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Morning Song – Waiting & Watching

August 6, 2017

Those who knew, didn’t care; those who cared, didn’t know.

That’s one of the formulas for the existence of closeted sexual identities. In the case of trans gospel singer Wilmer “Little Ax” Broadnax (whose secret keeper was his brother, Wilbur “Big Ax” Broadnax), it was a formula that “worked” throughout his decades-long career with singing tenor with gospel quartets such as the Golden Echoes, the Spirit of Memphis, the Fairfield Four, and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi.

As editor and cultural critic Noah Berlatsky wrote, about Broadnax and the Golden Echoes’ recording of the old gospel standard, “Waiting & Watching”, “In this amazing 1949 track, Broadnax picks up at around 1:04, finishing Foster’s line, so they seem to fuse into a single seamless multi-octave singer. At 1:25, Broadnax goes even higher, soaring into a Marion-Williams-like ““Ooooooo!.

 

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