Oscar Toney, Jr.

Guilty of Loving You

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Recorded in 2000, Guilty of Loving You pretty much picks up where Oscar Toney, Jr. left off in his 1960s and '70s recordings. It's upbeat Southern soul, with a few slower, pained ballads (notably the title track, with the churchy keyboards so common to those sort of Southern soul pieces) varying the pace. Toney, Jr.'s voice -- at times slightly reminiscent of Otis Redding's, though with a less gritty flavor -- has only slightly coarsened with time. For a soul album that tries to capture a style that peaked several decades before it was produced, it's considerably above the average: it has a live, unforced, natural sound, and the modern instrumental and production touches that often dampen the spirits of such veteran outings are virtually absent. The material's only adequate, however, and sometimes a little worse than that. It was reissued in the U.K. in 2006 as Guilty: A Southern Soul Renaissance, adding historical liner notes with an overview of Toney Jr.'s career.

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