Oscar Toney Jr.

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Oscar Toney Jr. oscar toney jr

Oscar Toney Jr. recorded some soulful sides for Bell Records in the late 60's that will forever etch him into soul music lovers' memories. The emotive singer born May 26, 1939 in Selma, AL was raised in Columbus, GA. He sung gospel in church and high school with a group he called the Sensational Melodies of Joy. After high school he ventured into secular music. His first recording was by the Searchers on MAC 351 - "Yvonne"/ "Little Wanda", released in November of '60 on Max Records. The radio stations ignored it and the Searchers disbanded. Three years later Oscar soloed with "Can It All Be Love," produced by John Rhys in Macon, GA, but released on Cincinnati's King Records, it too went unnoticed.

Oscar befriended DJ/Producer Papa Don Schroeder in Pensacola, FL who produce recordings on Mighty Sam McClain, and James & Bobby Purify. He kept Toney around to fill in for either James or Bobby when one couldn't make a gig. Overwhelmed by Toney's vocal ability Papa Don signed him to a production deal with Bell Records in 1967. Not messing around, Schroeder took Toney to legendary producer Chips Morman in Memphis, TN and hit the first time out with a moving rendition of Jerry Butler & the Impressions' "For Your Precious Love"; it cracked the R&B Top Ten, settling at #4, and the Pop Top 40, nesting at #23. Its success prompted King Records to release the previously unreleased "I Found True Love."

None of his subsequent recordings did as well. A revival of Bobby "Blue" Bland "Turn On Your Love Light," went to #37 R&B, and #65 Pop late in 1967. Bell released four singles on Toney in 1968, all flopped, except another remake, this time a Clyde McPhatter song "Without Love (There Is Nothing)" which barely made the charts. Bell dropped one more Toney single in 1969 "Down In Texas" b/w "Ain't That True Love." The association dissolved when Schroeder left the business.

He signed with Phil Walden's Capricorn Records in 1970 which resulted in "Down On My Knees." Capricorn got it played in the South, but couldn't get the sucker aired anywhere else. Three more singles bombed and by 1973 the Capricorn deal was history.

Toney rarely worked a full time job during his quest for musical fame & fortune. He earned his supper gigging; he visited England many times where Northern Soul fans appreciated his deep soul ballads far better than the fickle fans in the States. Contempo Records' boss John Abbey signed Toney to the label. Abbey also attempted to revitalize the careers of J. J. Barnes, and other American soul singers. Six Contempo 45's and one LP resulted in zilch sales. Before the 80's rolled in, Toney left secular music, 23 years of trying only produced one substantial hit, and the wailing, soul singer returned to his first love, gospel music.

The year 2001 saw the welcome return of Oscar with a brand new album for Bob Grady Records

 

Album Discography

"For Your Precious Love" (Bell 1967)

He Don't Love You (And He'll Break Your Heart)/Dark End Of The Street/Down In Texas/Moon River/Ain't That True Love/Do Right Woman - Do Right Man//For Your Precious Love/Turn On Your Love Light/Any Day Now/That's All I Want From You/No Sad Song

"I've Been Loving You Too Long To Stop Now" (Contempo 1975)

Message To Martha (Kentucky Bluebird)/Everybody's Needed/The Thrill Is Gone/Everything I Own/My Girl//I've Been Loving You Too Long/Make It Easy On Yourself/Is It Because I'm Black/For Your Precious Love

"Papa Don's Preacher" (Charly 1988)

For Your Precious Love/The Dark End Of The Street/Turn On Your Lovelight/Moon River/Any Day Now/You Can Lead Your Woman To The Altar/Unlucky Guy/He Will Break Your Heart//Without Love (There Is Nothing)/Down In Texas/A Love That Never Grows Cold/Ain't That True Love/Do Right Woman - Do Right Man/That's All I Want From You/Never Get Enough Of Your Love/No Sad Songs

"Oscar's Winners" (Westside 1998)

1. For Your Precious Love
2. Turn on Your Love Light
3. Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)
4. That's All I Want from You
5. No Sad Songs
6. Unlucky Guy
7. You Can Lead Your Woman to the Altar
8. Dark End of the Street, The
9. Down in Texas
10. Moon River
11. Ain't That True Love
12. He Will Break Your Heart
13. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
14. Until We Meet Again
15. Just for You
16. Never Get Enough of Your Love
17. Love That Never Grows Cold, A
18. Without Love (There Is Nothing)

"Resurfaces Year 2000" (OTJR 1999)

1.I'm Not The Dad
2.Down In Texas
3.Make It Easy On Yourself
4.Is It Because I'm Black
5.The Thrill Is Gone
6.For Your Precious Love (London edition)
7.Message To Martha
8.Everything I Own
9.You Can't Come In

"Guilty Of Loving You" (BGR 2001)

1. Back in Your Arms
2. Something Tells Me
3. California Girl - (featuring Wilson Meadows)
4. Guilty of Loving You
5. Keep Love Alive
6. If It Ain't One Thing It's Another
7. She Has the Right
8. I'm Sorry
9. Other Women, The
10. No More Heartaches

"For Your Precious Love" (Sundazed 2001)

the original album plus bonus tracks

1. He Don't Love You (And He'll Break Your Heart)
2. Dark End of the Street, The
3. Down in Texas
4. Moon River
5. Ain't That True Love
6. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
7. For Your Precious Love
8. Turn on Your Love Light
9. Any Day Now
10. That's All I Want from You
11. No Sad Songs
12. Unlucky Guy
13. You Can Lead Your Woman to the Altar
14. Love That Never Grows Cold, A
15. Without Love (There Is Nothing)
16. Never Get Enough of Your Love
17. Just for You
18. Until We Meet Again
19. Gettin' Ready for the Heartbreak - (previously unreleased, Unissued)
20. You Can Lead Your Woman to the Altar - (previously unreleased, alternate take, Unissued)

"Loving You Too Long: The Contempo Sessions" (Shout 40 2007)

1. Message to Martha (Kentucky Bluebird)
2. Everybody's Needed
3. Thrill Is Gone, The
4. Everything I Own
5. My Girl
6. I've Been Loving You Too Long
7. Make It Easy on Yourself
8. Is It Because I'm Black
9. For Your Precious Love
10. Kentucky Blackbird
11. Everything I Own
12. Chicken Heads

cliff ellis oscar toney jr Cliff Ellis & Oscar Toney Jr. "Over At Mary's Place" (Ripete 2008)

1.Meet Me At Mary's Place
2.Make It Easy On Yourself
3.I've Never Found A Girl To Love Me Like You Do
4.Mercy Mercy
5.I Wouldn't Treat A Dog
6.Louie Louie
7.You Are My Sunshine
8.Today I Started Loving You Again
9.Be Sure
10.Loveland
11.Linda Lu

 

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