the Flying Clouds of Detroit. The session yielded the Golden Echoes' lone Specialty single, "When the Saints Go Marching In"; for reasons unknown, label chief Art Rupe dropped the group soon after, and despite a growing reputation on the live circuit they disbanded a few months later. While Foster went on to join the Soul Stirrers, Broadnax later signed on with the likes of the Spirit of Memphis, the Fairfield Four and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi; during the mid-1960s, he also led a short-lived new group dubbed Little Ax and the Golden Echoes.